Byron council rejects claim it can't legally sell Roundhouse
BYRON Shire Council has rejected claims it cannot legally sell the controversial Roundhouse site at Ocean Shores.
The Ocean Shores Community Association yesterday released a statement announcing it had secured an injunction preventing the sale of Roundhouse blocks pending a legal challenge.
In the statement, the association said the site was designated community land and the council had no legal right to sell it.
However, Byron Shire Council legal services coordinator Ralph James says the association has got it wrong.
Should the Roundhouse site be:
This poll ended on 19 October 2015.
Developed as a community facility
Turned into a park
Sold off as residential lots to fund other infrastructure at Ocean Shores
Sold off as residential lots to improve Byron Shire Council's financial position
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"The land was zoned residential use back in 1996 and reclassified as 'operational land' in March 2002," Mr James said in a statement.
"Council also disputes the allegation that a 'community trust' was setup over the land and to ensure this was the case, put the land through yet another reclassification process which saw the land, for the second time, classified operational."
Mr James said the council had not been applied with a copy of the association's application to the Land and Environment Court but intended to "vigorously" defend its right to sell the land.
Byron Shire Council general manager Ken Gainger also took a swing at the Ocean Shores Community Association, effectively accusing it of wasting ratepayers' money.
"It's a sad fact that Council has had decades of legal fees and costs over this site, that run into the millions," Mr Gainger said.
"After a lengthy legal challenge, it was forced to acquire the land from the property owners back in 1991."
In a swipe at both the Ocean Shores action and the recently withdrawn bid to prevent the Belongil rock wall, Mr Gainger lashed out at "irresponsible and baseless legal challenges".
"It's time to 'stop the bleeding' and put the funds back into much needed community infrastructure such as roads, sports fields and amenities and Council is working hard to achieve this outcome," he said.
"It's time to get on with the work of rebuilding Byron Shire. Not defending irresponsible and baseless legal challenges."