Square costs rounded on

The City says it’s time to get on with Kings Square.           d436841
The City says it’s time to get on with Kings Square.         d436841

Resident Martin Lee said he �stumbled� upon the business plan and sent a query through to the City asking how it had come to the figures of a 6.15 per cent rate of return and a positive $4 million net present value (NPV) from the $45 million investment the City said the project needed.

Mr Lee said his own calculations showed a negative rate of return and a negative $30 million NPV.

�This is a massive difference, since if I am correct, instead of adding to the value of the City�s investment base, it would erode $30 million from it and I have simply asked the City to explain to me how they got their figures, but they refuse to,� he said.

�I have never criticised the project or become drawn into discussing its many benefits, I have just focused on the simple questions I first put to council.

�If the City wants to spend $45 million on Kings Square, it should be honest with councillors and ratepayers about its impact on City finances.�

Mr Lee said after receiving the response, he took the issue to the Fremantle Residents� and Ratepayers Association.

Members took their concerns to Willagee MLA Peter Tinley, who put a number of questions to Local Government Minister Tony Simpson recently.

FRRA representative Claudia Green said the group was focused on city governance and claimed the finances were inaccurate and misleading.

She said the association wanted to know why the City would not answer �legitimate ratepayer questions and concerns�.

Fremantle chief executive Graeme Mackenzie said the time to scrutinise the business plan had been and gone.

�The Kings Square business plan was scrutinised and signed off over two years ago and has now become a legally binding contractual agreement between the City and Sirona Capital � it simply can�t be undone,� he said.

�So while I appreciate the public interest in the topic, the time for debate has well and truly passed and serves no real purpose now other than to distract us from the real work of getting on with this $220 million development that will provide Fremantle with all of the benefits that were identified in the plan.�

However, he said the City would release additional information to address some of Mr Lee�s questions in the coming weeks.

�In the interim, I need to make it clear that the business plan for this project was the most comprehensive business plan ever released by the City of Fremantle, containing information far exceeding the minimum requirements for a business plan produced by a local government,� he said.

�It was based on the best information and knowledge at the time, so anyone now looking at the plan is not viewing it through the same time lens.�