Mosman Park - proposed depot location

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Move to McCabe Street, Mosman Park approved

At a Special Council Meeting held 5th February 2019, Council approved by an absolute majority to approve the Major Land Transaction and authorised the CEO and Mayor to execute the Agreement to Lease, subject to first obtaining legal advice from the Town of Cottesloe’s solicitors that the Agreement to Lease was consistent with  the intent of the Major Land Transaction Business Plan.

Making a decision to move the depot to Mosman Park

The Business Plan is available on the Town of Cottesloe website.

The Town of Cottesloe Administration has proposed moving  the depot from Stack Street, Fremantle to a new purpose built facility in McCabe Street, Mosman Park. Alternative views have been voiced to instead move the depot to the Seaview Golf Course in order to support the golf club financially. There are financial and stakeholder considerations. The solution must be  long term and for the good of the whole of Cottesloe.

We asked  a Town of Cottesloe Councillor for an overview of the situation, to help us understand the many considerations involved, not the least being that the Seaview Golf Club land  is an ‘A-Class Reserve’ which would require the very unlikely event of a Member’s Bill passing through both Houses of Parliament. Even if a Member could be persuaded to take up the case, this could be a very long process (2-4 years) and we will once again see delays in Cottesloe ‘s administration moving forward with solutions to challenges

Please see below a summary of Cr. Young’s overview:

The truth about the Mosman Park Depot proposal: Submissions urgently required

Cottesloe Council has put out for public consultation the Business Plan to relocate the Town’s Depot to a site in McCabe St, Mosman Park. Public submissions can be made up til close of business on 10thDecember.

The Town’s Depot is currently located at a site in Stack St, Fremantle.  Until recently there was also a mini depot behind the Sea View Golf Club (SVGC) Clubhouse.  The Cottesloe Residents & Ratepayers Association and some individuals in the community are calling for the rejection of the Plan. I understand that the reason for rejection is that they support relocation of the Town’s full Depot to the SVGC site. They argue that this will save money for the Town, will save in transport time, will support SVGC (through payment of rent for use of the land as a Depot) and will protect the site from development.  They are also highly aggrieved that the Town’s plan involves payment of rent to the Town of Mosman Park.

I and the majority of Council (Crs Young, Harkins, Rodda, Thomas, Sadler and Mayor Angers) have consistently rejected motions aimed at locating the Depot on the SVGC site.  The reasons are summarized below.  I have seen information circulated by Cottesloe R&R and by some individuals (Golf Club Members) and found it very one-sided and ignoring a lot of relevant issues.

An act of Parliament is needed for a SVGC Depot

Very significantly, it is doubtful that the State Government would allow the SVGC site to be used as a major depot.  The site is an A-Class reserve, vested in the Town for recreational purposes.  An Act of Parliament would be required to approve the use of part of the reserve as a full Depot. Getting legislation through both Houses of Parliament is likely to take 2-4 years. The Town’s Administration advise that it is unlikelythat the Members’ Bill would pass both houses. It is very likely that any attempt to pass legislation to permit the use an A-Class reserve for a Depot would generate adverse media attention and reflect badly on the Town.

The best deal for the Town?

Although the lease term for the McCabe site is limited to 21 years (due to statutory restrictions) it is expected that this site will become the permanent, long-term site for the Depot. It’s a very long term solution.

The Town currently pays approximately $177k per year for Stack St Depot.   The proposed rent on the McCabe St depot is approximately $89k per year.  The McCabe St Depot plan represents a very significant saving to the Town. This will be an immediate, definite, long-term saving.

If it chose to go down the legislative process route to get approval to use the SVGC site as a Depot (assuming a Member is willing to bring a private members’ bill to the lower house) the Town would have to pay rent for the Stack St site pending the outcome of the legislative process.  It would also have to make arrangements for the mini Depot, presumably by paying the Golf Club (in rental or “in kind”) for the use of part of the site.   Assuming that the legislative process is unsuccessful, by the time it has been exhausted, the Town will have missed out on very significant immediate savings on the McCabe St site AND will have made no progress in securing a long-term Depot.  It would then be in a much weaker bargaining position in renegotiating with the Town of Mosman Park for a lease of the McCabe St site – assuming that option remains available at that time.

Capital costs

Capital costs in establishing the Depot at McCabe street are estimated at $500k and will be amortised over the 21-year lease. However, it is intended that the assets will continue to be used for the Town’s benefit for many years into the future.  If the SVGC site could be used as a Depot, similar capital costs would be expected for the establishment of a full Depot there.

Rental paid to Town of Mosman Park

Proponents for the SVGC depot have concerns that the McCabe St Depot plan will provide an income stream for the Town of Mosman Park. However, the Town currently pays $177k pa to a private landlord for the use of the Stack St site and that would be continued while parliament considers the private members’ bill. The identity of the landlord would seem to be irrelevant in determining what is the best deal for Cottesloe.  The fact that another Local Government will benefit from the McCabe St Depot is irrelevant, provided that the arrangement is the best deal for the Town of Cottesloe.

Competing uses for the site

 The Golf Club sits in a recreation precinct which is barely adequate in size and design to cater for the existing stakeholders – golfers, footballers, rugby players, kindergarten children, dog-walkers and casual users.  The Town is currently working with these stakeholders to reorganize and upgrade facilities, which are long overdue for upgrade. There is enormous competition for space between the existing users.  The redesign of the precinct for sport and recreation users would be hamstrung by the location of the Depot site within the precinct.

Long term plans –v- short term assistance

The Golf Club pays no rent for the lease of the Golf Club site.  It is suggested that the Town should pay the Golf Club (in rent or “in kind”) for the use of part of the site as a Depot, to assist the Golf Club financially. That arrangement could not be implemented without an Act of Parliament – up to four years away and unlikely to eventuate.  The Golf Club’s lease expires in 8 years.  Any financial assistance to the Golf Club would therefore only be very short term- possibly only four years. The question arises as to whether it is appropriate for the Town’s long-term plans for the sports and recreational precinct to be tailored around giving short-term assistance to one of the sports Club stakeholders.

Protecting the site from development?

The argument that locating the Town’s depot on the Golf Club site will protect the site from development is based on speculation about the State Government’s intentions. There is absolutely no evidence that the State Government intends to take the land from the Town for residential development. Cottesloe Residents and Ratepayers have circulated to its members a rumour that the land is under threat but have not provided details of the source of the rumour.  It may be based on inaccurate reporting by the local press regarding the foreshore masterplan.  It is extremely doubtful that the State Government can or would attempt to take the land from the Town.  However, there is a strong and logical argument that dumping a Depot on the site would send a signal to the State government that alternative uses of the land are acceptable to the community.  This may increase, rather than decrease, any risk of the site being developed.

The best use of the land

 The SVGC site is a pristine A class reserve.  Locating a full Depot on the site would degrade the site considerably.  Local residents are aware of the degradation that resulted from a mini-depot located on the site , as well as increased traffic, noise and smell. One of the major user groups for the site is children attending Seaview Kindergarten, playing Auskick, football and rugby and using the precinct just to play.  The location of a full Depot on the site would increase the number of trucks entering and exiting the site and therefore increase risk to these young users.