Opponents of the sale of Bruce Bishop car park in Surfers Paradise have released new documents they claim prove the site has been sold off too cheaply and that parking rates will have to soar.
Council voted last month to sell the car park for $48 million to Melbourne-based Carepark and Far East Consortium with the proceeds to go towards funding the Gold Coast cultural precinct.
Save Surfers Paradise (SSP) last week lost Supreme Court action to stop the sale but vowed to continue the fight.
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The group has now released figures which it says shows the car park has been grossly undervalued.
Using figures from City of Gold Coast Council’s 2015 Parking Plan, SSP says the real value of Bruce Bishop car park not including the land or the Transit Centre is $91 million.
Taking into account the cost of the land and Council’s Developer Contribution fees, that price skyrockets to $137 million.
Save Surfers Paradise Secretary Deborah Kelly says it’s ‘incontrovertible evidence’ that show the sale is the deal of the century for the proposed buyer.
“Rather than this deal being a win-win for ratepayers as the CEO claims, it looks like the buyers Care Parking and Far East Consortium are getting a huge free kick,” Ms Kelly said.
SSP now plans to lodge a fresh complaint with the Crime and Corruption Commission asking it to investigate whether this is a case of financial mismanagement.
Ms Kelly also claims the details also prove Councillors weren’t fully informed before a vote was held.
“This information was not included in the CEO’s report to Council recommending the sale, and it should have been,” Ms Kelly said
“Councillors should have been given the full picture before voting to sell one of the City’s most valuable assets, why weren’t they?”
There are also fears the new owners will have to drastically increase the cost of parking at Bruce Bishop in order to get a decent return on their investment.
Council’s valuation obtained by SSP shows that after land tax and rates the new owners will make a loss of $342,000 a year.
SSP says parking rates would have to rise significantly if the new owners were to make a decent commercial return on their investment.
“That’s not a win-win, it’s a lose-lose, a double whammy that whacks the ratepayers.”
“The Council will sell a valuable ratepayer owned asset at one third of its replacement value, and the public will pay double for parking.”
The Mayor has responded to these comments saying it is a fair price.
“We have had two valuations and released the authorised documentation. Both show the site, with the constraints we placed on it, to be worth between $47 million and $49 million,” Cr Tom Tate said.
“It is dishonest for anyone to try to peddle a valuation based on a site with no restrictions. I challenge them to show a formal valuation, by a registered valuer, as we have done.”