MP: Council wasting ratepayer dollars and causing unrest
AFTER describing Council as 'tone deaf' over the Cultural and Civic Space, Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh has accused it of wasting ratepayer dollars and fuelling unrest.
This time it's in relation to Coffs Harbour City Council's recent vote to seek legal advice on the possibility of claiming ownership of a patch of prime Jetty Foreshore land from the NSW Government.
Cr Paul Amos raised the motion and it was supported at Thursday night's Council meeting.
Only Crs Tegan Swan and George Cecato voted against it.
The patch of railway 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.
Cr Amos argued that the State crown land has not been dedicated for a specific public purpose such as a cemetery or a travelling stock route or hospital. He also argued that very little maintenance had been carried out there other than that carried out by Council.
"So we are demonstrating we have a history of using and looking after that area over and above State Rail.
"The purpose of this motion is to simply get legal opinion. So pick a team - the State Government or the community of Coffs Harbour."
The legal basis for his argument -the little-used law of 'adverse possession' - is sometimes referred to colloquially as squatter's rights.
But Mr Singh says advice he has received indicates Adverse Possession cannot be claimed.
"The advice references Section 13.1 of the Crown Lands Management Act 2016 No 58."
He says the move to pursue the matter is a waste of time and money.
"I'm disappointed that the Council has voted to waste more ratepayer dollars investigating a question they know they answer to," Mr Singh said.
"Regardless, we will continue to work closely with Council and the community to get the best outcome, despite this effort to fuel community unrest and confusion."