A business plan for Little Manly foreshore may help to keep the harbourfront land in public hands.
Manly Council voted this week to prepare a business case to help finance last year's purchase of No 40 Stuart St, which is ear-marked for demolition in the future to extend Little Manly park.
The council had previously resolved to sell two properties - Nos 34 and 36 Stuart St - in order to fund the $4.2 million purchase of No 40.
However the threat to public open space enraged residents who successfully took the council to the Land and Environment Court to block the sale.
At Monday's meeting the council voted to consider financial options including raising the timber house at 34 Stuart St and using the space underneath for a paid dinghy and kayak lock- up facility. The dwelling could be used, for example as The Manly Coastal Environment Centre, thus saving the rental on the groups' existing premises.
Deferring the transformation of No 40 into open space is also on the table, meaning the council could continue to receive rent from the property. Changing the council's loan on the property to interest-only repayments and increasing Manly's Environment Levy will also be considered.
While councillors welcomed the development of a business plan, Cr Barbara Aird expressed concerns that, despite everything, the future of the beachfront land is still not secure.
A motion, put by Crs Cathy Griffin, Hugh Burns and Aird to rescind an earlier decision to re-zone the Stuart St properties from 'open space' to 'residential' was deferred until next month. That means that the council's September decision to spot re-zone the four Stuart St properties on Little Manly beach, still stands.
The council's four independent councillors and residents' group Save Little Manly Foreshore see the re-zoning as an attempt to circumvent the Land and Environment Court "no sale" ruling.
Good For Manly councillor Candy Bingham welcomed the business plan proposal and congratulated Manly residents who fought to keep the land in public hands, particularly the Save LIttle Manly Foreshore Group and Cr Aird who fought for the vision for years at Manly Council.
But she criticised the council for "wasting $200,000 of rate payers' money" in the Land and Environment Court.
Council staff will now prepare a business case to be considered at next month's meeting. That meeting should also vote on the re-zoning rescission motion.
Candy Bingham, Former Councillor Manly Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.