Email to Tony Ansett, ex-councillor, regarding Lara supermarket

Almost two years ago I emailed Tony Ansett about the Lara supermarket:

from Kayne Richens
to councillor@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

date 12 February 2008 09:48
subject Attention: Cr Tony Ansett

Dear sir

I am a resident of Lara and have been waiting for the last two years for development to start on a new shopping center. I am sure you will agree that the current supermarket at Lara is inadequate in terms of range, and more importantly pricing, especially with recent interest rate rises and the expectation of continued rate rises.

Would you please provide me with an update on what is currently being done to get the ball rolling in making the new shopping center happen in Lara? When will we see you turning the first sod? What is the expected date of opening? What is currently being done to make this all happen?

It would also be great if you could update the people of Lara with this information. Perhaps some information could be published in the council news section of the newspaper, or even the Lara Happenings. We all pay our rates, we would all like to know!

Regards
Kayne Richens

I first received a standard acknowledgement of receipt:

from councillor councillor
to Kayne Richens
cc Tony Ansett
cc Tim Hellsten

date 12 February 2008 11:24
subject Re: Attention: Cr Tony Ansett

Dear Mr Richens,

I write to acknowledge receipt of your Email below regarding development of a new shopping centre in Lara. I have forwarded your Email to Cr Ansett and to Council’s
Co-ordinator of Projects for Planning Strategy, Tim Hellsten for the attention of his office.

Kind Regards
Christina

Office of Mayor and Councillors
City of Greater Geelong
PO Box 104
Geelong Vic 3220
Ph: (03) 5227 0893 Fax (03) 5227 0275
E-mail: councillor@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

The then councillor, Tony Ansett replied by email and called me soon after:

from Tony Ansett
to councillor councillor
to Kayne Richens
to Kay Rundle
to john.eren@parliament.vic.gov.au
cc Tony Ansett
cc Tim Hellsten

date 13 February 2008 08:44
subject RE: Attention: Cr Tony Ansett

I am more than happy to discuss please call me on 0403 xxx xxx or after hours on 5282xxxx

Regards Cr Tony Ansett

On the phone, Tony expressed his frustration in the delays, and put the blame on the state government (hence the cc of his email to John Eren, MLA). I then emailed Mr Eren:

from Kayne Richens
to john.eren@parliament.vic.gov.au
cc Tony Ansett

date 13 February 2008 10:33
subject Fwd: Attention: Cr Tony Ansett

Dear sir

I would appreciate some of your time to discuss the questions that I have raised below with Councillor Ansett. I can be contacted on 0438 xxx xxx, or I am happy to phone you or meet you in person.

Regards
Kayne Richens

To this date, I still have not received a reply from Mr Eren. I did however receive an email from Terry Demeo, Manager Planning Strategy at the Geelong Council:

from Terry Demeo to Kayne Richens
cc Tony Ansett

date 22 February 2008 08:56
subject Extended Shopping Centre for Lara Town Centre

Dear Mr Richens,

I refer to your email of the 12th of February 2008, in relation to the above.

I can advise that the City is committed to the provision of an extended shopping centre for the Lara town centre and has been working actively in attempting to deliver this as soon as possible.

The City has developed an Urban Design Framework (a plan) for how the extended shopping centre can be accommodated on a portion of Austin Park, however in order to give this land freehold title such that it can be onsold to a commercial developer to build extended shopping facilities there is an extensive process.

The City has been liaising directly with the Department of Treasury and Finance (the State agency responsible for the sale of State assets) and the responsible Minister, Minister Tim Holding with a view to the State dealing directly with private enterprise via an expressions of interest process so as to expedite the provision of an extended shopping centre for Lara.

Unfortunately the Minister advised that the State was not prepared to entertain a direct sale from the State to a private entity. He further indicated however that the State was supportive of the intent of Council in developing the site in a manner which delivered the shopping centre as quickly as possible, and further delivered some of the public amenities which would otherwise have to be funded via public sources.

To that end we therefore had a meeting with the relevant director in the Department of Treasury and Finance, and we have received verbal support for the sale of a portion of Austin Park to the City and for the City to run an expressions of interest process with the private sector to attract an appropriate developer to actually deliver the preferred outcome for this site. We are now working through the detail with the State in the form of a contract of sale and expressions of interest document. The steps in this process will therefore be as follows;

* Formal contract of sale between the State and City to be signed off.
* Expressions of interest process to be conducted to determine an appropriate developer for the subject site who will deliver the outcomes anticipated by the Council.
* Formal contract negotiations with a preferred developer.
* Having completed a formal contract the developer will then be responsible for undertaking a range of steps required in order to establish the freehold title for the subject site, these include the final resolution of any native title issues, removal of the temporary reservation as a public park on the crown land, aboriginal conservation management plan, native vegetation assessment, closure of roads, and opening of new roads, resolution of relocation of bowling club to facilitate the proposed development site and the rezoning of the site.

You will appreciate that the above steps will take some time however the Councils position is that these steps will be hastened if a private sector developer is appointed to assist in the resolution of these issues and therefore hasten the States steps and other steps required to actually make the site ready for the construction of new supermarket and specialty shops and community facilities.

I trust you will appreciate that the City is working as promptly as possible with the relevant State agencies, however we are not the master of our own destiny in that the land is crown land and controlled by the State. Mr John Eren the local member is assisting the City in its endeavors to have this land made available as quickly as possible for commercial development.

I am loath to give a specific time frame for the resolution of all these issues, however would emphasise again that the Council has developed a process in negotiation with the State which we think will deliver the quickest possible creation of title to enable the commercial development to happen and further we think that the process that we are adopting will deliver the broadest public benefits as part of this town centre development.

I note your request that the City publish something in the local Lara Happenings and Councillor Ansett has written a letter to the Lara Happenings which we hope will be published so as all those interested in Lara are then fully aware of the circumstances with the town centre development.

If you did want any further explanation in relation to this matter please do not hesitate to contact me on direct line 03 5227 0905.

Yours faithfully

Terry Demeo
Manager Planning Strategy
Phone: 52270905
E-mail tdemeo@geelongcity.vic.gov.au

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