BAYSWATER council will commit a maximum of $1.5 million from its major capital works budget to buy the Carter’s wetlands, after the pledge was nearly defeated at a meeting last night.
The overall cost of the wetlands is thought to be about $3 million.
Mayor Barry McKenna said last night’s special council meeting had been called because “time is of the essence” and a revised offer from the owners for the City to purchase lot 14, 128 King William Street, Bayswater expired today.
Council moved to support the Carter’s revised offer, subject to the City receiving funding from the State Government,; the City will not know until December 9 if that funding is available.
An officer also recommended the City commit a maximum of $1.5 million; $1 million from the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary Reserve, $200,000 from the major capital works reserve and $300,000 from the public open space cash-in-lieu trust funds.
Councillor McKenna said council was asking the WA Planning Commission (WAPC) to “really give a lot of support”.
However, Cr Brent Fleeton said council should sell property to buy the wetlands, as he did not like $1 million being taken from the sanctuary account.
“I don’t believe the State Government is going to come to the party,” he said.
Cr Dan Bull said he did not see Carter’s wetland as separate from Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary; he said the whole area was an ecologically sensitive area.
Cr Michelle Sutherland unsuccessfully tried to bring in a condition to prepare a report to look at selling land to pay the full amount.
The $1.5 million motion needed an absolute majority to pass and received only five votes out of eight.
Council took a half hour break, rescinded the motion and debated it again, this time debating whether to take the total $1.5 million from the major capital works fund.
Cr Fleeton said he was concerned about all funds coming from the capital works reserve, particularly because the Maylands Waterland project was coming up.
Deputy Mayor Stephanie Coates said everyone she had spoken to wanted council to buy the land.
The item was passed 6-2 and achieved an absolute majority.
Council also moved a motion that the City also continue to investigate a potential land swap with the owners as an alternative option.
At the meeting, council deferred accepting a revised offer from the D’Orazios, owners of the other half of the Skipper’s Row development.
Cr Alan Radford was on leave and Crs John Rifici and Terry Kenyon were absent from the meeting.