The Tel Aviv Central Bus Station must close by December 5, the Tel Aviv Local Affairs Court announced on Sunday, after deciding not to grant an extension to a closure order that was originally meant to take effect in 2016.
The bus station is in legal proceedings after not receiving a license to operate. In order to obtain the license, the owners of the station needed to obtain approval from Fire and Rescue Services, the Health Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry and meet the requirements regarding accessibility.
Since the owners did not make any effort to obtain the necessary permits, the municipality is required to close the building in accordance with the court order.
Fire and Rescue Services stressed during a discussion with professionals from the municipality that it could not give permission for the station to continue to operate as long as the nearly 400 privately owned stores there allegedly contained flammable materials without adequate fire safety arrangements.
"I do not think it is appropriate to allow the property to continue operating without a license when the refusal of the Fire and Rescue Services is so resonant and substantial," wrote Justice Benyamin Hirschel-Doron in the decision.
Hirschel-Doron stressed that the bus station's case does not justify delaying the implementation of the order to prevent an "outstanding injustice," because the risks posed by the lack of a license outweigh the damage posed to business owners.
Since the only way to get to the levels of the station used for buses is through the area with stores, passage to the public transportation station in the building will not be possible and public transport will need to cease as long as the order is in force.
The owners of the bus station will be able to file an appeal or work to obtain a license until December 5.
Earlier this month, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli announced that the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station would be evacuated by 2023.
"It will not happen tomorrow morning, but this hazard, which is an environmental, health and transport [hazard] to a considerable extent, will be removed," she said at the time.