Council kills deal for $500m Chinese theme park at Warnervale

Posted by | July 30, 2017 | Community, Employees, Employers, Industry News, Job Seekers, News


THE five-year “farce” of a promised $500 million ‘Chinese Disneyland’ for the Central Coast “finally” ended late today after the contracts for prime land at Warnervale were torn up.

Central Coast Council revealed it had pulled the plug last week on the controversial Panda Paradise project, four months after Australia China Theme Park Pty Ltd (ACTP) failed to meet a $3 million land-payment deadline.

Council said it would retain a $600,000 deposit paid for 15.7ha of Sparks Rd land after it cut ties with ACTP on July 19.

“Any other potential sale or uses of the land will be a decision of the future elected council,” council said in a brief statement.

Former Wyong Mayor Doug Eaton, who pumped up the proposal from 2012 until his council was sacked on May 12 last year, said he was “disappointed but not surprised” there would be no Chappypie China Time.

“(The end) was clearly coming for the last few months,” Mr Eaton, who will be running for preselection this weekend as a Liberal Party candidate at the upcoming Central Coast Council election, said.

“Council and the community still benefit from the deal to the tune of nearly a million dollars.”

Wyong state Labor MP David Harris, a long-running opponent of the project, said it had been a “sorry episode from the start” and “the ratepayers have been the losers”.

“Valuable land locked up with a contract that raised considerable concerns because all the power was with a developer that had no money, no credentials and no hope of delivering,” the Central Coast Opposition spokesman said.

“Council, as a matter of urgency, should now reveal the cost to ratepayers of the whole sorry episode including staff time and any legal costs.

“And the former Wyong councillors who continually voted for and promoted this debacle should apologise and be held accountable if they try to run for the new council.”

In early May the wannabe Walt Disney of the Coast, ACTP boss Bruce Zhong, boldly declared his company had the cash to build the embattled theme park.

“Some moneys, this I got, don’t worries (sic),” he told A Current Affair.

“Don’t worries, because this is a big project — big, no small. Everything is OK … I just tell you ACTP (will) continue.”

Mr Zhong’s comments came amid mystery over whether ACTP — which had a credit rating last year of just 22/100 despite­ claiming to have a billion­-dollar asset base — had finally stumped up the $3 million first payment, which was due in March, for the Sparks Rd land. It was part of a revised $10 million land deal after the company failed to meet the original payment deadline on December 2, 2015.

Mr Zhong was never interested in answering the Express Advocate’squestions about the project. He failed to respond to at least a dozen interview requests over the past two years.

Former Wyong councillor Bob Graham said he “always” knew that ratepayers were being dudded in the “pie-in-the-sky” project.

“This was a Mickey Mouse deal and farce from day one,” Mr Graham, who will not contest the next council election, said.

“I believe both council and the ruling bloc since 2012 should hang their heads in shame over stringing ratepayers along for this long. Hundreds of jobs could have been created at this site over the past five years.”


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