A former senior Wodonga Council staff member has slammed the organisation for proposing a "fire sale" of land at the Logic industrial hub which could trigger the collapse of other pending sales for higher prices.
Michael Gobel was formerly council's investment attraction director and played a key role in the creation of Logic almost two decades ago and striking major deals with companies including anchor tenant Woolworths, Border Express, TAFE, BP service station and SCT Logistics rail hub for up to $40 per square metre.
He addressed council last night on the proposed sale of land for $5 per square metre to Birdwood Energy and Derwent Industries to build a solar farm and battery storage site in a deal he describes as "commercial insanity" given the multiple unintended consequences it would create.
"If council agrees to this transaction it will create the single largest transfer of wealth from the ratepayers of Wodonga to a private purchaser in the history of this council," Mr Gobel said.
"I don't know how this proposed transaction has got as far as it has with the inherent risk, without disclosed remedies, with such a poor precedent for future sales and undermining the rates at Logic.
"Council would be extremely naive to think future land sales would be anything above $5 per square metre.
"This risks undermining the original business case of Logic."
The subject sites located east of Lady Franklin Drive are close to 90 hectares in size and represents about 47 per cent of the remaining industrial land at Logic which is not subject to existing option agreements or contract of sales.
The former council agreed to the proposed sale in a closed session in September with details of the deal revealed in a subsequent public notice in The Border Mail.
Mr Gobel, who was also a former acting council chief executive, said the public notice had not adequately explained to ratepayers the consequences of the proposed deal.
Also he disputed the subject land being classified "unserviced" given more than $30 million had been spent by ratepayers on connecting services to Logic.
"How does a price of $5 per square metre get negotiated in the context of previous sales at Logic knowing the potential consequences of transacting at that price?" he asked.
"Does a public notice buried on page 78in miniscule font constitute appropriate, inclusive, clear and responsive engagement?"
Mr Gobel said unintended consequences of selling land for $5 per square metre included existing landholders who have bought land at higher prices seeking a rates re-appraisal and future valuations and sales being anchored.
No councillor asked questions about any aspect of Mr Gobel's 25-minute plus presentation.
The proposed land sale will be the subject of report to council in late January.