City calls for plantation manager bids

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

The City of Albany council narrowly approved a recommendation at Tuesday’s council meeting to call for quotations to manage a City-owned blue gum plantation

Australian Bluegum Plantation recently approached the City to gauge interest in leasing land at Lot 20 Lake Warburton Road, Palmdale, which is used to extract gravel and sand.

The 705ha property includes a 475ha blue gum plantation with the ABP leasing agreement requesting a 10-year lease of the plantation worth more than $400,000.

However, a cost benefit analysis was conducted by consultants Ents Forestry which indicated other options should be considered.

“The cost-benefit analysis provided by Ents Forestry indicates significantly higher returns can be attained with the City retaining ownership of the trees and either managing the trees itself or engaging a professional third-party forest manager,” the officer report stated

“Over a 10-year period this is estimated to be in excess of $738,000.”

The motion passed seven votes to five with Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks along with Mayor Dennis Wellington and councillors Tracy Sleeman, Ray Hammond and Rebecca Stephens all voting against.

Cr Stocks said the City should err on the side of the caution with the proposal.

“On the face it is a fantastic proposal but I urge some caution around this,” he said.

Councillor Sandie Smith spoke in favour of the motion.

“I think this is a good exploration for what we can do with that land,” she said

The motion also included items relating to weed control on the property.

“That council notes the City to undertake as a matter of priority Sydney golden wattle and Patterson’s curse control on the lot,” the recommendation stated

“(And) notes that any budget variations required as a result of the above will be brought to council for further consideration.”

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