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Stop Manly Council's Mega Debt

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This petition is for Manly residents and ratepayers who will potentially be left paying for the Council's folly in borrowing around $100 million for two proposed developments that are financially unsustainable, do not comply with Council’s own planning controls, and have been rejected by residents and the business community alike.
Manly 2015 Plan proposes:
• Excavating heritage-listed Manly Oval, building a car park underneath, with entrance and exit in Sydney Road and Raglan Street, then reinstating the Oval a metre or more above ground level.  Elements of this plan are yet to be costed. Stormwater works estimated at another $5 million.
• Demolishing the Whistler Street car park and 18- year old architectural award winning Manly Library and replacing them with a private development (above existing height levels) and new library; new high rise will invite bids for further high rise in Manly.
• Removal of 100 on street parking spaces – giving a net gain of car spaces in Manly of 318.
• The Mayor and General Manager have justified borrowing $92m of debt on the basis that the car park and pool centre and the sale proceeds from the sale of the Whistler St car park site would generate income to repay the debt. In its 10 Year Plan, Council forecasts starting revenue of $3.3m based on 600 cars per day paying $15 each. KPMG now forecasts revenue to be only $1.8m, a shortfall of $1.5m.  Financial studies have shown that the return on investment would be marginal at best. Some elements have not been included in costs.
Alternative options available to Council:
Add another two stories above the Library (already designed to accommodate this); greening or beautifying the Whistler Street car park; 
Move on from the 1965 fixation on the  car as transport to a peninsular location to 2015 by focusing on alternatives such as ferry, bus, minibus and bicycle transport;
Concentrate on projects that are supported by the community, rather than wasting time and money on projects we don’t want.  Council has already spent over $350,000 on these projects - money that would have been better spent to meet local needs.
Manly Swim Centre plan proposes:
• Demolishing the 25 metre pool and replacement with a water polo pool which is wanted by a limited group of water polo players, compared with general swimmers. This pool would be too deep to stand in, and therefore unsafe for children;
• An additional indoor 25 metre pool, sauna, gym and crèche, when there are numerous commercial gyms in Manly and neighbouring suburbs and several indoor pools, nearby.
• Reducing parking by half (to 42 spaces) while aiming to triple patronage to the Pool. This car park is often full and surrounding residents will bear the brunt of reduced parking.
Alternative option:
Continue to maintain the pool, upgrading some aspects with consultation with pool users and residents;
Keep open space, grass and shade structures;
Leave gyms to commercial operators.
Both projects have been developed under a veil of secrecy, and vital information withheld from both councillors and community. Community consultation has been tokenistic and the Council has ignored the multiple objections at strategic planning and development application stages of these projects, which together are likely to cost at least $100 million – that is over $6000 per household in Manly. 

Such an important decision must be put to the ratepayers and residents at a referendum at the next election (or before if possible), and both projects must be shelved until then.

We ask Manly residents to take action to stop these grandiose, unwanted and unaffordable plans.

For further information visit www. to see the Council's plans. for the Swim Centre DA and where you will find many relevant documents including financial analysis and alternative plans.

Today: Sue is counting on you

Sue Sacker OAM needs your help with “To: Premier Mike Baird, Treasurer Andrew Constance, Minister for Local Government Paul Toole: Stop Manly Council's Mega Debt”. Join Sue and 145 supporters today.