Brisbane Road carpark, Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast.
Brisbane Road carpark, Mooloolaba, Sunshine Coast. Patrick Woods

Brisbane Rd carpark deal details to stay hidden for now

SUNSHINE Coast Council won't open its books on its failed Brisbane Rd carpark deal until significant milestones have been reached in developing the site.

Cr Greg Rogerson moved at Thursday's meeting that all documentation and costings associated with the Abacus Group deal be released to the public.

The deal collapsed in late June after about three years of work.

Cr Rogerson said councillors knew what the council was planning to do but the public didn't.

"I think it is only right that we should make all the documentation and all the costings transparent," Cr Rogerson said.

Cr Tim Dwyer then moved an alternate motion that the information be released, but not straight away.

He moved that it be released once the procurement process for design and construction of the multi-deck carpark was done and a tender had been awarded.

The motion also required that a development approval be granted for the remaining section of the site before the information be released.

"Whilst I do agree this needs to be out in the community fully, I do think it is premature," Cr Dwyer said.

He said if released, the intellectual property that came with the Abacus deal would be used by developers in negotiations for the new carpark and adjoining development.

Council CEO Michael Whittaker said there was potential for the council to use the intellectual property in negotiations with developers if it remained confidential.

"There is certainly some value in the documentation we have and that value should certainly be protected until we actually finalise our procurement processes," Mr Whittaker said.

He said Abacus Group had spent "quite a lot of money" in regards to documentation for its development approval.

"Council paid Abacus at a substantially reduced rate to take ownership of that intellectual property."

Cr Rogerson said the new development had nothing to do with the information Abacus had obtained for its development.

"This is a completely different situation," Cr Rogerson said.

"This is just holding off the inevitable."

Cr John Connolly said he wasn't sure releasing the information would have any impact on what the council was doing at the Brisbane Road site but was happy to be proved wrong.

"If I could see any financial benefit in holding back, I would," Cr Connolly said.

Cr Steve Robinson said releasing the information now would be "insanity".

"I absolutely support the idea of getting the information out at the right time," Cr Robinson said.

"Why would we put the ratepayers at risk by putting all of that information out there and getting a dud deal or a less-than-optimal deal for ratepayers?"

He said he didn't subscribe to the "extreme minority view" that the council was not open or transparent.

All councillors, except Cr Rogerson and Cr Connolly, voted in favour of holding back the information until the project milestones had been reached.

Cr Peter Cox was absent for the meeting.



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