Finally, it is revealed that the Council sold 40 hectares of land behind Tatiara de Dalmeny Street to developer Andrew Scarano for just $3.8 million.
The sales contracts were exchanged in October 2021, with the director of Heppa Constructions saying he was delighted to secure the site, his first development on the south coast.
“It’s just the start and there’s a lot of planning to do, but I intend for it to be a quality development.” Initially it was rumored that the council sold it for $4 million, which in today’s market was considered well below the cost the community was willing to pay for the loss of habitat and the impact the subdivision will have on adjacent land. Mummuga Lake. News of the minimum final sale price adds to the sour note that the Council has sold its Batemans Bay Tourist Information Center for just $1.15 million and Moruya Racecourse for just over $1 million. While the previous Innes/Dale Board did everything it could to ensure that these prices were not public knowledge, the requirement that these transactions be publicly recorded in the financial statements allows for a degree of transparency , if not as evidence after the transaction. The Dalmeny property was sold by way of expression of interest which closed on Wednesday September 15, 2021 at 4 p.m. CBRE Group, Inc were the exclusive agents and listed the property on their website. At subsequent Tuesday morning briefings to councillors, councilors were briefed on the sale, but staff withheld the final sale price. Councilor Pat McGinlay said at the time: “As a councillor, I was advised by staff that this contract was first signed yesterday at our regular councillors’ briefing. Like any other anyone interested in this question, and there are many, my immediate questions were obvious: Who bought this large piece of wooded land, once owned by the taxpayers? “And, again, obviously, how much have they (who qu they are) agreed to pay? . Staff, however, declined to share this information; so please don’t ask me as I don’t yet know the entity that has committed to buy the land, or how much they have agreed to pay.” The Council at the time was not fully informed of the potential impact of the development until after they had voted to sell the property, with staff choosing to present Council, after the vote to sell, with an extremely detailed draft report for public comment. Anthony Mayne recently pointed out that:
“Just before the vote, Clr Lindsay Brown made a case for the sale, likening clearing a coastal forest for housing, to killing a sheep so you can eat a roast lamb. Apparently that’s just the process we don’t like to think about. But once the forest is gone, like Clr Browns dinner, it’s gone forever. It looks like the said consultants working on the Lake Environment Coastal Management Plan Mummaga have based their projections and recommendations in complete ignorance of the massive potential environmental impact of the impending clearing of forest and bush immediately adjoining Mummaga lake/ecoll. Moruya River, Lake Mummaga and Wagonga Inlet, several sections refer to Lake Mummaga. Note section 4.3.4 page 59 on the risk of urban runoff. In particular, this quote is relevant. The consultant’s draft reportsays Salients, says that with respect to Dalmeny/Mummaga Lake, that:
“Opportunity exists to make efforts to analyze and explain the significance of the impact of urban stormwater from Dalmeny on the local community. Any study can also be used to inform future planning for the projected increase in population in Dalmeny over the next 15 years (ten%).
In particular, this quote is relevant. The report from the consultants, known as Salients, says that with respect to Dalmeny/Mummaga Lake, that:
“Opportunity exists to make efforts to analyze and explain the significance of the impact of urban stormwater from Dalmeny on the local community. Any study can also be used to inform future planning for the projected increase in population in Dalmeny over the next 15 years (~10%).
The relevant question is “Are the consultants predicting a population increase of only 10% for the Dalmeny site over the next 15 years? And they also rate this as a ‘high’ risk anyway?” Given that the development project of the ravine which feeds Mummaga will be of the order of several hundred new dwellings on “projected population increase in Dalmeny over the next 15 years (~10%)” will be greatly exceeded. And all for $3.8 million.
When it was discovered that staff rolled out the draft plan AFTER presenting council with the sale of the land, Councilor McGinlay wrote:
“It must be recognized that the proposed razing and development of the superior looking Dalmeny forest and bush, together with the subsequent digging of infrastructure, road works, sewage facilities, provision of water mains , etc., should be considered part of the coastal area of Lake Mummaga. management plan. Failure to do so could present a potential catastrophe of sediment-fed stormwater runoff to the detriment of the entire Lake Mummaga and surrounding ecosystem.”