Lawyers rule on Council’s jetty land claim
THE advice is back from the lawyers, and it looks like Council's Jetty land claim is a no-go.
Coffs Harbour City Council was seeking advice about the likelihood of claiming a section of land at the Jetty precinct from the State Government.
The claim was based on the little-used law of 'adverse possession' - referred to colloquially as squatter's rights.
It was initiated by Cr Paul Amos and backed by the majority of Councillors at their August 27 meeting. Crs Tegan Swan and George Cecato voted against it.
The patch of land under question is to the east of the railway line, to the north of Marina Drive, and has been used for a range of community purposes over the years from carboot sales to concerts and parking.
Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh lashed out at the move, saying council was wasting "more ratepayer dollars". He has also been critical of Council for pushing ahead with the Cultural and Civic Space.
But Cr Amos has defended his stance.
"Regardless of the outcome, it's not a waste of money. It's sending a strong message about the value of this land to the community," Cr Amos said.
"I have no idea how much it (the legal advice) cost but Council seeks legal advice on a whole range of issues. It's just the cost of doing business."
The advice, from Maddocks Lawyers, is contained in a report to be considered by Councillors this week.
A summary states that: Council cannot make a claim for adverse possession of land where the registered proprietor is the Crown, or State Rail Authority of NSW.
The land in question consists of three portions: one section owned by State Rail and two lots that are both registered as Crown Reserves.
Cr Amos, who has described himself as "unashamedly pro-parklands and low scale commercial development" at the Jetty Foreshores Precinct, was recently appointed to the Jetty Foreshore Project Steering Advisory Committee.
The 12-member committee includes business, political and community leaders.
Cr Amos is concerned the NSW Government is not listening to the community's wishes for the area, expressed during several rounds of public consultation over the years.
The steering advisory committee will meet for the first time on Friday.
"It will be more of a meet and greet. I will be looking and learning about what the expectations are and getting a feel for the role of the committee," Cr Amos said.