Community News

Auction of Victoria Street and Bruce Street properties

Following last week’s council meeting, the Independent sought clarification on several matters regarding the auction of properties at Victoria Street and Bruce Street, to be held in Sydney on August 2 – a report to council on this matter was heard in a confidential session. CVI: Given that the premise upon which these properties are being sold – that is, to rationalise where staff are housed, and reliant on the depot at South Grafton being built – why are the leases for Victoria and Bruce Street guaranteed leases set at three and five years, which would, if all goes to plan, appear to be well outside the time it would take to relocate staff? Corporate director Ashley Lindsay: At the time the lease agreements were prepared, council had not committed to the construction of the new depot at South Grafton. The three-year lease period for the Bruce Street depot will enable an orderly exit from the site. After the technical staff have been re-located from the Victoria Street office to the new South Grafton depot, the five-year lease period for Victoria Street will enable space for staff to be re-located from Prince Street office temporarily during refurbishment/upgrade of this office. CVI: Similarly, what is the purpose of the two lease renewal options, being a total of nine years for Victoria Street and 15 years for Bruce Street – why are the renewal options necessary now that the depot is to be constructed, presumably before the options come around? AL: The lease periods are based on real estate agent’s advice. CVI: How have these above variables been accounted for in the long term financial plan, when read in conjunction with the benefit and efficiency dividends that are to be gained from the new depot’s construction? AL: They have been included in Council’s LTFP adopted at 28 June 2016 meeting (refer Item 13.031/16). Each Scenario of the LTFP includes the following assumption: “Annual efficiency savings as per General Manager’s report to 15 March 2016 Ordinary Council meeting (item 22.001/16) increasing to $3.3m per annum by 2021/22 and remaining at $3.3m per annum thereafter.