New South Sydney mayor Tony Pooley has denied reports council is planning to sell off a number of public buildings to get income before the City of Sydney takes over some of its territory

The denial came after Bligh MP Clover Moore issued a press release calling for Pooley to abandon a scheme to sell off assets before boundary changes took place.

Moore’s release came in response to a call for expressions of interest in a number of council buildings, including low cost housing, a number of gay and lesbian community groups’ offices and Kings Cross Police Station, issued by South Sydney Council in July and August this year.

But the call for interest did not translate to plans to sell off the whole lot, Cr Pooley told the Star.

My understanding was what we supported was an idea to get the estimate on value of our public buildings, the mayor said.

And I’m happy to go on the record and say no properties will be sold before the boundary changes go through.

But Moore said the assets were worth enough to warrant more than a simple promise.

I think it’s absolutely vital to retain these buildings -“ look at how important they are, she said.

Many of the properties are distinctive heritage items, particularly the substantially intact streetscape along the northern side of Oxford St, Darlinghurst, which escaped the high-rise development of the 1970s and has been recognised by the National Trust.

[And] I am particularly concerned that the proposal includes tenanted, low-cost housing. Residents are mainly pensioners who are sick with worry because their homes are threatened.

The Kings Cross Police Station -“ also included in the call for expressions of interest -“ was upgraded in 1999.

While she said she was glad to hear some commitment to retaining the assets, Moore called for some definite signs the buildings were not for sale.

If Cr Pooley says it’s not going to happen, well, he’s the new mayor, we should welcome that announcement, Moore said.

[But] when I’m told, -˜We don’t plan to sell it, we’re just checking the prices,’ I get very nervous. Until it’s off the table there is still doubt.


Note: The Sydney Star Observer office is in one of the buildings specified in the expressions of interest.

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