Basketball stadium bill still in play

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RATEPAYERS may still face a substantial bill in the wake of Frankston Council walking away from a $12.7 million redevelopment of the Frankston Basketball Stadium.

A 7-2 majority of councillors voted last month behind closed doors to withdraw $4.5 million of ratepayers’ money from the stadium revamp.

Frankston mayor Cr Colin Hampton also vowed council will work to have $5.2 million of federal government and $2.5 million of state government reallocated elsewhere in Frankston.

The Times understands the designs for an expanded stadium, payments to builder Devco for preliminary work including the installation of containers at the existing stadium building in Bardia Avenue in Seaford and consultancy fees will exceed $1 million.

The mayor said no compensation is payable to Devco Project & Construction Management despite council awarding the builder the tender early this year to build an upgraded stadium.

“Council appointed a preferred tenderer and advised them that they have been selected to undertake the works, however, a contract had not yet been signed,” Cr Hampton said in a statement last week.

“As there is no contract in place, no compensation is payable. We do thank the contractor for their patience throughout this process.”

Council and the Frankston & District Basketball Association had been engaged in testy negotiations over new lease terms for the upgraded stadium to be built on council-owned land before council walked away from the project.

FDBA president Gary Emery says the association signed a lease based on terms agreed with council at a mediation meeting brokered by former Dunkley Liberal MP Bruce Billson in late June.

Cr Hampton said last month the association “drove too hard a bargain”.

Dunkley Liberal MP Chris Crewther has confirmed the $5.2 million of federal funding is still on the table for any basketball stadium upgrade.

State Carrum Labor MP Sonya Kilkenny, whose electorate includes Seaford, said last week “it is disappointing that agreement couldn’t be reached” between the FDBA and Frankston Council.

“But I’ll be working hard to ensure that our community doesn’t lose this money because, after all, these projects are for our local community.”

Questions to council about council’s spending on basketball stadium plans to date went unanswered before publication deadline last week.

First published in the Frankston Times – 11 December 2017

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