Tavern rescission motion was 'too late'

A RESCISSION motion on Woolgoolga's proposed Beach Street tavern development will not be discussed by Coffs Harbour City Council tonight because it has been deemed unlawful by general manager Stephen Sawtell.

The motion, lodged by Cr Arkan, Cr Rodney Degens and Cr Mark Graham on January 27 was to rescind approval of the controversial development application.

The three first-time councillors want the social impact of the tavern development on Woolgoolga to be assessed under new tougher licensing laws which came into force last year, not under older regulations in force when the development was first applied for in 2007.

The tavern DA was approved 7-2 at a rowdy Extraordinary Meeting on January 22.

The rescission motion was due to be debated at tonight's meeting, but the general manager's report says it has been excluded because it is unlawful,

General manager Stephen Sawtell said the council had obtained external, independent legal advice to ensure it had followed due process.

“The independent legal advice indicated there is no question as to the lawfulness of the council's original resolution to approve the development application on January 22, 2009, therefore it is no longer possible for the council to recall the notice of determination approving that consent ... The determination was final and irrevocable and cannot lawfully be rescinded by the council.”

The report quotes Clause 240(2) of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005.

Cr Arkan said he did not understand all the legalities involved and he was going to ask them to explain these publicly tonight.

Cr Degens said he had been advised if he wanted to look at the legal advice he would have to sign an 'unpleasant' confidentiality agreement which would prevent him speaking about it.

Cr Degens said there were two parts of the development; the building itself and the licence and using the new licensing laws would' give the community some level of control over how alcohol was sold, like reducing opening hours, which might help avoid problems like the antisocial behaviour currently being complained about at Park Beach.

The council's code of meeting practice says if a notice of motion to rescind a resolution is given at the meeting, the resolution must not be carried into effect until the rescission motion has been dealt with.

This did not happen at the January 22 meeting - the rescission motion was lodged two working days later, on January 27, the Tuesday after the long weekend. It is understood that the approved development application was picked up and paid for an hour before the rescission motion was lodged.

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