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Council identify public reserves “Surplus to Community needs” to be sold

In a question on notice by Councillor Anthony Mayne around Council's sale of public land considered "surplus to community needs" it is revealed that there are still many parcels around the shire, withing our towns and villages that Council is moving ahead to sell to bolster its funds. Councillor Mayne asked" Could Council staff please advise which blocks of land were reclassified from community to operational land in 2012 and which of these blocks are currently proposed for sale both now and in the future. When land, such as the recent 3 lot subdivision of 13A Sunshine Bay Road, Sunshine Bay (DA 593/19) is deemed “surplus to community needs”, what does “surplus to community needs” mean and what process is followed to reach such a conclusion." The Council response from an unnamed Executive member advises that "The process followed in the identification of properties that could fund actions from the Recreation and Open Space Strategy 2010 (ROSS 2010) included but was not limited to, consideration of:  the overall provision of open space for the entire Eurobodalla Shire,  the size and shape of particular sites,  any evidence of community use,  the provision and quality of recreation and community facilities,  whether a site also had other uses such as environmental, storm water, drainage,  the proximity, characteristics and nature of alternative sources of open space This ROSS 2010 confirmed that the subject sites had low community usage and value, were restricted in size and were in close proximity to alternative sites. Most in the community are not aware of any such identification process, any consultation or any determination until they see a FOR SALE sign. Walker Park in Narooma was one such parcel that had been gifted to the community for the purpose of being a nice open space. The audacity of a consultant to drive by and see no-one there on the day and therefore declare it as "Surplus to Community Needs" was called out by a very hostile Narooma community who slammed Council for their subterfuge. Council did overturn their decision on this park and apologised saying it had been a "oversight". Further to that backflip, at an open session at its Ordinary meeting on 15 February 2015, Council resolved to sell a number of the lots reclassified in 2015. After 'further consideration' (also known as hostile community backlash), a number of properties that were reclassified were removed from the list to be authorised for sale. Council has stated that the sale of the blocks will see monies directed to bolstering the Recreation fund and be used for recreation purposes. Presently Council have secretly identified funding availability of the order of $10 million that it may need to call on to prop up the expected blow out of the proposed Mackay Park pool 25m pool and theatrette. The proposed sale of the Batemans Bay Community Centre along with internal movements of funding withing Council's ledger will no doubt be contributory to servicing what looks to be a bottomless pit that will no doubt absorb any 'profits' from the sale of public parks. With the shire now in its fourth quarter of recession the timing to consider the sale of any land in a depressed market is in itself unsound however Council has no 'skin in the game' and as such any loss from poor business decision does not come from Council staff pockets but from the purse of the community. The following table shows the blocks of land reclassified in 2012 that are proposed for sale, with the final column noting those already sold or proposed for sale now.

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