Coun­cil con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ment projects

Pilbara News - - Opinion - Peter Long Peter Long is the City of Kar­ratha Mayor.

There has been some con­fu­sion with the City of Kar­ratha coun­cil’s po­si­tion on two ma­jor in­vest­ment projects we are con­sid­er­ing: the pur­chase of The Quar­ter and devel­op­ment of the Home­maker Cen­tre at Gap Ridge.

The coun­cil has not made a de­ci­sion on ei­ther pro­posal and will not do so for some time.

As a lo­cal govern­ment, we are sub­ject to strict laws to en­sure an open and trans­par­ent process when mak­ing any sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tion.

As part of this, we have opted to ask for pub­lic feed­back on both projects and have pre­pared a busi­ness plan, which out­lines the ben­e­fits and risks to ratepay­ers for each.

The coun­cil will not de­cide whether to go ahead with a bid for The Quar­ter un­til the end of next month. The process we are tak­ing with the Home­maker Cen­tre is ex­ten­sive, as is in­di­cated in our busi­ness plan, and a fi­nal de­ci­sion to pro­ceed is not likely un­til next year.

The coun­cil is also free to dis­con­tinue the process at any stage and has to date opted only to fund a busi­ness plan and pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

The next phase of the work, if it pro­ceeds, is the de­tailed fea­si­bil­ity study, which will in­volve de­mand anal­y­sis, de­tailed dis­cus­sions with pos­si­ble tenants, leas­ing and fi­nan­cial ar­range­ments, de­sign and de­tailed pro­ject cost­ings.

The coun­cil would need a min­i­mum num­ber of long-term lease agree­ments to be signed be­fore it be­gan any build­ing works. There are sev­eral ad­van­tages of these projects.

Firstly, we can ob­tain a far bet­ter re­turn on our sav­ings, which can then be re­turned to ratepay­ers.

Sec­ondly, we can pro­vide more lo­cal jobs and bet­ter re­tail of­fer­ings for our com­mu­nity: in­ad­e­quate re­tail op­tions re­mains con­sis­tently in the top three neg­a­tive as­pects of liv­ing in our city. Fi­nally, if we own and man­age these as­sets, we will look af­ter them prop­erly and we will not pe­nalise lo­cal busi­nesses or co-lo­cate sim­i­lar busi­nesses.

We want to look af­ter our busi­nesses and com­mu­nity, and this is one av­enue to do that, pro­vided the com­mu­nity wants it.

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