Bennetts Rd Detension Basin takes shape at the base of Red Hill. Photo: Rob Wright / The Coffs Coast Advocate
Bennetts Rd Detension Basin takes shape at the base of Red Hill. Photo: Rob Wright / The Coffs Coast Advocate Rob Wright

Landowner in land buy-out push

DISGRUNTLED Bennetts Rd landowner Paul Hay will address Coffs Harbour City Council tomorrow during a meeting at which flood retention basins will feature strongly.

Mr Hay, one of four Red Hill area landholders involved in land acquisition for the Bennetts Rd flood retention basin, wants the council to buy his land, rather than resuming an easement.

Although that basin was completed many months ago, the council has not yet bought or acquired all of the land involved and is still dealing with the fallout from the processes used to do so.

City council planners said that a confidential settlement was "agreed to by both parties" in December last year and all actual and potential impacts of the detention basin and easement had been considered in calculating compensation for what was agricultural land, including the cost of relocating the shed and fencing.

Mr Hay said yesterday he was unhappy about the way the council went about compulsorily acquiring the easement, without advising property owners first and about what the acquisition conditions meant for them as property owners.

He said they had received no letters until after construction had started and valuations had varied wildly, ranging from $3.50 to $38 a square metre "depending on which side of the barbed wire fence you were on.

"The easement was forced on us and now we cannot insure the property," he said.

Another item on the agenda is the contract to construct the Spagnolos Rd flood retention basin on land owned by Roads and Maritime Services.

A condition of the RMS approval is that the council buy the land after construction of the Pacific Hwy bypass.



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