Council drops bid to acquire land near new retention basin
COFFS Harbour City councillors have voted to withdraw the council's offer and not proceed with the acquisition of 2.031ha of land at 395 Bennetts Rd owned by Barry and Norma Mackay.
The decision was the result of a long confidential session at the conclusion of Thursday's Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.
The land involved is the largest of four parcels the council moved to acquire from four different Bennetts Rd landowners.
The council tried to acquire an easement over the land for inundation by water held in the new Bennetts Rd retention basin during floods.
In December the councillors moved to compel staff to begin negotiations to buy the land outright, while in April the councillors moved to ensure negotiations continued, with a time limit of four months on the process.
A report to this week's meeting said that no agreement had been reached and in fact the parties' positions remained "a considerable and insurmountable distance apart".
Mr and Mrs Mackay's daughter Cathy, who has been dealing with the council on their behalf, said the council had offered her parents $3.70 a square metre, which equated to $37,000 per hectare or $15,000 an acre for flood-free land right on the outskirts of Coffs Harbour.
She said this was manifestly unfair, did not compare with commercial prices being paid for nearby properties and was a fraction of the sums paid by the council to the other three landholders involved.
She said the majority of the 2.031ha of land had never been inundated, even during major floods, but the construction of the retention basin dam wall meant it would in the future.