An extraordinary meeting requested by Clrs Candy Bingham and Hugh Burns was unsuccessful last night in its attempt to get the Liberal-run Council to provide further reports on the costings related to the proposed Manly Oval car park. (29/1/14).
Three due diligence reports commissioned by the Council, which were made public days before Christmas, have raised more questions than they have answered, with inconsistencies between the reports proving a further concern.
Clr Candy Bingham questioned three main issues raised by the community:
i) Assumed revenue of $14 per car stay vs actual of $10
(does this mean parking fees will increase by almost 50%?)
ii) Assumption of 353 vehicles per day by KPMG vs
225-341 reported by Bitzios findings. Which figure is right?
iii) Major inconsistency in growth forecast in commercial
space between Bitzios report (+42%) and HillPDA
iv) Lack of justification re the cost of funds at 5% and whether Council
can borrow at that rate until all loans are repaid
……………. (see reports in story below for more details)
Clr Hugh Burns stated that the one clear message in the reports was that the Oval car park was doomed. Clr Cathy Griffin questioned why Council was planning to build a car park which would run at a loss, replacing one that currently contributed $700,000 per year to revenue.
The Liberal Council remained firm stating that the Manly 2015 Plan was following due process by lodging a Capital Expenditure submission to the Division of Local Government (DLG) for the building of the Manly Oval car park, on the same day the Councillors received the due diligence reports.
The independent Councillors questioned the ‘due process’ of submitting reports to the DLG before they had even been noted by Councillors.
A large gallery attended the meeting including a number of Chairs of local resident precinct groups, business owners and concerned citizens.
The Mayor, Clr Jean Hay, was is top form abusing members of the public gallery and accusing Clr Bingham of ‘seeking headlines’ by requesting an extraordinary meeting be called.
Clr Bingham stated that since the Manly 2015 Plan had been released by Council three years ago, no staff report had been submitted to Council allowing public debate on the Plan. All briefings had been held at in-house workshops where no minutes were taken.
Good For Manly has just released a review of the due diligence reports on Manly 2015, in particular the proposed Oval Car Park, which raises a number of major concerns and important questions.
It's a short report and worth a read. See copy below: Also, analysis by major Manly property owners:
Concerns Raised by Manly Chamber of Commerce:
Who is running Manly Council? It's certainly not the elected councillors, says Councillor Candy Bingham, who has called for an Extraordinary General Meeting to address the issue.
Cr Bingham says the council has delegated extensive powers to General Manager Henry Wong. The result is that major decisions are being made with no input from councillors and sometimes without them even knowing what's going on.
The latest affront concerns a plan to include a water polo pool in addition to council's $15 million upgrade of Manly's Boy Charlton Swim Centre. Clr Bingham said she found out by chance that a development application (DA) for the water polo pool was lodged late last month. Councillors were not notified this was happening until the day before the story appeared in the Manly Daily.
“The last input councillors had on a possible polo pool was a Mayoral Minute in October to ‘explore the possibility’ of providing such a facility. Now, suddenly, a DA is lodged complete with full design drawings” she said.
"I'm not against the possibility of a water polo pool being built at the swim centre. I'm just outraged at the contempt with which the elected councillors are treated," she said.
The same approach has been taken with the long-awaited due diligence reports on the council's $80 million Manly 2015 Plan which includes a major redevelopment of the Whistler St site and a multi-million dollar car park under Manly oval.
"It appears that the General Manager is planning to submit a CapEx (Captial Expenditure) submission to the Division of Local Government this month, on this multi-million dollar project, (update15/1/13: this has now been done) although no formal Council resolution has been made that the project should proceed”, Cr Bingham said. "This is not how a democratic council should be run."
According to Clr Bingham the corresponding due diligence reports were only released last month, three days before Christmas. “Again there has been no opportunity for councillors to debate the new information and its implications for the controversial Manly 2015 Plan,” she said
The request for an Extraordinary Meeting has been lodged by Clrs Candy Bingham and Hugh Burns to bring the due diligence reports for Manly 2015 back to Council.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.