Following months of negotiations, the Northern Beaches Council will terminate the Development Deed for the construction of the Oval Car Park, although negotiations still continue on the cancellation of the development deed for the redevelopment of the Whistler Street site, which was dependant on the Oval car park being built.
Cartoon by Buddy Ross in Manly Daily sums the issue up well.
This follows an extensive investigation into the process undertaken by the former Manly Council which was headed by General Manager Henry Wong. Mayor Jean Hay and her Liberal bloc of councillors should also be held accountable for allowing the project to proceed. They continued to ram it through despite continued warnings by independent experts that it was fatally flawed.
The cost of cancelling the car park project contract with Abergeldie was $580,000 plus an initial contractual payment of $200,000. Add to this more than $500,000 spent developing the project including consultants reports, traffic studies and environmental assessments, interest payments together with the recent independent reports that led to the scrapping of the car park at $94,000 and the total known cost is $1.5m. However the money lost abandoning the project was nothing compared to what it would have cost if this flawed project had gone ahead.
The Northern Beaches Council has undertaken to release the two independent reports by Ernst & Young and Value Networks, which were commissioned to investigate the matter. However, this is not likely now until August as negotiations continue with Built & Athas. It is expected that these reports will vindicate independent Councillors Candy Bingham (Good For Manly); Barbara Aird & Hugh Burns; (Manly Independents) and Cathy Griffin (Greens) who fought long and hard against these developments, in addition to the Good For Manly Association and Save Manly Oval Alliance.
Whistler Street Redevelopment Still On the Table
The termination of the former Manly Council Development Deed for the redevelopment of the Whistler street site, including the Library, is still unresolved. The Northern Beaches Council will enter into a six month Negotiations Deed with Built & Athas, who won the tender to redevelop the site.
The purpose of this ongoing negotiation period is to find a "mutually satisfactory outcome" in the hope of avoiding a lengthy and complicated dispute with the developer.
During this time Council proposes to review "identified issues including parking, design, value for money, traffic flows, library, approvals required, community participation and procurement considerations".
So the focus now is on the future of the Whistler Street site. What would you like to see happen?
The campaign to Save our Sea Nymphs sculpture is moving into top gear.
The iconic Manly sculpture was damaged beyond repair in a storm last June.
Late last year a group of artists and local residents teamed up to recreate the iconic piece, but this time in beautiful, long-lasting bronze. The group is working closely with Helen Leete, the sculpture's creator, and Clive Calder from Australian Bronze gallery and foundry at North Head, who will be responsible for casting the new figures.
Good for Manly President Candy Bingham, as the group's director of fundraising, has been working hard to gain the support of the Northern Beaches Council and the Federal Government's Australia Cultural Fund.
"The council has really come on board with our campaign, Mrs Bingham said. "They have pledged to match our fundraising dollar for dollar up to $40,000, which is half of the amount that we need to raise. This is a huge endorsement of our community fundraising campaign.
"And I'm delighted to say that just this week the Australian Cultural Fund approved our application. That means that donations to Save Our Sea Nymphs are now tax deductible via our website www.saveourseanymphs.info."
As well sculptor Helen Leete is creating miniatures of her artwork for sale to assist the fundraisng. They will also be cast in bronze and will be available in limited numbers in two sizes – a 50 cm version for $,6000 and a 23 cm one for $4,000.
The campaign will be kicked off with an invitation-only launch at Australian Bronze. It will be held in early March, with a guest speaker, a spectacular bronze pour, and the miniature sculptures on display for purchase.
For more details or to make a contribution go to: www.saveourseanymphs.info
(Our thanks to local photographer, Chris Abbott, for his inspired photos of the sculpture in its former glory)
While locals were busy preparing for Christmas, the controversial development application for the Manly Vale Primary School was approved 3 to 2, by the Sydney North Planning Panel.
From a community school of 460 students to a 'super' school of 1,000 students. Is this the right location?
A further 3.65ha of bush at Manly Dam Reserve is to be lost to make way for a mega school, despite the fact that planners believe the new school could be built on the existing footprint, using two and three storey classrooms (as has been done successfully at Harbord Primary).
The former Warringah Council was strongly opposed to the plans in its current form, and Northern Beaches Council Administrator, Dick Perrsons, campaigned strongly against the loss of bushland.
The three year battle has seen the school community divided. Supporters of the $22.7 million development, which would make room for 1000 students on the site, have praised the decision as a win for education.
Parent Stephen Hancock in a previous statement on this blog (13/3/16) said that since getting unprecedented funding in the 2014 state budget, this project has been through an extensive two year design process ensuring the dilapidated 60 year old facilities are updated to a genuine 21st century learning environment.
Those against, including the Save Manly Dam group and the former Principal of the school, David Tribe, believe the loss of precious bushland is unnecessary. Furthermore they claim the site is not suitable for such a large school population due to inadequate local streets, and concerns regarding the evacuation of students should a bush fire occur.
At the core of the issue is the fact no one can argue with. The existing 60 year old school is dilapidated and badly in need of an upgrade. Students are currently housed in demountables, with 65% in temporary accommodation. All the other facilities such as library, canteen, hall and toilets are inadequate and not acceptable in their current condition.
It is understood that the Department of Education is about to call tenders for the new development. But with the appointment this week of Rob Stokes (Member for Pittwater) as the new Minister for Education, there is a slim chance that the Northern Beaches Council could have the matter reviewed, due to ongoing planning concerns.
Mike Baird - our local MP and the State Premier - resigned on January 19 in a move that surprised everybody.
The state's top job is now in the capable hands of Gladys Berejiklian, Australia's first female Liberal Premier.
And Manly will face a by-election to choose our new representative.
Good For Manly President and former Manly Councillor Candy Bingham said Mike's open, friendly approach would be greatly missed.
“Mike Baird was totally committed to our community, and worked tirelessly. In more recent times it was clear that his arduous duties as Premier made it more and more difficult for him to service his electorate”, Mrs Bingham said. "We have him to thank in particular for the long overdue Northern Beaches Hospital and the B-Link bus service which will go some way in helping to ease traffic congestion on the Northern Beaches", she said
History of State Seat In Manly
Manly is often considered a safe Liberal seat, but it was held by two independents - Peter Macdonald and David Barr - for sixteen years until Mr Baird won the seat in 2007.
It even changed hands completely between 1978 to 1984, when Labor's Alan Stewart was the Manly MP.
However at the last election, in 2015, Mr Baird won 75% of the vote after preferences, with Greens candidate Clara Williams Roldan a distant second with 25% of the vote.
At the time of writing potential candidates had not been announced, however there is a lot of speculation as to who will stand!
“I think what locals will be looking for is a representative who is connected to the community,” Mrs Bingham said. “What party they come from is less important than their ability to work hard for their electorate, listen to the community and understand local issues”, she added.
Based on community research, it would seem that council amalgamations is one issue that would not be a game changer here in Manly.
This is despite anti-council amalgamation activists threatening to “turn Manly into Orange” and rally against the Liberal Party unless the forced council mergers are unwound.
“I really think people have moved on from that,” Mrs Bingham said. “At the time of amalgamation there was some concern that Manly’s voice would be lost in one big Northern Beaches Council. However I believe that the lack of resistance to amalgamation in Manly was not due to apathy, but rather that people were wanting a change from the Wong/Hay stronghold on the Council". (Henry Wong was the General Manager and Jean Hay led the Liberal bloc which approved many unpopular projects - a number of which have subsequently been terminated by the new Council's Administrator).
The by-election will take place in the next few months.
What would you like to see in Manly's new Local Member?
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.