The City of Bayswater will soon face off against an energy giant in a Supreme Court battle that has brewing since Titanic topped the box office.

Viva Energy, then operating as Shell Australia, built a petrol station in Morley at the intersection of Walter Road and Russell Street in 1997.

The station — where there is now a Caltex — was subject to conditions, including that a slip lane be created at the developer’s cost.

According to the City, it has pursued construction of the slip lane for several years, with Shell originally indicating it would construct the lane.

The City filed a writ in 2018 to force Viva either to do the works or to pay damages for breaching its contract.

City chief executive Andrew Brien said Viva agreed to build the lane adjacent to the new station and relocate two Telstra communications pits.

“Unfortunately, Viva did not construct the slip lane or relocate the Telstra communication pits. Viva claims the contract is non-binding and is refusing to take responsibility for the work,” Mr Brien said.

“The City’s action to enforce the contract has placed a heavy burden on the City’s resources for several years.”

Supreme Court master Craig Sanderson last week ruled that the trial could be split, with the court first ruling on whether Shell was liable and then, depending on that ruling, deciding how much it should pay.

Master Sanderson characterised the company’s defence saying, it claimed “the scope of the work required” to build the slip land had “materially and radically varied”.

Viva declined to comment.

It is understood the City and Viva will enter further talks to decide when the trial can go ahead.

Extracted in full from: Bayswater’s quarter-century Shell dispute heads to trial | PerthNow

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