Special rate variation

Northbridge carparkOn behalf of the Chatswood West Ward Progress Association the Committee has lodged a submission regarding Willoughby Council raising the rates to fund the  upgrade of the car park at the Northbridge Plaza.

It was unclear from the limited information provided by Council as to who exactly would be paying for this upgrade that primarily benefits the owners of the Northbridge Plaza and local residents.

Given that Chatswood West ward west of the Pacific Highway has virtually no shops (unlike most other suburbs) and certainly no Council funded parking near shops we wanted Council to understand that the Association would resist any attempt to have West Warders paying for such an upgrade at Northbridge.

In the process of a making a submission, we brought to Councils attention our concerns with the process they are using to determining this matter.

A copy of our submission follows:

BACKGROUND
Previously on 28 November 2016), Council considered making a submission to IPART for a special rate variation for the carpark. The adopted resolution (inter alia) was that:
  • Council determine who would benefit. This was to be undertaken by Arup Consultations
  • consult with key stakeholders
  • lodge an IPART submission
This resolution was not progress due of impending amalgamation.
We have a number of concerns with the motion relating to item 18.8
Our biggest concern is that there is no direction given for an independent study to ascertain who might benefit from this proposal. Our fear being that West Warders might be caught up in having to fund a carpark the primarily benefits the owners of the Plaza and local residents.
We are also concerned with process being adopted by Council staff (evidenced by the report).
  • There is no supporting report accompanying the agenda item. Given that there are a significant number of new Councilors, this seems extraordinary. Plus it denies the public the right to understand what is being proposed
  • The sequencing of events is in our view inappropriate. Council should determine first who will benefit, then engage the stakeholders before lodging the IPART submission.
  • Council’s next scheduled meeting is 12 February 2018. It is proposed in the motion that the IPART submission be submitted by hard copy by February 12 2018. This would mean that the submission would need to  be submitted without referral to Council first.
  • the public will be denied the venue (Council meeting) to express their opinion before the submission is lodge.
This matter has been going on for years. Rather then proceed in haste, Council should be progressing in an orderly and logical fashion.
An aside note
The main reasons that CWWPA has strong feeling on this matter are:
  •  a fear that WW residents might be called on to fund the proposal
  • the fact that West Ward (west of the Pacific Highway) only has a couple of small shops with no parking funded by Council
  • successive Councils over decades have seen fit not to support proposals to attempt to rectify this situation
PROPOSED AMENDMENT
That any submission to IPART for a Special Rate Variation for the Northbridge Plaza Carpark be deferred until such time that a detailed report showing who will benefit from the proposal has been tabled to Council along with the results from the engagement with stakeholders.
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