WANGARATTA Council split again after voting to contribute $3.8 million towards a multi-deck car park associated with the Co-Store redevelopment.
The council’s chief executive, Doug Sharp, added an extra item to a four-point recommendation supporting the council’s investment in the $25 million project before the special meeting on Friday night.
Councillors Julian Fidge, Paul O’Brien and Noel Amery opposed the motion but were rolled when mayor Rosi Parisotto supported Don Joyce, Tammy Atkins and Lisa McInerney.
Inflaming an already tense council elected last November, a division was called following the motion being carried 4-3.
Mr Sharp said the added item provided the council with increased certainty with its investment.
The licence agreement will be subject to Co-Store owners, Prudential Commercial Investments, providing satisfactory standards to the construction and operation of the car park within 30 days of the licence agreement being executed.
“It was a piece of late information that we felt provided more certainty,” Mr Sharp said.
“It was a pre-condition that we need to ensure the standards would be met.
“On looking at that we felt it was better to put that as part of the recommendation.”
He said the licence agreement being signed off would be a matter or urgency.
A memorandum of understanding was entered into by the council and Prudential in May last year.
As part of the agreement, Prudential will operate and maintain the car park for which council will pay an annual license fee of $456,000.
The council hopes to offset the cost by more than $220,000 from parking fees which will double per hour from 50 cents to $1.
The car park will have 364 spaces with the council holding a licence on 145 spaces.
The Co-Store redevelopment will have Target as an anchor tenant in a commercial area which will also include other retail outlets and a medical centre.