MidCoast councillor defends the decision to buy the Masters Taree site

Efficient: Councillor Brad Christensen has responded to criticism over council's plans to buy the old Masters site. File photo.
Efficient: Councillor Brad Christensen has responded to criticism over council's plans to buy the old Masters site. File photo.

MidCoast councillor Brad Christensen has defended council’s decision to buy the former Masters site on Manning River Drive in Taree.

The Times broke the story on Wednesday.

In a series of comments on the Times Facebook page, Cr Christensen defended the action, after revelations that Macksville-based MidCoast Trucks was also interested in the space.

MidCoast Trucks executive general manager Steven Vorgias disclosed a three-year plan to create more than 100 new jobs in the area.

Cr Christensen defended council’s acquisition plan, stating council did not know the identity of the under bidder when the deal was made.

“It was a business decision not a personal one,” he said.

“We are a community minded council wanting to make the best decision for our residents for the long term future and a financial decision.”

In response to concern about the lost job opportunities resulting from the acquisition, Cr Christensen maintained council had no knowledge of the pending deal.

“I totally understand people’s view on this when talking about jobs, yes we need jobs. But this wasn't on the table when our decision was made,” he commented.

“I strongly believe it's the best for my area and that's why I'm on council.”

Responding to comments claiming that the deal is not in the public interest, Cr Christensen maintained the acquisition was the most efficient action. 

“Most residents through the election said our first job should be getting all staff together and have one main office,” he said.

“Details of approximate costs have been made available but one thing we know about this option is it would save millions on us buying a site and then building a new office from scratch.”

Cr Christensen also responded to concerns the money spent on the acquisition would be better used fixing local infrastructure and roads.

“On the roads, we have put in place a plan and have hit up State government to assist us in getting our network up to scratch in the next four years, so any money spent on this project won't affect our road budget,” he said.