Centro investors may walk away
INVESTORS behind the proposed second stage of Hervey Bay’s Centro complex are set to walk away from the $100 million expansion project after more than five years of frustration trying to get approvals.
While initial development applications for improvements were lodged in 2004, Leda Group, the investors and owners of Centro, claim the council has continued to put obstacle after obstacle in front of them.
In the latest block to the proposal it’s believed the council has asked Leda to pay a $1.1 million public art levy, build a $1 million mobility corridor and contribute $1 million to roads.
The council is also asking Leda to give up its land and build a road on its site. In essence it means that the new approval conditions will cost Leda an extra $3 million on top of what it is already paying the council.
The situation has got to the point where Leda has asked Mayor Mick Kruger for a crisis meeting to try to find a way through the tangled web of red tape the council has placed and continues to place on the project.
It’s believed the Leda Group is particularly concerned about the input the council’s town planner, David King, has had in the project.
Sources close to Leda say Mr King’s involvement has been one of the major hurdles to getting the project up and running.
Most importantly the sources say that had the council’s promises of early approval been forthcoming the second stage of Centro would have already been built and in operation.
They now claim the Leda group has lost total confidence in the Fraser Coast Regional Council and they believe the council does not appreciate the benefits that the $100 million project will bring to the district.
These benefits, they claim, will include supplying 1000 construction jobs as well as 900 permanent and 714 multiplier effect jobs to the region.
The Chronicle’s sources say that Leda is ready to put the project on hold after labelling it as economically unviable because of the conditions currently imposed on it by the council.
The sources say that Leda is prepared to pay reasonable levies but the latest ask by the council is in “fairyland”.