While it seems the proposed RSL/council land swap in Leongatha is all good for Leongatha and South Gippsland, Wilma Western is quite correct to ask questions in ‘RSL deal too smooth’ in last week’s Sentinel.
As Wilma says, no “councillor mentioned their duty to ensure that any eventual agreement should be advantageous for the shire as well as the RSL” and many questions arise regards empowering the CEO to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the RSL.
For example-
• Will valuations be made available on the value of the properties to be “swapped” and payments for valuation differences occur?
• Will a “private treaty” arrangement mean the usual statutory process to sell council land be bypassed and any permits required be waved through?
• Will the hardnosed RSL headquarters ensure an advantageous deal for the RSL over a council (too) keen to do a deal?
• Will council make available the costs of moving, building refurbishment, legal, stamp duty etc to the community?
• Will the administration be using the opportunity to increase employee numbers and further empire build?
I think we would like to the see the deal proceed provided it can be demonstrated the deal is in the best interests of the community.
Steve Finlay, South Gippsland Action Group.