Monash Council’s Grab for Cash
On 29 Oct 2013, Monash councillors voted 5 to 4 to sell off the aged care facilities Monash Gardens and Elizabeth Gardens. A conservative estimated value of sale proceeds is expected between $10m to $20m, if not higher. However, according to Cr Davies, after transaction cost reductions, the net cash return can be half, ie between $5m to under $10m.
The four Councillors who voted against it because:
- there is no good financial reason to sell; the financial problems are structural and can be fixed; it is irresponsible to sell during a poor
- they have a legislative responsibility to listen and support a community who does not want the facilities to be sold,
- Money and numbers do not tell the story – there is no understanding about the people impacts
- Not enough solution alternatives have considered to support a well informed decision making.
The five who supported selling all agreed on the basis of:
- Financial non affordability but failed to quote an exact figure of how much is needed to upgrade/refurnish the facilities – all they can say is “tens of millions”
- There is no economy of scale because only 165 people are using the facilities
- There is a professional industry that can best offer aged care (despite people telling them our residential aged care facilities already enjoy over 20 years history of high standard of the quality of care).
On the 28 May 2013, Council voted to conduct a review of car parking arrangements in Glen Waverley. Cr Geoff Lake said that “it was an exciting time in Glen Waverley; it was changing rapidly and for the better. Council is finalising the Glen Waverley Activity Centre Master Plan, which would be released for public consultation in the second half of the year. A successful Activity Centre needs its car parking requirements to be managed well. This Activity Centre currently has close to a surplus of car parking, but that situation will not last long”.
On 24 September 2013, Council staff concluded that current arrangement is not currently at capacity and suggest a review in 12 month’s time.
5.1 CAR PARKING : GLEN WAVERLEY ACTIVITY CENTRE
From Council Agenda 24th September
A review of the parking arrangements in the Glen Waverley Activity Centre has been completed. This review included:
- Traffic surveys to understand the actual utilisation of parking in the centre.
- A survey of local traders and Council staff to understand the issues associated with relocating parking from the Bogong (multi-deck) parking area to the Euneva East (multi-deck) parking area.
The parking surveys demonstrate that there is parking availability in the centre and the current arrangements are adequate based on current usage patterns. Further, the results demonstrate that the Bogong parking area is not currently operating at capacity except in the evenings (after 5 pm).
Cr Geoff Lake expressed concern that the under capacity condition does not meet future needs and recommended to relocate the Bogong Avenue car-park to the Euneva car park not just based on his concern but support by the Glen Waverley Traders’ Association. Other Councillors disagree and/or view that there are other activity centres that require capital developments, not just Glen Waverley.
In the same meeting, he also said as the chair of the Glen Waverley Activity Centre Master-planning Steering Committee he supported the $18-$23m proposal and presumed that potential funding would be determined via the Council’s budget process. The development of an integrated library and community hub was a key integral part of the master-plan.
The big question is WHY is Cr Lake proposing to support relocating Bogong Avenue car-park when it is underutilized today ? It is a no brainer that the likely reason is the integrated library and community hub is to be built on the existing car park site.
Ratepayers Victoria also believes that the sale of council aged care facilities is related to the Bogong Ave multilevel deck car park redevelopment proposed by Cr Lake. The reason is that Council has no other cash reserves and is hesitant to hike up rate increases for such large scale new capital works, and the sale has been engineered behind the scene way before 25 June 2013 Council meeting. What Councillors did not expect was the high community backslash, which will still continue despite the 29 Oct per-orchestrated groupthink decision to sell.