'Biggest disaster of our time': Mayor slams carpark change
MAYOR Mark Jamieson has blasted a decision to ditch the council's approach to redeveloping the Brisbane Road carpark.
Sunshine Coast councillors yesterday voted 6-5 in favour of rescinding a motion made only a month ago to seek expressions of interest from developers in light of the failed Abacus Group deal.
Councillors Greg Rogerson, John Connolly, Jason O'Pray, Jenny McKay, Peter Cox and Ted Hungerford voted for the change while Steve Robinson, Christian Dickson, Tim Dwyer, Rick Baberowski and Cr Jamieson voted against.
Cr Connolly then convinced six of his colleagues to back his motion to split the carpark block to build a 700-space multi-deck carpark on one section with a view to a future hotel or residential apartments on the other.
"I think this could lead to being one of the biggest disasters of our time," Cr Jamieson said.
He said after all the work that had gone into exploring development of the site, he could not believe an option that would expose ratepayers to a $35m cost was being supported.
"Nobody else is going to be subsidising this (development)," Cr Jamieson said.
He also believed the carpark and its potential easements would devalue the second block when it came time to sell it.
"I can't in all consciousness support what has been proposed."
Cr Connolly said he had information from industry sources the cost of building the carpark would be closer to $22m.
He said he believed his option would cost ratepayers a little over half as much as what the Abacus Group proposal and would be a better result.
"I think it (the decision) will give us some clarity going forward and give clarity to the businesses who have got leases coming up," Cr Connolly said.
He said the new option would close the carpark during construction for a much shorter period.
"We've taken the first step to giving Mooloolaba 700 carparks, it has been a long time coming."
Should the Brisbane Rd carpark be approached differently?
He said he had spoken with seven or eight builders as well as architects and engineers on the Coast in forming his proposal.
"It's been a hell of learning curve for me over the last two years, but particularly the last 12 months when it appeared that Abacus may not go ahead.
"It's been hours and hours of preparation."
He said he hoped to start construction in the middle of next year but that was not set in stone.
"We will get this built.
"It will give us 12 months to understand what we want to go on the other side of the block."