Kyogle loses its reserve over plan

A NEW strategic plan governing Kyogle’s crown reserves could leave the council with the same public liability exposure that led to it trying to jettison responsibility for the reserves in 2002.

That decision partly contributed to a State Government inquiry that, in 2006, slammed the council and recommended it reconsider its decision to give up control of 26 reserves, including things such as public halls, sports grounds, a caravan park, a skate park and a playground.

However, a report to the council on a strategic plan that would have the Government return control of the reserves to the council says the number of reserves covered on the plan had exploded from 26 to 550.

That sparked alarm from councillors at Monday’s Kyogle Council meeting when Lindsay Passfield questioned whether the council would end up stuck with management and legal responsibility for toxic dip sites and Rural Land Protection Board stock routes.

Kyogle general manager Arthur Piggott told councillors that many of the reserves included in the plan were not necessarily ones the council would have to take responsibility for.

Of those extra sites it would take responsibility for, it would have the option of reviewing the arrangement after five years.

Mayor Ross Brown said the plan brought the council ‘full circle’ in terms of its exposure to public liability claims.

“This puts us in a similar situation to the one we had before,” he said.

“Where the groups (presently in charge of crown land parcels) devolved to council, so council has to carry the insurance liability.

“What we have done is we gave away 27 (reserves) and now they are trying to give back 500.”

Cr Robert Dwyer questioned whether the NSW Land and Property Management Authority – formerly the Department of Lands – was effectively forcing the council to take on theextra reserves by giving it no otheroptions.

“That’s correct,” Mr Piggott replied.

The council voted unanimously to receive and note the report on the plan and for the full council to meet with the authority on the issue.

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