Fremantle’s House of Cards

Further from Fremantle CEO Clanger, on the mind your own business, style comment from the CEO that was in the Gazette today, we see the COF PR team has released his whole statement to Roel’s Freoview, that was given to the Gazette. Which is probably good to see his whole letter and not just piece meal bits that were put to print.

Probably good,,,,,, Not, it was probably best they said nothing as I love the comparison between the State Government Perth freight link business plan and the COF councils Kings Sq Business plan I quote “To put this into context, try to obtain a copy of the business plan for any of the major state government projects like the Perth Freight Link – we can’t!”  

So from that pearler of a comparison, many think the freight link is not transparent for costs and has a lot of unanswered questions in regards to the benefits to investment ratio. Is the CEO drawing the same comparison to Kings SQ? This sounds like the state government is keeping the council in the dark- so the council is going to do the same thing to its rate payers and residents, leave us in the dark with no facts and no answers to months old simple questions.

With the councils refusal to answer questions on the issue for 7 months now and  the comments we see online, we have to ask, is the project built like a house of cards and if we remove one piece will it just crumble down? What do they have to fear by answering questions? The effort by council to keep the facts from the residents and rate payers is clear, the question is why?

As for a binding contract, didn’t they tell us that the Business Plan had certain trigger points or get out of contract points? If the development requirement/criteria are not met as per a predetermined time table, doesn’t this require it to go back to council to continue or extend the timetable. If so, this certainly wasn’t how it was portrayed by the CEO’s statements. Are we getting the whole picture unvetted or just being fed what they want us to hear?

The other interesting statement is this “I also make the comment that the NPV assessment was not the sole determinant for this project to proceed” So what were the other determinant points for the project, more importantly what $$$ value was assigned to them to justify or offset any $$ loss, cost or investment?

The questions just keeping mounting up.

Fremantle CEO Clanger

Homer-Simpson-wingnuts-doh

I wish I can say I was surprised by the reported comment in the Fremantle Gazette today from Fremantle’s CEO Graeme Mackenzie but I’m not.

The fact that someone has raised a $30,000,000.00+ question on the city’s Kings Square Business Plan (KSBP) and over the last 7+ months and the city (COF) has repeatedly failed to answer even 1(one) question is alarming. The fact the COF, CEO and Mayor Brad have failed to answer any of these questions is incredible, further to see them personally attack that rate payer for patiently asking the questions over 3 months, initially and over 7 months now in total makes you wonder what going on?

When you read the article and see comments that from the CEO it’s “too late to ask questions” you have to ask why?  A resident has question how the KSBP makes a positive NPV of just over $4 million, when his calculation comes out with a negative $30 million NPV. I’m not sure what lenses Graeme is referring to but it must be a hell of a kaleidoscope he is looking thought to get such different figures.

Whether the city has a contract or not again is not relevant to the questions being asked. Or the future ones that are doing to be asked. As currently the real question are around “Good governance: transparency, accountability, consultation and responsible Council management of assets and rates.”

They always seem to say the right words, we appreciate the questions, we appreciate public interest, thank you for the question but it’s their action that tell the real story personal media attacks on residents, refusing to answer the questions they appreciated you asking.

Statements like this are worrying as if the plan was so good why did Mr Lee not find the answers in the plan and why does the COF just not simply point out to Mr Lee what page of their comprehensive business plan has the answers. “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. So either the business plan bar for facts is set real low or maybe the comprehensive part refers to the PR, glossy images and rhetoric, instead of in depth financials and economic details need to quantify the actual financial outcomes and impact on the COF finances?

So yet again we wait to see what answers we will get but note the CEO is quoted as saying “However, he said the City would release additional information to address some of Mr Lee’s questions in the coming weeks.” Not all the questions but SOME, not very reassuring after 7 months.

The question we need to have answered is the business plan as it was presented to council a true representation of the actual impact on the city’s finances. The financial facts could not have changed from then to now, sure interest rate may have land value may have but the documents behind the business plan are still the same surely?

The comment, 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.”  Sounds like we may have a bit spin or change of impact on the City coming? This doesn’t change the business plan that was presented or the documents used to build that assumption.

The longer the COF drags this out the more doubt they put into the city and its future this issue should have been dealt with answers swiftly to get past it and get on with growing Fremantle, instead of leaving a veil, of secrecy, worry, questions and doubt. It can’t be good for trying to attract new development/business to the city while the COF leaves such issues unresolved?

All these issues will make it very interesting to see the answers to the questions still before the minister for Local Government Tony Simpson.

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