Council's bid for car park
BALLINA Shire Council has cleared the way for a massive amount of new land to be opened up for development near Sharpes Beach at Skennars Head - and is trying to get the beach car park into the public's hands.
The council yesterday agreed to rescind a previous decision to stop the public exhibition of an amendment of the Ballina Local Environment Plan (LEP) which, if successful, would open up the land known as Stewart Farm for potential development.
That amendment will now be put to the public, but only after a local environmental study is completed.
Patrick McGlinchey, the son-in-law of the current owners of the land Peter and Ruth Stewart, said the family was pleased that the good governance had prevailed.
"We're happy that the rescission was approved which allows the process to move forward," he said.
"However, we would urge the council to review carefully the agreement for the lease of the car park which was entered into in good faith."
The car park at Sharpes Beach is owned by the Stewart family, but council has a 99-year lease on the land so it can be accessed by the public.
The council pays $37,373 per year for the car park in the lease agreement.
But council yesterday decided to negotiate with the Stewart family to have the Sharpes Beach car park handed over to ratepayers.
Cr Keith Johnson initiated the move to have the car park dedicated to council as an amendment to the original staff recommendation put to council.
"Not with standing everything that has gone before, it is now their intention to rezone and subdivide the land," he said.
"It's appropriate that, as in all new developments, some land is dedicated back to the community.
"The whole of the coastal strip is already held in public hands so it's appropriate that council should control this land on behalf of the community."
Cr Ben Smith, along with other councillors, acknowledged the Stewart family had been generous in letting the community use the Sharpes Beach car park.
Cr Peter Moore was against the move for the Stewart family to hand over the car park.
"The push to get the parcel of land to the east of The Coast Road is verging on the unethical," he said.
"The Stewarts have already leased the land to the council, so why should we try to claim it?".
Meanwhile, council also agreed yesterday that the amendment to the LEP only be displayed if land west of The Coast Road currently zoned 7(d) Environmental Protection - Scenic/Escarpment is dedicated to council.
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