‘DUMB’ DOCKERS DEAL
THE exit deal done by council with the Dockers looks dumb, and dumber the more it is investigated.
The Dockers got the land for their $1.5 million headquarters at Fremantle Oval for a peppercorn rent, and the members paid for the building. The Dockers committed to a lease that still has 37 years to run. Fremantle Council loaned them $2 million interest free for apporximately two years. They should not be rewarded for breaking their lease.
As part of their commitment, the Dockers have been spending approximately $240,000 a year maintaining the Oval.
Fremantle Council's deal lets them off $8.88 million in maintenance costs at today's figures, though with the AFL club gone the level of maintenance is likely to be poorer.
In addition, council will pay the Dockers $1.5 million, plus $500,000 for promoting the club (and $200,000 to St Pats on the Stan Reilly site next door so they can leave Fremantle and go to Safety Bay).
Fremantle Council have offered South Fremantle Football Club, who own $3 million worth of land and buildings at the Oval, a 10year licence with a once-off carrot of $50,000 to surrender their 37-year sub lease.
But why would Souths, who managed the Oval for 100 years, sign such a deal when they earn approximately $90,000 a year for the rest of the 37-year lease (ie $3.33 million as against the $90,000 being offered).
None of the millions about to be spent would be necessary if council had not decided on a brand new and unnecessary administration building.
The Fremantle Society does not believe there has ever been a properly argued case for a new $50 million administration building, especially since large-scale amalgamations are not going to occur.
Council staff have been unable to show the Fremantle Society a single report that justifies the demolition of their building, built by the same high quality builder who built the Port Authority tower.
The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Sirona Capital came to council in 2011. Two councillors, Haney and Dowson, refused to vote for it as it was considered by them such a bad financial deal. The deal did not stipulate the demolition of the administration building, but stated that there could be a rebuild or refurbishment.
The Fremantle Society wants a full and frank public discussion led by council and listened to by council over King's Square, to include the use and design of the square, the $550,000 proposed playground, the dying Moreton Bay trees and the issue of whether we need a new administration building or not.
King's Square should be the beating heart of Fremantle. It deserves the best possible outcomes. JOHN DOWSON, President The Fremantle Society.