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Second attempt to secure gallery car parking

Geoff Helisma |

Clarence Valley Council (CVC) will try once again to secure land to provided additional car parking for the soon to be expanded Grafton Regional Gallery.

In March this year, councillors were split 5 – 4 when they delegated authority to the general manager to bid at auction for 1 Robinson Street, which adjoins the gallery’s car park area at the Grafton Regional Gallery.

Councillors Novak, Baker, Toms and Clancy voted against that decision, however, CVC was unsuccessful at the auction.

At last week’s May 28 meeting, councillors discussed purchasing 3 Robinson Street in a confidential session, however, the nature and detail of the decision has not been revealed because “that information would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom council is conducting business”, the meeting’s minutes state.

Only Cr Novak voted against publishing the councillors’ decision – councillors Toms and Lysaught were absent.

The actual vote for the decision to purchase or not was not published in the meeting’s minutes.

Meanwhile in advice to councillors, staff recommended that CVC submit an expression of interest for the 625m2 block, which is currently subject to a tenancy for the next five months, and have earmarked up to $621,464.79 for the purchase of the land including legal fees, demolition of the premise and construction of the car park.

The property is currently zoned R1 Residential and, if purchased, staff have recommended to: “transfer the purchased property as a public reserve; classify the purchased property as ‘operational land’; prepare a project scope listing costs and timeframes for demolition of the building and construction of the car park; and, continue with a residential tenancy agreement for the property until such time as the project scope has been considered and is ready to implement”.

Staff also advised that “if the property is acquired a further project plan with final costs will be reported back to council” and that there will “will be ongoing maintenance costs associated with the management of the car park once it has been constructed”.

“As the car park will benefit the Grafton Regional Gallery it is proposed to use part of the funds from community facilities Section 94 funds,” the report to council stated.