THE Launceston City Council is negotiating with a mystery developer to sell a 3440-square-metre parcel of land at Inveresk, next to the University of Tasmania's proposed student accommodation facility on the North Esk.
A recommendation at yesterday's council meeting by Inveresk manager Robert Groenewegen that the council seek expressions of interest for the land was knocked off by Alderman Robin McKendrick, who presented an alternative motion that demanded quicker action.
Alderman McKendrick moved that council general manager Robert Dobrzynski and Mr Groenewegen be authorised to negotiate the land sale with appropriate contractual safeguards.
Alderman McKendrick, through his position as York Park and Inveresk Precinct Authority chairman, has been privy to details of the development but was bound by commercial-in-confidence provisions from openly discussing it.
He said the development was worth up to $10 million, would employ at least 60 skilled and unskilled workers during its nine-month construction, and employ seven full-time and seven part-time or casual staff when open.
Alderman McKendrick said the development would not only create jobs but entertainment.
He said the council could regret a missed opportunity if it did not act on an appropriate sale immediately.
Several aldermen believed there was no need to tender the land publicly as it had been presented as available for development in the Inveresk Master Plan released eight years ago.
Deputy Mayor Jeremy Ball, who, with Mayor Albert van Zetten, rejected Alderman McKendrick's motion, said he was concerned the proposal was rushed and could not support a land sale to an anonymous third party.