Good For Manly Cr Candy Bingham’s motion to discuss the need for a business plan was illegally ruled “out of order” and left off the agenda at Monday’s Manly Council Meeting. And Cr Bingham’s attempt to have it discussed as a matter of urgency, was also knocked back.
A packed gallery, comprising many representatives of Manly's Resident Precinct groups, expressed their outrage as the Mayor Jean Hay refused to allow the matter to be discussed.
The motion, which was to examine the financial viability of the 99 year lease of the Whistler Street site and construction of a 470 space car park under Manly Oval, was prepared by residents of North Harbour Precinct. It had the support of the majority of the resident precincts and is a requirement of the Office of Local Government.
"The council’s existing documentation is so out of date it was made when the car park was to hold 760 cars, not 470, as is the case now. The KPMG report also contained significant omissions, such as not taking into account the loss of the $1M a year operating profit currently made by the Whistler St Car Park," Cr Bingham explained.
The need is urgent. The contracts to build the oval car park and redevelop Whistler St are expected to be awarded next month. At that point, Manly Council and its ratepayers will be locked in, with a penalty fee incurred if the newly merged Council decides to call the projects off.
“It’s easy to see why people are upset,” Cr Bingham said.
“While the planned 99-year lease and development of the Whistler St site will partly fund the new oval car park, the down side of that deal is that we lose convenient parking in Manly CBD and the potential for a new CBD plaza. We also lose a key site in Manly at a time when the Council is to be expanded."
“The remaining cost, including any price overruns, or operating losses, will come out of the pocket of Manly businesses and rate payers.”
At the end of the day, Manly CBD will lose up to 100 on-street parking spaces and gain a pitiful 40 extra spots further away.
“It’s the ‘why bother’ Car Park,” Cr Bingham said. "Why are the Liberal Councillors hell-bent on pushing this through before the Council is amalgamated? It's irresponsible".
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.