THE MANLY 2015 PLAN PROCESS
Just How Open & Transparent has it been?
1. In November 2011 the Mayor Jean Hay wrote to those who had made submissions re Manly 2015, saying that “Despite what you may hear to the contrary, no formal or final decisions have been reached, nor will they be, until Council receives a report from staff on the exhibition process over the next month.” No such report was submitted to a Council meeting.
2. Major changes were made to the vehicular entry/exit plans for the proposed car park under Manly Oval without a report to Council.
3. The resolution of the previous Council on the 4th June 2012 that “no new funds or resources are to be raised and/or allocated to the Manly 2015 proposal unless or until the Council to be elected in September 2012 formally resolves to do so” was not reported to, nor formally resolved, by the new Council
4. In October 2012 KPMG was engaged to carry out a financial and commercial review of the Village Centre and Manly Oval car park elements of the Manly 2015 proposal, without a report to the new Council.
5. Clr Candy Bingham’s request for access to the KPMG report, which resulted in lodging a formal GIPA request to Council, was refused, and this refusal was only overturned after intervention by the Office of Local Government some four month later.
6. ‘The Fact Sheet’ published on Council’s website and printed brochure following the adoption of the 2013-2023 Long Term Financial Plan advised that “Manly 2015 has been independently assessed by TCorp (NSW Treasury)”. This claim was incorrect and subsequently removed from the website, but Council refused to publish an explanation or apology.
7. Despite the Council resolution of 3 June 2013 that the preservation of the Whistler Street Triangle and Manly Oval components in Council’s Long Term Financial Plan were subject to “Acknowledgement that Manly 2015 is a master plan requiring the Council to make progressive decisions on each of the components that form the final plan”, a Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) application for approval of borrowings for the construction of the Oval car park was submitted to the Office of Local Government without a prior report to Council and before Councillors had access to the due diligence reports.
8. Inclusion on the agenda of Clr Bingham’s Notice of Motion requesting reports to Council prior to the lodging of any DA or the advertising of any tender in relation to the Manly Oval car park proposal was refused, twice, on the grounds of alleged pecuniary and non- pecuniary interest. This was not only unlawful, but incorrect.
9. There has been conflicting answers provided regarding the proposed source of funding for a car park under Manly Oval; how revenue will be generated; how the proceeds from the sale of the Whistler Street carpark will be used. Although the original 2015 Plan has substantially changed no reports have been submitted to Council on the current Plan
In fact, since the Manly 2015 proposal was first placed on exhibition, there has not been a single progress report submitted to a formal meeting of Council.*
*Council’s practice has been to brief councillors in workshops, which are held quarterly. The information from these workshops is marked ‘confidential’ and nothing is placed on the public record.
Perhaps even more concerning is that this systemic approach of not making public relevant information, (even to the Councillors), has also been used on all other major projects before Council including the $15m New Leisure Swim Centre and building of a Polo Pool, and the Little Manly Foreshore land debacle.
Does this sound like open & transparent government to you?
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor & Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.