Waterfront owners alarmed over new proposal
ANXIETY levels have skyrocketed for Yamba waterfront property owners after receiving a letter about a new planning proposal. But Clarence Valley Council assures nothing will change.
Late last month, plans were announced to reclassify council-owned land surrounding Westringia Place and Witonga Drive, Yamba from ‘Community’ to ‘Operational’.
All five lots identified in the proposal currently comprise drainage reserve lots as part of the canal/waterway residential subdivisions.
According to the documents submitted by CVC strategic planning officer Terry Dwyer, reclassifying these lots from ‘Community’ to ‘Operational’ land allows the drainage reserves to be “better maintained and managed as a drainage reserve free of the constraints of a community land classification”.
A Clarence Valley Council spokesman confirmed on Wednesday this reclassification proposal was primarily for the operation of the drainage reserves with no other plans for these lots after becoming classified as ‘Operational’.
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While some residents have raised concerns the transfer will result in increased fees for use of the waterways, the documents submitted provide no evidence of increasing fees for use of the waterway, but rather highlight that the current $70 licence fee for private waterway structures received by the current 151 properties “is set aside for maintenance of the relevant drainage reserve lots and drainage assets in the area”.
What’s the difference between Community Land and Operational land?
Under the Local Government Act 1993, Community land is land council makes available for use by the general public, for example, parks, reserves or sports grounds. Meanwhile, Operational land is land which facilitates the functions of council, and may not be open to the general public, for example, a works depot or council garage.
Why submit this proposal now?
According to the documents submitted by CVC strategic planning officer Terry Dwyer, this proposal was lodged based on findings of council’s asset and land rationalisation process as well as legal advice obtained in May 2016 regarding “anomalies in the procedures and processes adopted by the former councils and their compliance with the requirements of the LG Act in relation to the classification of land vested in or under its control”.
It is understood the planning proposal is a direct result of council’s initial resolution of May 17, 2016 to support a planning proposal to reclassify a range of council owned public lands (originally 207 land parcels) from community to operational.