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No easy task

Friday, 7th May, 2010

The Zinc lakes are apart of Broken Hill history The Zinc lakes are apart of Broken Hill history

City Council says any
plan to transfer Perilya’s
non-mining assets to the
community will need
to include government
financial support.
General Manager Frank
Zaknich yesterday said that
Perilya was in the process
of reviewing all of its nonmining
assets as part of a
plan to divest them.
The mining company
this week revealed that
it had offered to transfer
ownership of one of those
assets, Zinc Lakes, to
Council for $1.
Perilya’s managing
director Paul Arndt said the
offer was made as part of
discussions it had held with
Council about the present
ownership of the lakes and
Zinc Ovals.
In a letter to State MP
John Williams, Mr Arndt,
responding to fears the
lakes were about to close,
said the company had “no
fixed plan” to shut the lakes
or any other facility at this
stage.
But he outlined a number
of reasons why the company
might want to hand
over responsibility for the
lakes, including the legal
obligations associated with
giving the public access to
a park that is located within
a mining lease.
Mr Zaknich confirmed
Council had held talks
with Perilya “some time
ago” about the lakes, but
he said Perilya had at no
stage made a formal offer
to transfer ownership.
He said the company
owned and maintained a
range of facilities and any
proposal to transfer ownership
would need to be
looked at as a “whole package”.
“It’s a lot broader than
just the Zinc Lakes,” Mr
Zaknich said.
“We wouldn’t be looking
at one asset at a time
because we would be seeking
financial assistance.”
Any plan would need
to outline who was going
to be responsible for funding
the cost of transferring
the facilities over to public
ownership as well as maintenance.

“How is that going to
be funded ... so it’s not
a burden to the community?”
asked Mr Zaknich,
who suggested some form
of government assistance
would be required.
But while he said talks
had been held at State
and Federal level about
the issue, Council still
had to be “brought into
the loop more fully”.
“We’re just starting to
be made aware of what
these proposals are,” Mr
Zaknich said.
“The next stage is to
brief Council fully on
what’s been proposed.”
Mayor Wincen Cuy
has said that, despite their
obvious importance to the
city, he does not regard
Council taking over facilities
like the Zinc Lakes
as a foregone conclusion.
He said Council would
first need to have “a conversation
with the community”
before deciding
whether to take ownership
of another facility.
While dealing with the
transfer of non-mining
assets was seen as something
that was inevitable,
Council had thought the
issue was still some time
away.
Mr Zaknich said that
it was the proposal to
include the city on the
national heritage register
that had “brought the
issue to the surface”.
“These things need to
be sorted out as part of
that process.”

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