City moves ahead with Quarter plan
The City of Karratha is proceeding with plans to purchase the Karratha Quarter and will soon enter into negotiations with Land Corp for a suitable price.
At their meeting last week on Monday, councillors voted six to two in favour of entering negotiations with Land Corp for a cash offer for settlement within the next 30 days.
The City is seeking to negotiate within a price range of $18-22 million in keeping with an independent valuation of the property.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the potential purchase would be in the interests of longterm financial planning for the City. He said while the council was in a strong financial position, thanks to saving during the mining boom, they wanted to invest in projects with high returns to keep rates down in future.
“Council is seeking to generate the best rate of return, so that the whole community can get better quality services and facilities without costing ratepayers more,” he said. “The Quarter investment has the capacity to generate higher financial returns compared to the bank term deposit rates, which are currently averaging 2.6 per cent.
“This would provide a sustainable long-term revenue source for council and reduce its reliance on generating income from rates.” If successful, the Quarter acquisition would become the City’s second big investment in infrastructure in recent months after it committed to pursuing the first stage of investing $27 million in helping get Land Corp’s Gap Ridge Homemaker Centre off the ground.
Four submissions about the possible purchase were received from the council’s public consultation period, most of which stated the purchase would be a high financial risk and an extra cost for ratepayers.
Councillors Fiona White Hartig and Gary Bailey voted against the motion. Cr White Hartig said there was an “extremely large” risk to ratepayers involved in the purchase.