Land offer knocked back

Councillors last Monday went against a council officer’s recommendation to accept the offer and voted to wait until its first meeting in September to make a decision, a date it had set earlier this year.

Latrobe City Mayor Sandy Kam said it “wasn’t prudent” to make a decision on the sale of the land until council got a more recent valuation of the property.

“It is a community asset,” Cr Kam said.

“We must make sure we handle it correctly and get the best return for our community.”

Mr Di Fabrizio had previously offered $925,000 for the site, but was rejected, as the amount was lower than a valuation at the time of $1.1 million.

Council purchased a building along Mapleson Drive in early 2010 to relocate the childcare service and needs the sale of the Franklin Street site to pay for a remaining $1.2 million deficit.

When contacted by The Journal, Mr Di Fabrizio could not be drawn on his plans for the property, but did not express concerns over the delay. 

“I think Latrobe City are doing correct due diligence on the property, because ultimately it is a community asset,” Mr Di Fabrizio said.

Traralgon-based councillor Kellie O’Callaghan told last Monday’s meeting she had “ongoing concerns” about the sale of the site and focused on the conditions attached to Mr Di Fabrizio’s offer.

“This offer is conditional upon the issuing of a planning permit within 120 days,” Cr O’Callaghan said. 

“I believe, it is deliberately designed to favour the purchaser to ensure they can develop this land in a fashion they would like within timeframe they dictate without allowing time for due consideration.”

Cr O’Callaghan said this could impact on the time taken to consider any community concern and to rush the process would not be in the community’s best interest.

“If as a result of this deferral, the developer reconsiders their position, that is their right to do so.

“That does not in any way diminish the importance of robust governance processes and community consultation,” Cr O’Callaghan said.