Port Macquarie-Hastings Council - Council - Glasshouse Controversy

Glasshouse Controversy

On 27 February 2008 the Minister for Local Government, Paul Lynch, dismissed the Council and appointed an administrator, Dick Persson. The dismissal of Council was made after alleged mishandling of a project initiated in 2001 to build a cultural and entertainment centre, known to locals as the Glasshouse. The project, initially a joint venture with the management of the neighbouring shopping centre, Port Central, was initially expected to cost the Council A$7.3 million, but by late 2007, despite the centre not yet having opened, the costs had blown out to over A$41.7 million, with interest repayments likely to extend the Council's liability to A$66 million. On 27 July 2007, a full public inquiry was announced by the Minister for Local Government, which reported back in February 2008. It found that the Council had failed to provide appropriate financial and project management and had lost control of the costs, that the project costs had harmed the Council's ability to provide services and amenities to the community, and that the Council's "communications management strategies" had resulted in inadequate consultation with the public or appropriate regard to their concerns. The outgoing Mayor, Rob Drew, was critical of the process throughout, maintaining that errors had been made and misinformation had been accepted as fact; however, the New South Wales Urban Task Force, a property development lobby group, believed the dismissal served as a warning to other councils to stick to "core responsibilities". In 2009 it was revealed that the Glasshouse would cost ratepayers around A$6 million dollars a year to run.

Read more about this topic:  Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Council

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