Green: stop building an empire

BALLINA Shire Council should focus on providing cycleways, pools and surf clubs instead of building a "property empire", says Greens MP John Kaye.

Mr Kaye met with Greens councillor Jeff Johnson in Ballina yesterday to discuss concerns about the council's property investments.

"We have a situation where there is no money to fund road resealing or the upgrade to our public pools, yet millions of dollars were used to build a factory for (steel company) ARC," Cr Johnson said.

"This property should be sold and the money used for urgent infrastructure upgrades."

Mr Kaye agreed, saying council was more focused on building a "property empire" than looking after ratepayers.

"The council seems to have learnt nothing from the GFC and is prepared to get into speculative investments, which it is not good at," he said.

But the council's general manager, Paul Hickey, said the council used dividends from its investments to fund vital community infrastructure.

"The community infrastructure delivered from council's property reserves is valued in the tens of millions of dollars and could well be approaching the hundred million dollar mark," he said.

"I am concerned with any proposal to sell all this off, and provide a one-off cash injection," Mr Hickey said.



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