QUESTIONS are being asked about a multi-million dollar settlement negotiated between the general manager of Coffs Harbour City Council and the developer of the Lakes Estate.
Councillor Mark Graham said the council and the developer, Noubia Pty Ltd, had been in a legal dispute over costs associated with the provision of Section 94 funded infrastructure and facilities associated with this development, but that now appears to have been settled with ratepayers footing what he said is a massive bill.
Cr Graham said the issue was on the agenda for debate at tomorrow's council meeting but only as a confidential item.
"I do not think that excising this issue from the public domain is right," Cr Graham said.
"These are public funds and ratepayers have a right to know where their money is going. There are too many unanswered questions associated with this matter and Councillors have not been provided with all relevant information."
Cr Graham said it was normal practice for councils to prepare Section 94 Developer Contribution plans, and to place those on public exhibition.
Instead in this case, he said, the plans and fees have not only not been made public, but council is paying a developer.
"I have asked the General Manager and Directors on several occasions in Chamber whether Coffs Harbour City Council had received correspondence from the developers of The Lakes outlining their proposed development of Section 94 funded infrastructure at The Lakes.
"I have also asked whether Council gave approval for these works.
"My questions remain unanswered. Because of this I voted against authorising the General Manager of Coffs Harbour City Council to enter into negotiations with Noubia Pty Ltd for resolution of the dispute over Section 94 funds."
Council general manager Steve McGrath said he was not at liberty to comment on the matter because of confidentiality clauses within the terms of the mediation agreement.