NEWS THAT MATTERS
Get involved in community
The Community Environment Network (CEN) needs your help and is asking residents and rate payers to get involved in council’s community land consultation.
27 January 2023
CENTRAL Coast Council is currently exhibiting a Draft Plan of Management (PoM) for its community land and the Community Environment Network is urging residents and ratepayers to take a close look at what is on exhibition.
The PoM, if adopted, will cover between 1800 and 2000 lots of land including the Central Coast community’s playing fields, parks and bushland.
“The Council has said this is a housekeeping exercise but Community Land is Our Land and we think it is important that as many Central Coast residents as possible take the time to participate in this consultation,” said the Community Environment Network’s CEO, Samantha Willis.
“CEN will be preparing its own submission but we need as many individuals and community groups as possible to have a close look at the schedule of community land and make sure it is accurate and comprehensive,” Ms Willis said.
“We are also encouraging our members to attend the information session and one of the public hearings,” she said.
“Central Coast Council under administration has already sold over $60 million in assets since the end of 2020. That figure, $60 million, was their target but they are continuing to sell assets.”
It is illegal to sell community land but Council is pushing ahead with the reclassification of community land to operational so it can be sold. It has also said its review of property is ongoing and it will continue to sell property that is ‘surplus to needs’.
“We need you to let Central Coast Council know how much we value our community land by participating in this process. We hope you can help,” Ms Willis said.
The draft Plan of Management for Central Coast Council’s community land is on exhibition here.
When Council owns land, it must be classified as either Community Land or Operational Land. Community Land cannot be sold. It includes land owned by Council for purposes that are of value to the community such as our sporting fields, parks, playgrounds and bushland.
Central Coast Council is required by the NSW Government to make sure that all the Community Land it owns is covered by a plan of management.
Since the 2016 amalgamation of the former Wyong Shire with Gosford City Council it appears that there is a need to update the Plan of Management covering most of the Council’s community land.
Some locations will be excluded from the generic Plan of Management that is currently on exhibition. They will have their own plans of management.
“CEN has already found it necessary to contact the Central Coast Council over its decision to withhold what we consider to be vital information from this consultation process,” Ms Willis said.
“You will find a link to this page on Council’s website that includes further links to all existing plans of management.
“When we returned to work on January 9 that link included only those plans from the former Wyong Shire. Residents of the former Gosford City Council were told they would need to complete an informal Government Information Public Access (GIPA) application to get access to existing plans of management in their local area.
“We didn’t think that was good enough so we wrote to Council’s CEO Mr David Farmer and we are pleased to report that all existing plans of management have since been made available, irrespective of whether you live in the north or the south of the Central Coast Local Government Area.
“However, members of the public are already alerting CEN to problems with the information currently on exhibition, including land missing from the schedule or not described accurately, so the community is encouraged to get involved in this process. Every little contribution helps.”
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