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7-15 Quarry Street Major Land Sale by Fremantle Council

Major Land Sale: Who Benefits from this  Incompetence?

The Fremantle Society for years has warned of bad deals done by Fremantle Council and poor financial management - immature and reckless financial wastage of precious ratepayer assets leading to poor quality outcomes.

Just last week, former Treasurer Mike Nahan, at Parliament House, said the biggest of them all, the King's Square deal, was a "dud."

Years of warnings should have led to more care and due diligence by Mayor and Council. But now we find that one of the biggest ratepayer assets, the 4,133 square metre site at 7 to15 Quarry Street, is inexplicably being sold quietly with very few people knowing of the sale.

The Fremantle Herald reported on October 24th: "In December 2013 the council offered to sell the site to a developer friend of mayor Brad Pettitt, pushing through a quick deal so he could apply for tax credits of affordable housing- so quick its publicly released business plan contained misleading information." 

Two councillors and the mayor declared a friendship interest with the developer Bruce Moriaty. The mayor left the room, but Crs Pemberton and Coggin stayed and voted for the proposal while declaring an impartiality interest.

At that stage the site was 1477 sqm and the deal with the developer, though passed 8-0 by Council, didn't end up going through. The new larger site of 4,133 sim came about by demolishing a useful functioning child care centre and amalgamating three blocks. 

The site is listed on a Victorian forsalebyowner page and due for auction on December 2nd. Contact details take you to the voice mail of a Fremantle Council officer who is away on holidays. Phone calls to substitute staff go to voicemail.  When asked why there are no signs on the property advertising the sale, a local was told by Council that "there is a lot of anti social behaviour in the area and the signs would get damaged."

Two councillors were contacted and neither knew anything about the sale. Two real estate agents were contacted and neither- one with 40 years experience in Fremantle and the other a large national brand, know nothing of the sale.

This is an extraordinary situation 3 weeks from an auction.

The photos above show what a glorious site this is, directly and remarkably abutting the large expanses of Fremantle Park. It is a rare cleared site near the centre of Fremantle. It should be worth around $10 million, but not if Council is keeping the sale quiet for unknown reasons.

At the very least this auction must be postponed, and a local or major agent appointed to maximise the interest and return on this valuable ratepayer asset for the ratepayers. 

Its also time for a government enquiry into the continual dumb deals of Council.

John Dowson
President
The Fremantle Society

0409 223622

11 November, 2020

 

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