Open letter to Mackay Park Sunset Committee
It seems some in council are grasping at straws to find additional funds for the Mackay Park development and in view of the community's objections to the proposed fate of the Community Centre, it is to be hoped councillors need no more convincing that to pursue any more sales of assets to help finance the project will result in today's equivalent of riots on the streets.
It seems the General Manager and Mayor are still expecting councillors to approve the development at next Tuesday's meeting, which means they will have to be convinced beyond doubt that the project offers what the community wants and will be affordable to build, own and operate for its 50-60 year life!
Because of the magnitude of the impacts for now and decades ahead, councillors should sensibly defer any decision on tenders until holding an extraordinary meeting. That meeting would be held after releasing all the latest information, including up-dated business cases, tender prices, etc., allowing for public information and for feedback. There is no longer the stated need for this information to remain "commercial in confidence" - the tenders are in now.
On top of the bowling club purchase, loans, consultancies' fees, staff time, etc. - at least some $7 million - so far expended, the total tender price is expected be around $70 million after contingencies. That means the council will still have a $15 million gap to fill from the $55 million in grants and an earlier loan just to pay for the build and that gap has to be filled from reserves, additional loans, etc. as mentioned in the agenda for the July 28 meeting.
There will be further consultancy costs and the continuing operational, financial and ownership costs for the next generations of residents and ratepayers. Facilities and amenities have been reduced or cut out altogether because we were told they were unaffordable - and that was when the estimated cost was $48 million!
We deserve to see the latest numbers before councillors vote for a $22 million more expensive building. There won't be any more chances if the councillors fire the starting gun on Tuesday.
Jeff de Jager, Coila Creek
The council will still have a $15 million gap to fill from the $55 million in grants and an earlier loan