Councillors furious about convention centre deal John So failed to deliver a positive outcome for Melbourne Ratepayers

John So the man that survives because he can not say NO. continues to undermine the interest of Melbourne City Council.

The City of Melbourne is being taken for a ride and asked to pickup the tab for extra add ons costing Millions of dollars with no real say or control over the development of any potential profits. The Council is out of control and at the beck and whim of the corporate and state government bandits who continue to raid the City treasury. John So can not say NO.

Melbourne City Councils reserves are on the decline as is its working capital ratio. Money that was generated by the forced sale of public assets has been misspent and would have delivered a more positive outcome it it was left in a secured investment account and not handed over to John So and his council of corrupt bandits.

We have seen it before and he continues to make the same mistakes.

Most of the rot started 10 years ago with Jeff Kennett and this seriously flawed strategic development of the City. The relocation of the State Museum from the City Centre, The location of Crown Casino and the ill-conceived development of Federation square are all examples of a flawed major projects policy. Sadly the Labor State Government has continued with the policies of the former Liberal Government, even going to the extent of appointing Jeffs preferred Architect.

I need to state clearly I am not a fan of Denton, Corker and Marshal’s designs. (Apart from one single hotel in Little Collins Street) – most of DCMs work is outdated, environmentally unsound and poorly planed. in some cased even demolished not long after being constructed. Designs such as Melbourne’s Carlton Museum, The Exhibition “Jeffs’ Shed” and lets not forget the former Collins Street City Square design – It never really worked and has now been demolished. Given Denton’s track record and Labors previous criticism of his work I am at a lost to see why they ever appointed him State Architect,. As it Victoria needs its own version of Albert Spears. — One advantage is that Denton or DCM no longer be directly appointed to design state projects but their stamp of ideology will continue to permeate Melbourne.

As to the proposed convention centre. Melbourne should not become involved in the proposed funding arrangement. There are other priorities and worthwhile projects that require their attention not the least the need to hold the administration to account for its internal administration costs.

Councillors furious about convention centre deal

A funding deal for Melbourne’s new convention centre comes into force today but some city councillors claim they are ploughing millions of ratepayer dollars into a “diseased beast”.

The 5000-seat centre will be accompanied by a Hilton hotel, shops, an office and apartment tower and car park.

A public-private partnership will fund the centre, including $370 million from the State Government, $43 million from Melbourne City Council for streetscaping and a footbridge across the Yarra and $500 million from successful bidders, the Multiplex Plenary Consortium.

Councillors Fraser Brindley, Peter Clarke and Fiona Snedden are furious at today’s deadline and say they are being rushed into handing over the money after a council report criticised the poor pedestrian access and public transport integration. Cr Brindley had urged the council not to back a “diseased beast”.

The trio wanted the design changed before approving a planning amendment for the site. But council officers said any delays would cause problems for the Government’s deadline.

Cr Clarke said: “If this was a private sector project, we would be sending the developer away and telling them to start again.

“We were given the report with hardly any time to consider it, despite the fact it is one of the biggest projects in the state’s history.”

He had previously questioned the council paying $20 million for the footbridge and appealed to other councillors to withhold cash until the Government proved the bridge was needed.

The amendment was approved at last week’s council meeting, clearing the way for the project to start. Cr Snedden told them they were making a mistake. “We should not be railroaded by the State Government until it is right for us,” she said.

Multiplex Plenary spokesman Kevin Lavelle said it was too early to comment on the project.

A spokeswoman for Major Projects Minister John Lenders recently said the Government would not comment on “internal council disputes”.

The centre must be finished by the end of 2008.