Pindan's work on the Civic Centre
Dear Ratepayers and Residents
We now know that Pindan stopped work on the Civic Centre on the 18 May 21 and subsequently went into liquidation. A special council meeting was convened on the 8 June 21 to ratify a CoF Plan to take control of the building and to complete it.
It was a unanimous vote for the motion with some minor changes.
I voted for the motion reservedly because it was better for this project to keep moving to completion rather than not move at all. However, my vote is not an endorsement of the financial capability of the CoF to complete the project. It was better than months of costly litigation and finger pointing and the longer the project remained unfinished the worse things would get.
In my view, the Civic Centre will hold back the financial health of our Fremantle for years. My confidence in the financial reporting of the CoF is at an all time low for the following reasons:
The WIP (work in progress) monthly reports on the project are misleading, not reporting on the true cost in progress.
For 12 months the monthly financial reports did not provide any serious concerns with the city’s finances. And yet the Y20 Financial Report showed a loss of $8.5m with a 40% loss on the land portfolio. Still, we do not have full transparency on these losses.
The monthly payments to Pindan were accelerated from monthly to fortnightly in the months of March and April. My questions asking who authorised the change in payments have not been answered. These are red flags and yet payments were made.
I draw little comfort from the probity auditor and the legal information which was presented in a confidential document. In my view, the CoF has an obligation of full transparency and disclosure of information to the ratepayers and residents and to elected members. The confidential information, in my view, lacked the legal gravitas of “responsibility”. Only a legal extract, was presented and phrases like “it appears” supports my concerns of a lack of “responsibility” from the experts.
In Freo Streetwise post of the 5 June, Shane Braddock’s response to Deputy Mayor Andrew Sullivan and the questions he asks relating to the CoF taking over the project are spot on. There is a lack of disclosure and transparency which goes to the core of “trust” in our local governance.