Land Development Committee Meeting - 17 July 2014
LATE AGENDA Page
5 General Manager Report
AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES: Michael Coulter, General Manager
Council has received advice from the Crown Lands Office to the effect that Mr Kevin Cameron, Area Manager, Crown Lands, Far North Coast supports Ms Leckie’s request for purchase of the larger area (approximately 290 square metres) of Gordon Park on the basis of advice received from De Groot Benson Pty Ltd that the smaller area may not contain enough of the slope to prevent mass movement of the sloping land.
Mr Cameron has suggested that the Trust (Council) should proceed with the sale of the affected land to Ms Leckie pursuant to the Crown Lands Act and has suggested a disposal process to shorten the overall time necessary to bring the disposal to fruition and lessen the number of administrative steps.
The Crown Lands Office has indicated that the first step is for the Trust (Council) to make a decision to sell the land and document its reasons for selling the land.
1 That the Trust (Council) decides whether or not it wishes to sell approximately 290 square metres of Gordon Park to Mr and Mrs Leckie.
2 That, if Council decides to sell the land it list the reasons for same, and proceed with the process set out by the Crown Lands Office in their letter (attached to this report).
3 That Council support a Crown Lands offer of a licence to Ms Leckie for the purpose of investigating the construction of retaining walls or other means of stabilising the slope.
1 Not sell the land
2 Sell the land as requested by Mr and Mrs Leckie and suggested by Mr Kevin Cameron, Area Manager, Crown Lands, Far North Coast
3 Sell the land but seek some form of control over its use via contractual conditions
4 Not sell the land but provide an easement to enable the repair and/or installation of retaining walls and other work to prevent the potential for a landslip.
5 Council obtain a valuation for the land, noting that this will cost between $1,100 and $1,500.
Crown Lands staff (Mr Bert Hurcum and Mr Kevin Cameron) have now advised they will be available to speak to Councillors about this matter at this Land Development Committee. This report has therefore been brought forward as a late item.
At Council’s meeting on 12 June 2014 it was resolved:
“That in relation to Item 19 (outstanding actions – Leckie) that Council attempt one more time to invite Crown Lands to address Council and if a response is not received by mid July that this matter be brought to Council at the last meeting in July 2014.
In September 2012 Council received a request from Ms Kelli Leckie requesting Council’s endorsement to her application to acquire a section of Gordon Park adjoining her property at 2 Nelson Street, Nambucca Heads. The request was reported to Council’s meeting on 25 October 2012 and was deferred for a site inspection. A site inspection was conducted on 14 November 2012 and it was resolved to defer the matter to the meeting on 12 December 2012. At the meeting on 12 December 2012 it was resolved to defer the matter so as to provide the Leckies with the opportunity to come back with a further proposition to show the revised area proposed to be acquired. They then responded and nominated an acquisition area of approximately 170 square metres, about 40% smaller than the original proposal which was an area of approximately of 290 square metres.
Then at the Council meeting on 16 January 2013 it was resolved:
”That Council advise the Crown Lands Office that it does not generally support the sale of community land however Council does recognise there is a need to reconstruct the failing retaining wall and Council supports the Crown Lands Division advertising the application for public comment.”
At Council’s meeting of 12 June 2013 it was resolved:
“That Council respond to the Crown Lands Division providing a copy of the submissions from Mr and Mrs Leckie; their expert advice; submissions from the public; the reports to and the resolutions of Council; as well as copies of newspaper reports and requests that the Crown Lands Division determine the matter as per Council’s resolution of 16 January 2013.”
The Crown Lands Division advised Council in a letter dated 23 May 2013 about the process involved in the disposal of land within Gordon Park, which is Crown Land for which Council is Trustee. An extract of their advice is as follows:
“Ms Kelli Leckie has approached Council with a proposal to purchase sufficient land adjoining her family’s holding in Nelson Street, Nambucca Heads so as to support a new retaining wall(s). Without referring to the specifics of the engineering and the environmental constraints for such a structure or the appropriateness of the structure on the land, I propose to inform Council of their obligations as the Reserve Trust Manager in dealing with this proposal.
Foremost in the processes, where a Trust (or Trust Manager) receives a proposal which involves the alienation or disposal of part of the Crown estate that it is responsible for it should ensure that in dealing with the matter and making recommendations to the Crown for disposal that it is completely convinced that disposal of part of the Reserve is the only option or most appropriate option. In order to obtain this level of conviction the Trust should engage in a comprehensive and transparent program of public consultation on the matter. The results of the public consultation program should be reported as part of the recommendations to the Crown. The Trust should also report the allocation of the funds derived from the disposal as part of the recommendations; such as to the Crown Lands Reserve Trust in support of an identified project or program that the Trust is undertaking on the Reserve.
Upon receipt of the recommendations from the Trust, Crown Lands Division must undertake a number of statutory processes (formal land assessment or land assessment waiver, advertisement of intention to dispose and revoke reserve, revocation of reservation over the affected lands, etc) independent of the Trust to determine if alienation of the land is in keeping with the principles of Crown Land management expounded in the Crown Lands Act 1989. This may result in the land not being made available for disposal despite the recommendations of the Trust.
Should Crown Lands Division determine that disposal is the appropriate option the proponent would be instructed to undertake all actions related to the sale of the land at their own cost including lodgement of a development application with the local planning authority, survey and plan lodgement for title creation, valuation and construction of the contract for sale…..”
Council has received the attached letter from Crown Lands dated 16 January 2014.
The letter advises that the Leckies have met with the Crown Lands Office and have requested that Crown Lands give consideration of the original proposal of the purchase of 290 square metres.
The letter advises that Mr Kevin Cameron, Area Manager, Crown Lands Far North Coast, was consulted on this matter in his capacity as the Minister’s Delegate. The advice is that Mr Cameron supports Ms Leckie’s request for purchase of the larger area (approximately 290 square metres) on the basis of the advice received from De Groot Benson Pty Ltd that the smaller area may not contain enough of the slope to prevent mass movement of the sloping land; and, that the risk of failure of the slope is quite high with the responsibility with the failure of the slope presently resting with the Crown through the Trust Manager for the Reserve.
The Crown Lands Office then proposes a revised sale process for the land. They advise the first step in the process is for the Trust (Council) to consider an amendment to the resolution made by Council on 12 June 2013 so as to enable disposal of the larger (290 square metres) area to Ms Leckie. They also suggest that Council may wish to consider whether it would be appropriate for the Trust to support a Crown Lands offer of a licence to Ms Leckie for the purposes of investigating the construction of the retaining walls as an intermediate step to the disposal.
At Council’s meeting on 30 January 2014 Mrs Leckie advised that the 290 square metres which was sought to be acquired may be the subject of a future development proposal. Mrs Leckie has advised of her expectation of the applicable price being in accordance with the attached valuation which she obtained. That is a market value as a single, separate 290sm lot of $10,000 as at 22 October 2012 or a value, if attached to Lot 2 as a boundary adjustment of $70,000 as at 22 October 2012.
Based on the advice from the Crown Lands Office and Council’s resolution of 12 June 2014, it is necessary for Council to now make a decision as to whether or not it wishes to sell the land and the reasons for selling the land.
There has been an exchange of correspondence with the Crown Lands Office.
The proposal involves the sale of Crown Land (a section of Gordon Park). The sale of itself has no environmental impact. However, the future use of the land may have an environmental impact.
There has been community interest in the proposed sale of a small section of Gordon Park.
There are no significant economic implications.
Council is being asked to deal with public land. Council will be subject to scrutiny in relation to being able to demonstrate that the circumstances will not be repeated or alternatively that Council will be open to considering similar requests from other property owners who may wish to acquire adjoining Crown land. Council will also need to demonstrate that in the circumstances it has achieved best value for the land.
Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets
Crown Lands have advised that the proceeds of any sale could be spent on Gordon Park.
Source of fund and any variance to working funds
At this stage there is no impact on working funds.
Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications
To date there have been many reports and correspondence in relation to the matter.
1357/2014 - Crown Lands letter
28163/2012 - Land Valuation
Land Development Committee Meeting - 17 July 2014
Request to Acquire a Small Section of Gordon Park, Nambucca Heads - Kelli & Clint Leckie