The Mayor, Cr Jean Hay used her weekly newspaper column (Dec 14) to vow to "right the appalling decision made by the last Council to buy No 40 Stuart Street".
Number 40, along with Nos 34 and 36 Stuart St which were bought years ago, was purchased as part of a 40-year vision to increase public land at Little Manly beach - a secluded Sydney Harbour jewel.
But Cr Hay says No 40 cost too much - $4.25 million - which the council had to borrow, creating the "huge financial burden" of paying off $500,000 per year for the next ten years.
In fact that's exactly what Monday's vote was all about.
Public fury and the Land and Environment Court had stopped the council's Liberal block from selling public waterfront at No 34 and 36 to pay for No 40. So attention could finally turn to funding the purchase in another way.
The business plan included - raising the timber house at No 34 and using the space underneath for a paid dinghy and kayak lock- up facility; using the house as the new home of the Manly Environment Centre, thus saving $75,000 per annum in rental on the centre's existing premises; and delaying the demolition of the house at No 40, meaning the council could continue to receive rent from the property.
Changing the council's loan on No 40 to interest-only repayments was also considered but is not likely to be adopted as it more than doubles the cost of the loan - from $1.1 million in total interest to $2.7 million.
Increasing Manly's Environment Levy by 50 cents per rateable property per week was also under consideration but does not seem a likely option.
An immediate improvement to public land at Little Manly was on the cards as No 36, the smallest property, has been deemed for demolishion for some time, and the land landscaped for public use and additional outdoor boat storage.
The council is to consider the business plan seriously at a strategic workshop in February 2014.
Let us know here what you would like to see happen with the Stuart St properties.
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.