Owner of contaminated land asks council to buy him out
UPDATE, 9am: LISMORE Mayor Isaac Smith this morning confirmed the council had voted to take legal action against the State Government to obtain the $1.7 million shortfall to remediate contaminated land at Beardow Street, Lismore Heights.
However, Cr Smith said he could not comment further on the matter.
A council representative said the mayor and staff would not be making further comment, "as there are legal and funding issues currently in train around this issue".
However, the representative confirmed that councillors voted to authorise the general manager to decline the offer to negotiate on the matter, and to defer the projects "pending confirmation of availability of government funding to complete the restoration/ remediation".
Councillors also voted to support the actions taken with NSW Roads and Maritime Services and Office of Emergency Management.
The council will now seek legal advice to obtain restoration funding for the Beardow Street landslip and councillors have authorised the general manager to assert the council's rights in accordance with the advice.
Lastly, the council will develop a motion to go to the Local Government NSW Conference, addressing the "serious disparity and confusion in disaster recovery funding in NSW compared to other states".
Original story: A LISMORE landowner has asked Lismore City Council to buy his Beardow St property which has contaminated land.
On Tuesday night Ken Allport addressed the council during its public access session about the ongoing flood restoration works after a major landslip at Beardow St, Lismore Heights.
He also presented councillors with a two-page handout which documented the issue, together with details of a related matter concerning contaminated land from the Lismore Gas Works in 2001.
"It's almost indisputable that the origins of the waste material in Beardow St is from the Lismore Gas Works," he said.
"The cost advantage to Lismore Council is that the 'cap and containing' of the hazardous materials is a significant cost saving to council and further significant savings are most likely to follow if the need for litigation is avoided.
"Council would also be able to recover the cost of the balance of the unused land."
Mr Allport said the proposal would involve the council purchasing his property at a cost decided by an independent and qualified professional.
"(The) agreed price (would be) determined by a jointly agreed NSW certified valuer, together with my legal costs, in order to 'cap and contain' the waste on a part of the property," he said.
"Council should accept this offer in order to reduce the cost associated with this matter and have the civil works proceed to completion."
Mr Allport answered questions from Crs Darlene Cook and Vanessa Ekins.
Mayor Isaac Smith thanked Mr Allport for his presentation.
He then moved to alter order of business to have the matter moved into the confidential session of the night's meeting.
The council's general manager Shelley Oldham said the discussion about the council's potential to take legal action against the State Government should not have appeared in the agenda.
"It should be discussed in the confidential session," she said.
Cr Smith called for a vote and councillors Neil Marks, Darlene Cook, Eddie Lloyd and Isaac Smith voted in favour and it was carried.
Mr Allport was accompanied by three supporters and they all quietly left the meeting once it was clear the issue would be discussed in a closed session.
All councillors were in attendance, except for councillors Gianpiero Battista and Elly Bird, who were on leave.