Non-urban land: A subtle variation

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siriusFriday, 30 March 2018 - 10:18am

At an average rate of close to one per month, our local Council acquires North Arm Cove non-urban lots under Section 10A(2)(b) of the Local Government Act 1993. The standard wording for the Council resolution has previously been:

1. That Council accept the transfer of Lot XXXX, North Arm Cove in payment of outstanding rates and meet transfer costs.
2. That the Common Seal be affixed to transfer documents.
3. That the property be classified as operational land.

But the minutes of last Wednesday's MidCoast Council meeting (28 March)  added a fourth point as yet another disillusioned non-urban owner conceded their property:

4. That a report be prepared for a workshop to be held in relation to the impact on Council.

Presumably this additional point was intended to refer to the impact of Council acquiring non-urban lots generally and not to the specific lot mentioned in this month's resolution.

There is no further information in the minutes regarding the discussions (in closed session) that may have led to this workshop proposal. What is clear from the wording is that councillors are concerned with the impact on Council.

There is no mention of the impact that Council and State policies have on the many hundreds of non-urban land-owners who are obliged to pay rates annually for what appears to be zero services from Council.

Are Council only concerned with the decrease in rate income? When has any of that rate income ever found its way to remedy the badly rutted roadways or provide any other services to the non-urban areas of North Arm Cove? It does fund the "transfer costs" as properties are handed back. Some has also been used in the past to fund legal efforts pursuing non-urban property owners.

It would be good if Council broadened their proposed workshop to look at the impact of current policies on existing non-urban owners. It would be good too if Council invited those non-urban rate payers to have input to the process. There is an important social issue which needs to be addressed.

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