Dear Editor,

In her letter to the Editor of the Wombat Post dated December 3, 2021, Cr Hewitt states that “residents and ratepayers cannot be aware of all of the history of this project.”

Cannot is the operative word – there have been countless attempts to gain information about council reports and decision making with no success. The Investigation into the Rex building project is still not public. Whilst some matters may not be able to be made public due to the investigation, surely more information is available than has been provided.

Cr Hewitt’s letter raises many more questions than it answers: for example, did a suitably qualified person undertake due diligence prior to finalizing purchase? Further, Cr Hewitt reports that Council conducted a workshop to explore all options –did it include partnership with potential entrepreneurs?

Why were the reports not made public and community input sought?

Was consideration given to accommodating council staff elsewhere? (It does seem unusual to house council staff in prime commercial property when their work does not require this.)

Were options for offsetting costs explored?

Was the potential for grants considered ?

Will Council be required to spend money on structural problems and other items prior to sale and has this been factored into the loss that council will bear with no asset or services to show for it?

Why did the councillors reject the recently selected CEO’s recommendation to proceed with the project and appoint a builder?

Cr Hewitt uses the lack of community consultation in the initial decision by Council to purchase the Rex as an additional reason to sell. However why commit to further Council decision making in the absence of community consultation given the community feeling demonstrated by the current petition signed by 1100 following Council’s decision to sell the Rex?

Julien McDonald

Julien McDonald is the Convenor, of the  ‘Rethink the Rex’ group.