Last stand for Iluka Reserve

Just when it looked like Kiama councillors had made the decision on the fate of Iluka Reserve, Councillor Neil Reilly has kept the outcome in the air by lodging
a rescission motion. This will see the issue considered again at Council’s October meeting.

Councillors had voted five to three to proceed with the necessary amendments to the Kiama Local Environment Plan to allow the sale of a portion of Iluka Reserve.

“It is a decision to change the planning which would allow the land to be developed,” explains Mayor Mark Honey. “We still might not sell it, but it is a step along the way.”

As previously reported, the changes are being sought with the intention of selling off nine blocks on the reserve’s northern boundary, while improving the park’s facilities to encourage usage.

Net proceeds to Council are expected to be in the region of $2 million.

“Any proceeds we make from the sale will be reinvested into commercial activities to help sustain Council in the future,” says Mayor Honey.

“The profits have go into other enterprises that will bring a commercial return, helping to safeguard our financial sustainability.”

The money is not yet included in the Council’s long term financial projections, which meet all of the State Government’s Fit for the Future ratios.

Councillor Mark Way is one who is keen for the sale to proceed.

“Only one third of the area is being taken up by residential, and the proposal will be a fantastic asset for the community,” he said.

Councillor Warren Steel agrees, “Kiama Council has to be entrepreneurial as we can’t just rely on the rates. I believe this is a win:win.”

“If we do nothing it will sit there looking shabby for another 20 years,” said Councillor Andrew Sloan.

In an impassioned speech before the vote, Councillor Reilly said there was no evidence that there is a need to sell public recreational land to improve Kiama’s infrastructure and create financial stability.

“My observations over the last six months show more people use Iluka Reserve than the parks in Bland St and Tombonda Drive, and Peace Park. Peace Park is the least used reserve,” he said. “If the criteria for turning a reserve into a real estate development is that it is underused, are you going to have a go at Peace Park? I don’t think you’ve got the nerve.”

Later he said, “I think we have the situation here where we don’t have a reason to do what we are doing.

“The Public Exhibition period showed that the proposal is not in the public interest.”

Kiama Council has a history of using property development, notably Elambra Estate, as an income stream.

It is currently seeking public submissions on its proposed subdivision and sale of five blocks of land on Glenbrook Drive at Bombo, and is investigating the
possible sale of eight blocks on the western side of Riverside Drive, opposite Iluka Reserve.

Its remaining large parcel of land is at Spring Creek.

The September meeting also approved the change needed to allow the sale of a property in O’Connell St, Gerringong, currently leased to the Department of Housing

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