Sunshine Coast Council today (5 July 2018) announced the Brisbane Road Car Park redevelopment tender process had concluded, with the withdrawal of Abacus Investments Pty Ltd.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said council’s priority had always been to ensure this project would deliver substantial benefits to ratepayers.
“For council, this project has always been about increasing the total number of public car parks delivered; limiting council’s financial contribution to the project; retaining ownership of the public car parks; and managing the timing around the project delivery to minimise disruption to Mooloolaba traders and visitors during peak periods,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“As we have said all along, increasing the number of publicly accessible car parks was a fundamental component of what we were seeking from Abacus.
“Council was not prepared to give way on any of these conditions as, without them, our ratepayers and the residents and business owners of Mooloolaba would have been disadvantaged.
“Ultimately, Abacus reached a commercial decision not to proceed further.
“From our perspective, council was not prepared to compromise the outcomes we were seeking, just to get a deal over the line.
“At the same time, council believes the Brisbane Road car park site offers a significant opportunity, given the added value to a tourism based project such as this that will be contributed from the expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport, the proposed international submarine cable and now the Federal Government’s interest in a fast rail solution to the Sunshine Coast.”
Mayor Jamieson acknowledged that this had been a long process.
“But getting the right outcome for our community was more important to council than just getting a start date on something that would not have delivered what was both expected and required for Mooloolaba,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The entire procurement process has been overseen by an independent Probity Advisor since day one, so there can be no question on the integrity of those negotiations.”
Mayor Jamieson also stated that while Abacus had withdrawn from the tender process, council remained focussed on securing more publicly-accessible car parking in Mooloolaba.
“Council has already delivered a further 257 publicly-accessible car parks in Mooloolaba in the last year,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“In addition, council is moving forward with a proposal to assume responsibility for the regulation of a number of privately owned car parks in the area, which will make further car parks publicly accessible in Mooloolaba.
“There are more public car parks available in Mooloolaba now than was the case just 12 months ago and this will continue to grow.”
Divisional Councillor John Connolly said council was now in a far better position than when the project’s Expression of Interest process started.
“Many opportunities have arisen as a result of the tender process which will assist council achieve the best long-term outcome for this site and our community,” Cr Connolly said.
“These opportunities include council owning a site that now has a development approval in place for a multi-use development, providing greater value to council and our ratepayers, but also more certainty for a potential future investor.
“Council also retains ownership of all materials relating to the development approval, including documents and plans.
“Council is aware there has been considerable market interest in the multiple uses now offered on the site, which can only bode well for the future.”
Cr Connolly said council had always recognised this important site was under-utilised in its current form.
“Our priority has always been to optimise what we could see delivered on this site in a way that achieved some of our important place making objectives for Mooloolaba,” Cr Connolly said.
“Council makes no apology for this.
“As a priority, we will now thoroughly explore all options, understanding that the Mooloolaba business community, in particular, needs certainty around the site’s future.
“They also need clarity around any construction and completion schedules and car parking solutions during and after any construction.
“When considering potential options, council will at all times focus on achieving the best long-term outcome for our ratepayers.”
Council confirmed that revisiting the previous expressions of interest and tenders for the site was not possible, given the length of time that had elapsed and other factors that may impact on the delivery of those proposals.