This post summarises the outcome of the first (and ‘early’) Council meeting for 2019. The full agenda and attachments can be found at the Town’s site.
Item 9.1 (“Swanbourne Village“) concerned the Town’s Report to the Joint Development Assessment Panel, which had been submitted by the Town prior to this Special Council Meeting in order to meet JDAP’s deadline. I supported “noting” the Report, as it reflected the Town’s concerns that the development did not comply with several requirements of the Local Development Plan in place for this site. As the final decision is now JDAP’s, I considered it prudent (on behalf of residents) for the Town to submit a Report that clearly noted those areas of non-compliance, and thus is a Report that “recommends refusal”. This allows JDAP to be clearly notified of that non-compliance and to make its decision accordingly. I remain hopeful that an appropriate balance can be struck between the applicant’s plans for a modern, sustainable development and one that satisfies the community and is in keeping with the surrounding area.
Item 9.3 (“Mosman Park Depot“) asked Council to approve the plan to move the Town’s Depot to a new location at the Town of Mosman Park’s depot. It also sought to give the CEO & Mayor authority to execute the lease itself without it being returned to Council for approval of its final terms.
My major concern was that a lease (for a “major land transaction”), which commits the Town to a 21 year term, and significant upfront and annual expenditure, should be returned to Council before it is signed – particularly given the impact on the Town’s finances and operations. In my view, there are important issues to be included in the final lease, due to its 21 year duration, the outright/total reversion at the end of the 21 years to the Town of Mosman Park of the facilities built by Town of Cottesloe at our expense, and what happens should any council amalgamations occur before the 21 years ends. All of these matters suggest this is more than a ‘standard’ lease and Council should be given the opportunity to approve the final lease before it is signed, and then binds us until 2040. Note: I didn’t object to an amendment made to seek legal advice on the lease, but I tried to have the lease returned to Council to approve (ie after any legal advice is obtained) so that Council can have proper input into its terms before it is signed. At present, Council will see the legal advice (which will only be on whether the lease complies with the key terms set out in the Business Plan), but not be able to approve the lease – nor raise any other issues in the Town’s interests. In short, Council will only be told whether the lease complies with the key terms in the Business Plan, but will otherwise be powerless on what it says.
I am also yet to be convinced that the Town of Mosman Park Depot option is the best option for Cottesloe, based on location, financial impact and loss of net value to Cottesloe on the expiry of the 21 year term. In my time as Councillor, I have not seen any report or study setting out all options that were considered for Cottesloe’s new Depot, nor why Mosman Park is the best or preferred. At best, I have seen specific responses on only two other options: Sea View Golf Club (after that was raised by the community), and the land adjacent to Cottesloe Train Station (an option I raised last year) – in both cases the specific, reactive responses to these two alternate sites are no substitute for a proper analysis of all potential Depot sites being provided to Council before it is asked to commit to an option that does not seem sound.
Next Council meeting is the February Agenda Forum, 6pm Tuesday 19 Feb.
Cr Michael Tucak