THE City of Swan says it only entered into a sale and development agreement with De Mol Investments Pty Ltd after ensuring it had fully complied with the relevant sections of the Local Government Act 1995.
Following a week in which Save Midland Oval protestors camped on the oval and East Metropolitan MLC Tim Clifford asked questions about whether the city had breached the Act in relation to buying $32.5 million of land and only completing a business plan after buying the land, the city maintains it has followed correct procedure.
Then on Wednesday afternoon a post on the Midland Ward Community Facebook page said the city had paid $32.5 million for land for Midland Oval redevelopment without first producing a business case thus breaching the Local Government Act 1995.
City of Swan chief executive Mike Foley said the council adopted a draft business plan for the proposed sale and development agreement with De Mol Investments on August 12, 2015, then the city advertised the business plan later in the same month before the council adopted the final business plan on November 25, 2015.
But Local Government Minister David Templeman has confirmed the Department of Local Government is reviewing the process the City of Swan followed in buying land for its Midland Oval redevelopment project.
In reply to Mr Clifford’s questions about whether the city had breached the Local Government Act 1995 in relation to buying $32.5 million of land and only completed a business plan after buying the land Mr Templeman also said the Midland Oval redevelopment project was a matter for the City of Swan.
The Department of Local Government said it was reviewing the city’s process to ensure that there has been no breach of the Local Government Act 1995 and associated regulations.
Echo News asked the department whether it was investigating the conduct of City of Swan staff in relation to failing to prepare and advertise a business plan/s to buy property for the common purpose of the Midland Oval redevelopment but the department did not respond to the question.
The department also declined to answer questions about Altone ward councillor Andrew Kiely after reports he had removed himself from making any decisions on the oval until the city provided legal advice because he was concerned action taken by the city might have been unlawful and concerns he might be held accountable if any loss occurred.
City of Swan chief executive officer Mike Foley said subdivision approval to extend The Avenue was subject to clearance, which meant the road and infrastructure was required to finalise subdivision.
Mr Foley said De Mol Investments Pty Ltd applied for a development application for the construction of a vibrant, high quality mixed use retail and residential development named Catalyst.
“The metro east joint development and assessment panel (MEJDAP) considered and approved the development application on March 2,’’ he said.
“The subdivision for the road was approved by WA Planning Commission on March 26 – road infrastructure does not require development approval.’’
The agenda for the March 2 MEJDAP said the city had entered into a contract with De Mol Investments for the sale of Lot 4 but that the lot was still owned by the city.
Mr Foley said the sale of Lot 4 would happen in line with the sale and development contract between the city and the De Mol Group of Companies.
“As is usual for commercial agreements for the sale and development of land, this contract is confidential,’’ he said.
He said at the completion of the road works, The Avenue would become a through road, accessible to all traffic.
“However, a large section of the road will be created into a shared space between vehicles and pedestrians.
“A variety of treatments are proposed to slow traffic in this area to ensure pedestrians are able to safely pass through the precinct.’’
By Anita McInnes