Residents of Strathmore have been told Moonee Valley Council has knocked back a recent offer by VicRoads to sell Council the ‘Strathaird Reserve’ land.
Residents were told VicRoads was informed in August this year that Council would not purchase the land.
When residents raised the issue with councillors this week, it was suggested the matter was confidential.
The land in Strathaird Street, Strathmore, known as Strathaird Reserve, had been used by Council for over 40 years as public open space and incorporated a children’s’ playground – which was removed in mid-2017. In 2014, VicRoads declared the land surplus.
In May 2017, Moonee Valley councillors voted against the purchase of part or all of the property. The vote was carried unanimously ‘en bloc’ with other items, with no debate.
Residents living near the park were upset and concerned that Council had not consulted with the local community about the sale of the land.
Council said at the time “undertaking local community consultation would not change the outcome should Council determine not to purchase the land”.
On 25 July 2017, Cr Sharpe brought a motion to Council asking for the matter to be reconsidered. Councillors Lawrence, Gauci Maurici and Nation supported the motion, but the matter was lost on the casting vote of the Mayor with the votes of Councillors Cusack, Byrne, Sipek and Surace.
An alternative resolution that Council continue to advocate to the State Government for the land to be gifted or transferred to Council at no cost to the community was carried unanimously.
Residents have queried whether another decision of Council to reject VicRoads’ latest offer has been made confidentially.
The matter was brought to open council for decision in May and July 2017.
Councillors have regular confidential briefings with Council officers. Decisions of Council must be made at Ordinary, or Special, Council meetings with public notice given.
The CEO of MVCC has provided the following clarifications:
- On 8 August 2018, officers met with VicRoads representatives to discuss VicRoads surplus land in the municipality.
- In a letter dated 10 August 2018, VicRoads offered Council to purchase Lots 22 and 23 in Strathaird Street for $600,000 (plus GST).
- Council officers considered the offer at the Executive Team Meeting on 13 August 2018 and agreed that Council’s previous position should remain, i.e. not to purchase land at Strathaird Street, based on the following:
- At the Council Meeting on 23 May 2017, Council considered these two lots in the Council Report, then valued at $570,000 by the Valuer-General Victoria (VGV), and opted to not purchase any of the subject land.
- VicRoads’ recent revised offer for these two lots is actually more expensive than the VGV valuation in 2017.
- Given there’s no superior offer from VicRoads, the resolution on 23 May 2017 remains Council’s position.
- Consequently VicRoads were advised on 30 August 2018 confirming Council’s previous position to not purchase land at Strathaird Street.
The CEO further clarified that:
- The confidential item on the Ordinary Council Meeting Agenda on 28 August was related to another potential property acquisition and not the Strathaird Street properties,
so mention of this meeting has been removed from the Blog.