Community, Kings Square Presentation

 Kings Square Project Presentation

Below are the slides presented to various community groups at a presentation I attended a couple of weeks.

The idea of the presentation was not to say if the project is good or bad, whether it should proceed or not but to bring to a better or clearly understanding of the questions being asked about the projects business plan and the financial position is leaves the City of Fremantle(COF) in. It brings into question whether the NPV is a positive outcome that the COF states of $4million plus situation, or whether it leaves the COF with a $30million loss as has been questioned now quite publicly over the last months, or maybe somewhere in between?

The number that seems to get the COF to their positive NPV is the $97 million value in 20yrs time, is it just the building, land or both together, that’s seems also to be in debate? The other question is who came up with this figure to put into the spreadsheet, the consultant Leedwell or did it come from the COF? As it appears to be what gives them a positive NPV?

Now due to the COF keeping documentations and meetings secret, the questions asked, have not been answered and are still awaiting a clear informative response giving the facts needed to support the COF business case. All of the councillors would have had access to these documents as it was their vote that made them confidential and to keep them from our perusal.

There are some more questions that have come up since this issue started.

The city claims over its 20 year window their new planned city chambers, library etc., will double in value, not the land just the building. Yet the value given to the one building they now occupy is more or less worthless, how can a building that is not built double in value and the one they actually use is worthless?

They claim the Queensgate building site is also only worth land value though in 2013 it was producing an approx. $750,000 a year return, over 11% return on the asset. Now it is a worthless building only to be demolished and to be sold for land value?

The city has also chosen to ignore some of its own policies like SG14. Which is design to give guidance and a system to projects like this, but the committee SG14 calls for don’t seem to have met since 2008?

Anyway have a read, I hope this presentation makes the questions clearer for you and provides you a better understanding of what the business plan says and the questions that still more than 8 months after Mr. Lee started asking questions remain UNANSWERED.

The other startling outcome is the Minister for local government Tony Simpson who failed to answer the questions in parliament on these issues raised and it seems has no powers to even ask questions about the COF dealings in this Kings Sq issue. Ministers who can’t ask questions thats a new one or maybe he is worried about opening Pandora’s box and finding what else is hidden inside?

If ministers can’t even ask questions of an area they have fiduciary duty over, its not hard to see why Barnetts government is in the financial mess it is in?

A quick couple of quotes for the Ministers DLG websiteThe Department continues to play a key role in supporting local governments to plan for strong and sustainable communities, as well as promoting good governance and regulation. The highlight passage is from the ministers webpage, so in the rate payers and residents of Fremantle case the ministers has clearly failed to promote good governance and regulation.  “Established on 1 July 2013, with a clear mandate to deliver tangible outcomes in local communities.” as long as the tangible outcomes don’t require the minister to ask any questions or even worse seek out the answers.

This is slightly smaller version of what was shown covering the same info as presented by Mr Lee.

Slide1

graphics from the COF business plan

Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6 Slide7 Slide8 Slide9 Slide10 Slide11 Slide12 Slide13

Graphics from the COF business plan

Slides and presentation by Martin lee

Fremantle’s Real Problem, Too Much Politics in Council

aus parliament house

Are there Delusions of Grandeur on Fremantle Council?

Yesterday on Freoview we see one of the real problems Fremantle faces, state and federal political ideology deeply entwined in Councillor fundamental position.  Quote ”Worse still, not only is Barnett willing to sell the Port but will use scarce funds to privatise the road that feeds it. Barnett & Abbott are racing to build their new truck sewer straight through the middle of East Fremantle and North Fremantle. In doing so, they will sever with the swiftness of a terrorist’s sword the connectivity’s that several generations of Fremantle people have fought so hard to maintain and rebuild.

Imagine a life behind high concrete walls that divides Fremantle like Berlin was. The freeway style toll road will make access in and out of our city centre hopelessly constrained especially from the north and east.”

I don’t get how he thinks the road is being privatised by selling the port?

Tonight Councillor Sullivan’s comments are emotive, politically motivated and basically should have no place in the council arena. Making emotionally provocative statements comparing the sale of state assets to the actions of terrorists beheading people have nothing to do with local government issues.

It seems clearer and clearer that council’s political ideologies and allegiances are clouding the real operation of council from its true function. The political links/loyalties of councillors should be secondary to their paid responsibilities of council duties.

If they feel their political ideologies are more important than their fiduciary duties to the rate payers and residents of Fremantle they should fore go their council positions to concentrate on state or federal politics.

It must be quite clear now if not before that comments that Dave Hume, Bill Massie made on Wednesday night that council’s actions be driven by their responsibilities and duties to its rate payer and residents base not personal political agendas is valid, as it is a real issue in Fremantle council?

The state government decision to sell the port may be dumb but the effect is on the whole state and best handled there.  The FPA make their own operational decisions, state or private owned, the COF opinion is just that?

Here is a little tit bit of the freoview discussion from Andrew and his Shakespearean style theatrics over the Perth Freight Link

Here is my response to Andrews’s theatrics, in fairness you should read his comments as well as mine, as I unlike the City of Fremantle believe people should read both sides of the story to better judge for themselves. I have posted it here on Fremantle Reform, so I can add links easily, so click on Roels link to see Andrews and others comments on the issue

FREMANTLE PORTS SALE A CONCERN FOR FREO; Freoview

My Comment to Andrews, see link above as seen on freoview

“First Andrew I will wait to see what proposal the 3 consortiums come up with before, I support one thing or the other (a point made by Rachel Pemberton at SPC) or start comparing High St to an active berlin wall. I would rather see an actual plan in black or white to form a view than make one, based on your over sensationalist rhetoric with executioners, swords, terrorists, communist walls, sewers etc, Isn’t it possible to have a normal discussion?

Trying to cross High St now on foot at times is a pretty risky affair now! I wouldn’t say it’s a safe road for neighbours to ample across now. Come to think of it if I wanted to go north or south I wouldn’t use that part of High St anyway I would cross over at Amherst where I’m not running the current truck gauntlet.

I must have missed the game of thrones series where they had terrorists, your quote was “In doing so, they will sever with the swiftness of a terrorist’s sword” doesn’t sound like a game of thrones analogy to me, though people should try and google “terrorist sword” and see how many links they get back to the game of thrones series. It may prove to be a fruitless task?

As for guaranteeing what kids will and don’t do I will leave their actions and accountability to their responsible guardians.

For a highway dividing a community I can show you examples of how they can be built where it’s a positive outcome with parks and grass but that would just leave you with another place to pour concrete as we saw in More Council Concrete for Fremantle Parks or you could look at Fremantle’s Councils Perceived Anti-Car Stance

13-11-18-schnelsen-13-portal-nord-600x400

Hamburger Deckel project in Germany is burying the A7 autobahn to make parks and new land

As the state government is about as forthcoming with detail on plans as the City of Fremantle is, i.e. Kings Sq hidden documents, I expect to see little in transparency from either. Didn’t the CEO reference that fact in his mini-series called the response.

As for little eco systems, I wasn’t the one who voted for the chainsaws and chippers to destroy 100+ trees on the old Kim Beazley site. In the name of higher density, that sounds like something Barnett would do though oh and a group of Fremantle councillors.

It’s great you’re so concerned about Cockburn wetland, perhaps if the councillors put as much effort into the tree canopy/open public spaces of Fremantle we wouldn’t have the second worse rating in Australia from 202020 report. Perhaps you could focus on the city you were elected to actually represent, a good point made by Dave Hume on Wednesday night. A quick look at google earth shows how barren Freo is from Parkland and the only significant greens spots are the esplanade, some sports grounds and the golf course and you poured concrete onto one. (I would mention the footie ground but if that’s handed over to the COF I can’t imagine it lasting to long.) Luckily the 202020 report was done before that, as that little gem could have tipped us over the line for no1 spot for worse hard covering report from the 202020 report.

HARD SURFACE HEAVY

  1. City of Maribyrnong (VIC)
  2. City of Fremantle (WA)
  3. City of Holdfast Bay (SA)
  4. City of Rockdale (NSW)”

 

Kings Sq, Lots of Questions but No Answers, Fremantle Council Why??

question

On Roel’s Freoview most recent blog in regards to Kings Sq, Brad writes:

“As I understand it the contested area is the assumptions that were used to reach the outcome we did including a general rates uplift, 20 year timeframe, discounted rate of 5.5% and the value of enhanced Fremantle Council owned assets. If you assume the above then it is clear to see how we reached the stated rate of return and NPV. All of these assumptions were published in the business plan and could have been contested during the advertising period. Council, on the advice of City of Fremantle staff and independent experts was comfortable these assumptions were well justified.”

This post raises questions why is it just repeating the business plans basics this is not the question and certainly does not answer any questions raised?
If all of the assumptions have been published in the Business Plan, perhaps the Mayor could explain to the rate payers and residents, his electors, the ones he is supposedly representing what could still be confidential? The spreadsheet simply takes the assumptions and turns them into cash flows, NPVs and rates of return. In that case, the spreadsheet you think must contain nothing of a confidential nature.

Even if you don’t give us the specifics, just tell us what subject matter is still confidential. It’s not a trick question is it?

The Business Case presented by Leedwell at the 5 November 2012 Council meeting should likewise also contain nothing of a confidential nature. So why can’t we see it?

If there is some crucial piece of information of a confidential nature that has not been included in the Business Plan, and this is the missing key to the puzzle, then it is obviously impossible for rate payers to be able to calculate the NPV and rate of return. How can we make an informed decision, if are not able to have access to all the facts

So, which is it? The Mayor states that it is “clear to see how we reached the stated rate of return and NPV.” In that case, what could possibly be confidential? You cannot have it both ways! All I can see is smoke and mirrors, spin and sleight of hand, good for the Friday markets but not with rate payer’s assets and funds.

As for needing more legal advice, how much more do their need to be able to communicate with the rate payers? Could the Mayor please explain what could possibly have changed since they drafted Mr. Lees now public response, since the Mayor last refused to provide the requested information on the grounds of confidentiality? The answer is obviously “Nothing”. Is this just another attempt for the Mayor to buy more time to avoid answering the questions? is this just a delaying tactic, hoping or maybe knowing that the minister will tick the Business Plan is there box, as he did last time, which still does not answer any of the real questions? It just casts a longer shadow of suspicion.

How long does the Mayor intend to keep up this charade?

Also, is Council perhaps now starting to distance itself from the contents of the Business Plan, by pointing the finger at “advice of City of Fremantle staff and independent experts”. Has the Mayor simply been relying on advice when accepting the NPV and Rate of Return figures, or did he satisfy himself that the figures are correct? Not an ideal time for staff to be on holidays… perhaps a busy week next week. What a waste of everyone’s time, purely because the council isn’t being transparent.

I wonder how much all of this evasive action is costing us the ratepayer, imagine needing legal advice, for a Mayor to tell the electorate what is happening in its own city. Every time you see Law and Order and someone needs a lawyers advice to answer simple a question, what’s that telling US, what goes through your mind?

If there is nothing to hide, answer the questions and provide the spreadsheet and Leedwell Business Case to rate payers. If you don’t, what else are we left to think, obviously the COF must be hiding something?

Updated images for City of Fremantle civic, library and admin building | City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s Blog

Updated images for City of Fremantle civic, library and admin building | City of Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s Blog.

Amazing timing when there are real questions on the Kings Sq project being asked, involving an approx. $30,000,000.00 questioned difference in the outcome for the financials. The mayor has conveniently received some great drawing of how the place will look.

Then he questions why people ask, why the spin, here is an example. The best way to stop the questions of the business plan is just answer the questions, right?

Instead we get some more impressions of how the place will look, PR instead of facts. A quick distraction won’t it look great, what an asset, what a drawcard, future, activating etc. The real issue is those pictures and PR aren’t being questioned, it’s the financials to justify the project, some quotes from (Roels Freoview)* on line from the people of Fremantle

“Brad, if you really have ‘nothing to hide’ as you state, please make public to ratepayers the detailed spreadsheet that shows the 20 year forecast cash flows which the NPV and IRR are calculated. If you did the speculation about both the financial valuation methodology and assumptions utilised would cease.”

Brad, Just spin up till now then all of a sudden you propose “maybe” a trickle can be revieled/released, except some aspects? I think Dianas` proposal is sound. “We” as residents and ratepayers are paying for external lawyers to “view them ” just to decide if they “should be released to us” or held in secret. Really? We (FCC)should invite/pay the Auditor General to “view them” also and let him decide not only if they should be released to us, but expose the whole deal for what it is “in detail” to us. Just the thought of that may be enough for the City to produce some form of “Spreadsheet”.

“Brad, sounds like you’ve started to hide behind lawyers and caveats already. Your earlier ‘nothing to hide’ statement means pretty much nothing. What timeframe are you intending to ‘see what we can release’?”

“Martin’s questions are straight forward and need to be answered directly. There is no absolutely need for all this verbiage and obfuscation.
The fact that so much time and space has been taken up with distracting rhetoric and spin by Council has to now also be questioned. This is public money,and there is no defence or argument at all for not providing answers to these non provocative questions.
For elected public officers who have a fiduciary duty and accountability to their rate payers, to continue to prevaricate and avoid answering a simple response to questions as to how a financial conclusion in a public Business Plan has been reached, has to be questioned by those who provide the money, and clearly, now the actual avoidance by those elected to responsibly handle those public monies, to substantiate how the Business Plan has been formulated, must now be in the spotlight and scrutinised by the State Government, who is responsible for the functioning of Local Government.
The Mayor, as the manager, must provide the answers and be transparent. It is not his decision not to.
This has be an ongoing concern for 6 months.
The Minister must step in now and ask Council why it will not answer to its rate payers and be transparent, accountable and responsible. What is going on?Enough!!!! Just do it!!”

“The real question that needs to be asked ( and answered ), is whether one would trust the abilities of the Mayor and Council, when dealing with such large sums of ratepayers money. Any question of the CoF acquiring debt to fund this project has to be subject to further independent scrutiny.”

“This whole deal will just be one surprise after another.
Its clear this is a council we have to watch every step of the way
they seem to be only interested in their own agenda, looks like the rate payer will just get screwed
how did we end with such a crap council
thank god we have people in our city who r watching what these guys are up too
is this the worse council ever”

 

There’s plenty more questions being raised out there, a simple rubber stamp from the Minister for LG that the COF has a business plan will not wash, it seems people want real answers, not glossy magazines, pretty picture, hollow promises, not more spin or misdirection.

Just answer the questions. They are not going away and will continue until the ratepayer and residents of Fremantle have real answers.

 

*updated.

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