Stirling councillors ‘left in dark’ about Scarborough redevelopment funding agreement

Stirling councillors ‘left in dark’ about Scarborough redevelopment funding agreement

STIRLING Councillors claim they were left in the dark when it was revealed the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) had not yet signed the Scarborough Redevelopment funding agreement.

Councillors passed the $75 million funding agreement on March 1, but issues with a clause prompted MRA lawyers to put forward a revised model and councillors only found out four days before yesterday’s meeting.

The City of Stirling committed $27.4 million and the state government $48 million to the foreshore re-vamp.

Councillor Terry Tyzack said the MRA’s delays were not “businesslike”.

“I don’t this is a very businesslike was to go about it,” he said.

“This was never executed by the MRA, they never signed it, it was sitting in their in-tray.”

Cr Tyzack claimed while the council was urged to rush the signing so works could begin the MRA waited for six weeks to revise the agreement.

“In March, MRA chief executive Keiran Kinsella said if we don’t sign off and agree the earthworks wouldn’t commence, there would be delays,” he said.

“Why did the City wait until the last minute to advise council of the issue when they already knew six weeks ago?

“Why did it take six weeks? What were the MRA’s lawyers doing? What were our lawyers doing?”

Stirling planning and development director Ross Povey said the agreement had not been entered into by the MRA.

“The agreement was signed on the basis of good faith,” he said.

“The MRA discovered the clause will cause them problems so the agreement had not yet been entered into.”

Stirling chief executive Stuart Jardine said there had been frustrations about the changes.

“There were frustrations as to why this occurred one minute to midnight,” he said.

“There were significant discussions with the MRA after the City entered into the agreement, there was a last minute clause they were unhappy with.

“The MRA has lots of dealings with appropriate Ministers, this was a surprise to the City as to why it was not raised earlier…the clause needs to be removed so we can sign off.”

Cr Tyzack said the ordeal was “wishy washy”.

“We owe the MRA nothing,” he said.

“The City spends millions of dollars in Scarborough at the Scarborough foreshore in the interest of our ratepayers.

“Our contribution to Scarborough is far greater than the MRA’s.”

Cr Irwin, who put forward the motion, said signing the new agreement was a sense of urgency.

“There is a sense of urgency in this, the last thing businesses at Scarborough need is any delay,” he said.

“We may not owe anything to the MRA but we are in a million dollar partnership with them. It is a minor change.”

Crs David Lagan and Tyzack voted against the new agreement, which was passed by the majority.

The clause removed a clause that stated commercial rent revenue would be shared 50/50 with the City and the MRA until the whole income would be transferred to the City, which the MRA were not able to guarantee.