A LOCAL developer says he wasted $400,000 on designs for a new police station in Fremantle only to be shafted by a state government process which lacked transparency.
Gerard O’Brien, who’s company Silverleaf Investments had been short-listed along with two other companies to build the new station, confirmed to the Herald that he’d been informed by the state finance department that the McGowan government was going to build its own station and had rejected all tenders.
“We spent an excess of $400K on architects, planning etc,” Mr O’Brien said in an email to the Herald.
“Council officers have also wasted considerable time on a project that the government could have provided direction on much sooner.”
“The process should be more transparent and respectful for all parties and it leaves us as being very disappointed,” Mr O’Brien said.
He said the process had dragged on for 18 months.
Mr O’Brien wouldn’t comment on whether the state government’s decision would affect the timeline for redeveloping the shopping centre.
Fremantle councillor Adin Lang said Mr O’Brien’s proposed police station, along with the redevelopment of the Woolstores shopping centre, would have revitalised the east end of Fremantle and residents needed to know what was happening.
“Residents need to know that the revitalisation of Fremantle is being stifled by the state government,” he said.
Cr Lang also said if the state built the new station, they would have to pay up-front.
“The money saved by the state building it themselves, can be redirected to fix, say, the Roundhouse or the train station forecourt,” he said.
Police minister Michelle Roberts didn’t have any apologies for the tenderers, nor would she comment on the possibility of compensation.
But Ms Roberts said police had been working diligently with Fremantle council to identify a number of potential sites for the station.
“We’ve now identified a suitable site where we will build a state of the art complex for our officers, details of which will be announced in due course,” she said.
Ms Roberts said the McGowan government had been cleaning up a mess inherited from previous police minister, now Opposition leader Liza Harvey.
“..who put the police in a totally unsuitable former bank building with no plan or money put aside for a new station,” Ms Roberts said.
by DEANNA CORRIERI