The angst continues

OWNERS of undeveloped land along the Ninety Mile Beach are continuing their campaign for fair compensation.

The owners took their fight to Wellington Shire Council’s meeting on Tuesday night, when councillors voted to refer an amendment to the Wellington Planning Scheme which relates to coastal development to an independent panel appointed by the state attorney-general.

While the issue was not up for debate, Ninety Mile Beach Property Rights Action Group president Charlie Grech said property owners deserved fair compensation.

“This action is robbing the block owners of the value of their blocks,” he said.

“There is no morality by this council as far as this planning scheme is concerned because there is not a fair compensation scheme to go with it.

“It really goes down to political and financial thuggery of defenceless ratepayers.

“You know they’re all spread out, you know there are a lot of elderly people and this council has taken advantage of them by saying we’ll either rezone you or you accept $1500 (compensation).”

Mr Grech said property values of $8000 to $10,000 in 2006 had fallen dramatically because of council’s scare mongering and uncertainty during the past seven years.

Thousands of blocks were sold along the Ninety Mile Beach during the 1960s by the real estate company Wilmore and Randall and allowed to proceed by the former Rosedale Shire Council.

The land has been deemed inappropriate for development since the 1970s.

Under Amendment C71 to the planning scheme, permanent planning controls would be enforced on inappropriate subdivisions between Golden Beach and Glomar Beach, with development prohibited between identified settlement areas.

Low density residential zoned land between Golden Beach and Glomar Beach would be changed to rural conservation.

With the planning amendment referred to a panel, councillor Darren McCubbin said property owners had the chance to state their case

Cr McCubbin said it was important council did “the right thing” and corrected bad planning policy, which had affected many people who had immigrated to Australia.

“The easy option for council would be to simply keep collecting the rates and just keep our head in the sand,” he said.

“We can’t keep our head in the sand; it is our due diligence to point out the fact that that area, on a primary dune, is a sensitive environmental area, that those blocks are unsustainable,” he said.

“Whilst you can’t unscramble an egg, that we (should) do all we can to ensure that into the future we do not allow a bad situation to get worse.”

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.