Essential community landholding should not be sold off

Forum –

While I don’t under-estimate the dire financial position that Central Coast Council is in, I strongly object to essential community landholding being sold off.

The assertion that the proposed sale of these lands is not a fire sale is laughable.

The proposed sale of public carparks is contrary to the general strategy that has been explored by Council for a number of sites, which involves retaining the ground floor carparking, as is, and selling off the air space above for offices and commercial uses.

This was successfully done at The Entrance Public Car Park where the developers built two levels of public carparking in exchange for residential development above.

Unfortunately, selling strategically located public carparks seems to be the quick fix that managers continually turn to to ensure that their financial performance measures are met.

Who can forget the sale of the centrally located Terrigal carpark that provided short term parking for over 30 vehicles and the Gosford Kibbleplex carpark that was so essential for some of the 20,000 commuters that go to Sydney every day.

I suspect that the range of properties that are proposed for sale contains a mixture of those that the Administrator has already decided to sell and those that will be pulled, so it will look like he has “listened” to the public.

It is difficult not to have concerns that the current Administrator, who will be the final arbitrator on which properties will be sold, is the same person that prepared the property sale list when he was CEO last month.

Is that a conflict of interest?

Don’t forget, it was the NSW Liberal Party Minister that appointed him to this role.

The bottom line is, the NSW Liberal Government has a great deal to answer for.

This Government forced/pressured the amalgamation of Gosford and Wyong Councils and provided insufficient funds, support and oversight to ensure its success.

The contribution of our local Member, Adam Crouch, in Government in the current crisis, has been minimalistic.

At one time he said he was opposed to a rate increase and, no doubt, he will support local opposition to some proposed sales.

His Government has nobbled the terms of the Inquiry so it only starts from 2017, one year after amalgamation when councillors took control, conveniently avoiding any scrutiny of his Government’s role in pressuring the amalgamation and its initial involvement.

The Inquiry will prove to be only a distraction that will not finish in time to produce any concrete changes.

What Adam Crouch should be doing is getting his Government to provide a $70M long term interest free loan or other financial support from the NSW Government to stop this sell off of community assets that will be needed in the long term for this growing area.

Unfortunately, I suspect that there will be some Liberal Party interests salivating at the historic opportunity to buy some of these community assets, that in some cases have taken generations to acquire, and that will never be capable of being replaced.

Unfortunately, it is difficult not to conclude that the NSW Liberal Government has abandoned the Central Coast.

Email, June 1
David Kitson, Budgewoi Community Representative
Central Coast Local Planning Panel