Manly Council has gagged independent councillors and blocked them calling for a halt on runaway plans to build a car park under Manly Oval and go-ahead with a 99 year lease of the Whistler Street car park site to developers.
The four independents, Clrs Candy Bingham, Barbara Aird, Hugh Burns and Cathy Griffin, had lodged a motion to stop any further action on Manly Oval or the redevelopment of the Whistler St car park site.
But that motion has been ruled out of order on the grounds that it contradicts previous council resolutions.
"This is a blatant attempt to block democracy," Clr Bingham said. "The council administration is illegally refusing to accept the motion because it doesn't suit them.
"If council resolutions could never by challenged, every single decision the council has made in the last 100 years would still stand. That's just ridiculous."
At stake is the future of Manly CBD with the Liberal majority expected to push through a motion calling for tenders to construct a smaller oval car park and redevelop the Whistler Street site.
If this is done the two huge projects will be locked in, despite the complete lack of clarity over what the tenders will actually be calling for, and the total absence of community consultation.
“It is an outrage. The whole expressions of interest process was for a car park that is quite different to what has been promoted to the community and Manly businesses since 2011”, Clr Bingham said.
"The new car park will only have 470 spaces, not the original 760 - a decision which was made with no consultation, not even with councillors themselves," she said.
"The latest plan does not provide any additional parking, which was a key point of the original proposal, and a very limited increase in areas for pedestrians. We are losing a locals car park for a tourists car park."
Clr Griffin agreed, saying that the original vision of Manly2015 has been lost, and there was a complete lack of community support for what is proposed now.
Clr Aird criticised the "ongoing lack of openness, accountability, transparency and genuine community consultation" on the biggest project Manly Council has ever taken on.
Clr Hugh Burns said his constituents were completely opposed to public land at Whistler St car park being sold off. "The public consider it too convenient to demolish," he said.
"It can easily be refurbished.”
Already a number of resident precinct groups have voted against both projects proceeding, and a request for an interim heritage order was lodged last week by former Manly Town Planner Robert Burgess, to protect Ivanhoe Park and the Village Green where Manly Oval is located.
There is expected to be a show-down at Monday night's Council meeting (10/8/15) when the matter is back on the agenda. A staff report has outlined in glowing terms how successful the Expressions of Interest process has been but has failed to acknowledge that the latest proposal will not deliver a single additional car parking space for Manly. The four independent councillors continue to fight the lack of accountability and transparency with the process which started in 2011.
Does anyone really know what the current Manly2015 Plan actually is?
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.