Crown Land acquisition request principles finalised

Norah head lighthouse operates on Crown Land

The principles that will be used by Central Coast Council to decide whether or not to claim interest in parcels of Crown Land included in the NSW Government’s Crown Land Negotiation Program, have been finalised.

Before the NSW Planning Minister decides to vest a parcel of Crown Land in the Central Coast Council, he must be certain that it meets one of three “local land criteria”. The first is that the land provides, or potentially provides a public good for residents in the LGA, or an adjacent LGA, consistent with local planning principles.

The second criteria is that the land’s use is, or could be, consistent with the functions of local government. Finally, the Minister must be convinced that the land is, or could, be managed as a community asset by Council or another body. To meet the first principle, Central Coast Councillors on the Negotiation Program Committee will be looking to declare an interest in open space and recreation land zoned RE1, including active sporting and recreation facilities, and passive parks and recreation facilities already managed by Council.

It will also be making a bid for aquatic infrastructure that it already manages, and for Crown Land required for future sporting and recreation facilities and future parks. Another type of land the Council will express interest in during the Negotiation phase will be existing recreation pathways managed by Council that are not within public reserves, and land required for future recreational pathways. It will call for bushland and natural areas to either be vested to Council or remain in public ownership. Likewise, it will bid for future biodiversity corridors that are in strategic planning reports. Central Coast Council will also bid to take ownership of waterways and coastal reserves that it currently manages.

It will argue for those waterways and coastal reserves that, according to Council, are required for nature conservation to remain in public ownership. In terms of land consistent with local government, Council will ask to be vested ownership of its existing operational facilities and Crown Land required for future facilities. Cemeteries, waste facilities and holiday parks already owned, operated or managed by Council, will also be bid for by Council, along with heritage cemeteries managed by Council. It will bid for land required for future commercial enterprises or for extensions to existing enterprises. Central Coast Council will ask the Minister to vest to it existing water and sewer assets, and land required for future water and sewer infrastructure.

It will also ask to take ownership of Crown Land that falls within the drinking water catchment area. Existing road, drainage and infrastructure on Crown Lands and land required for future roads, drainage and infrastructure, including car parks, will also be subject to expressions of interest from Council. Waterways and coastal protection infrastructure should either be vested to Central Coast Council or remain under the NSW Government’s control, according to Central Coast Council’s negotiation principles. So too should Crown Land required for future waterways and coastal protection infrastructure.

Other assets that Council will express interest in include emergency management assets and infrastructure (existing and future), and telecommunication facilities. In terms of land managed as a community asset, Council will bid for existing community facilities it uses, occupies or manages, and those occupied or managed by another organisation or reserve trust, along with land required for future community assets. All land vested to Council should be classified as community, which means it cannot be sold. There is, however, a window of opportunity, for Council to argue for reclassification of land as operational, which would mean it could be sold via a resolution of Council.

Source: Agenda item 5.7, Aug 13 Central Coast Council ordinary meeting