The Bega Valley Shire Council is now the owner of the former Mobil site on the corner of Monaro and Market Streets, Merimbula.
Settlement occurred on December 28, between council and Mobil after the council had a received a report from URS Australia Pty Ltd that the 25-27 Market Street property had been remediated to residential standard.
Council’s bid to buy the former fuel site dates back to September 2009 when its $1.5 million (plus GST) offer to purchase was accepted by Mobil.
Settlement was originally intended to take place by November 2011.
But settlement was deferred twice while the remediation process continued.
The site, over the intervening years, has been the subject of sporadic bouts of activity.
It started with the demolition of the buildings, followed by the removal of the tanks and ground remediation works. This included the monitoring of soil for any potential leaching of contamination not only on the site itself, but adjacent property and the waterway.
Groundwater testing took place in the last week of November.
Council had been pushing Mobil for some time for access to the site to use it either for temporary parking or to have it grassed to make it more attractive for the peak holiday season.
Mobil acceded to the request but subsequently decided that it would prefer to settle without allowing additional works on site.
Council has flagged that the site could be used for commercial, retail, tourism or community uses after a one third of it is hived off for the proposed Merimbula CBD bypass.
Potential uses for the site was the subject of a public meeting on December 4 in Twyford Hall.
However there is unlikely to be any action on the bypass before 2014 when work on a detailed design will begin but the staged construction is not expected to be completed until 2017.
The bypass will occupy sections of Palmer and Park Street from Monaro/Market Street intersection, before exiting onto Reid Street onto the Merimbula Drive proposed roundabout.
The deposit of $150,000 has earned interest since it was paid in 2009. The deposit is invested until 5 January 2013. It will mature with a value of $194,330, with interest shared between council and Mobil. The term deposit will be withdrawn (due to settlement) prior to maturity.
Council proposes to borrow the full $1.5m through its banker on an interest only variable loan with a five year term with nil break costs until council has subdivided the site and determines a use for the remainder of the land.
The interest rate for the IO variable is 5.21 per cent.
At council’s December 12 meeting the staff recommendation was moved and carried. There was no debate on the matter.
It was resolved on the motion of Crs Britten and Tapscott:
1. That council note the report and proceed to settlement of 25-27 Market Street Merimbula, with the mayor and general manager authorised to execute documents and apply council’s seal.
2. That a loan of $1.5m over five years be raised for the purpose of acquisition of 25-27 Market Street Merimbula, serviced by Merimbula roads and parking development contributions.
3. That a licence to occupy be secured from Mobil and the site be turfed in preparation for the holiday season.
4. That the reports on this matter be declassified after settlement.
In favour: Crs Taylor, Britten, McBain, Hughes, Tapscott, Seckold, Mawhinney, Allen and Fitzpatrick