BTBAG hold no confidence in Council over BPACC

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee

Former City of Busselton councillor Gordon Bleechmore moved a motion of no confidence in the council’s handling of the Busselton Performing Arts Convention Centre at Tuesday night’s electors-style meeting of the Bay to Bay Action Group.

The meeting was attended by more than 160 “very concerned citizens” who overwhelmingly voted for the motion that stated residents had no confidence in Mayor Grant Henley, councillors, and chief executive Mike Archer’s handling of the BPACC proposal.

Mr Bleechmore cited the “incorrect business case”, lack of community consultation on the inflated cost, misleading risk assessment and name change of the project, as reasons for his motion. He said the motion was a final attempt to get the council to listen to the community’s financial concerns for the project.

“I make no apologies for moving the motion of no confidence,” he said. “We have arrived at this point of frustration by seeing little response or change of attitude from the councillors and we felt they just weren’t listening to concerned community members.”

Crs Henley, Carter, Cox, Cronin, Miles and Paine attended the meeting, as did chief executive Mike Archer and directors Naomi Searle and Tony Nottle.

Cr Henley said councillors had agreed to consider frustrations expressed at the meeting but were disappointed with the disrespect the BTBAG had shown towards councillors who had offered their time to listen to the community.

“We will be seeking all avenues of funding for this centre and all loans will be at a low fixed rate,” he said.

“We are the fastest growing and largest population of any regional city in WA and we are confident in our financial position.

“The disappointment I felt was that the motions put forward weren’t regarding the BPACC and were inhibiting of the council.”

Busselton resident and former accountant Brian O’Connor said he remained concerned about the City’s financial position.

“I was dismayed that the City representatives chose to adopt an adversarial approach to something that clearly concerns the community,” he said.

“Referring to restricted reserves as an indicator of financial health is misleading and hiding the audit report at the back of the annual financial statements, a 70-odd page document, gives the impression of a lack of transparency whether intended or not.”

However, City director of finance and corporate services Tony Nottle said the City had recently acquired a “significant” amount of money through land sales and by choosing to adopt a break even budget the City’s reserve accounts were in a strong financial position.

The City’s performing Arts and Convention Centre reserve account holds about $2.6 million of the project.

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