Macca tracks Port change

FORMER mayor Bruce MacKenzie has decided against suing Port Stephens Council over its decision to seek a reversal of land purchases over the Stockton Bight Track.

Cr MacKenzie, who part-owns Macka's Sand, said the company had ruled out making a damages claim against the council despite "burning" about $350,000 applying to use the road as access to a nearby sand mine.

The Newcastle Herald has reported that council will apply to NSW Minister for Local Government Don Page for permission to give back land bought from the Towers family to build Stockton Bight Track.

Compulsorily acquiring that land embroiled the council in an $8.55 million legal challenge from the Towers, who wrote to the council indicating they supported rescinding the purchase.

Cr MacKenzie, who had been assessing his options following the shock decision to rescind earlier this month, said taking action against the council would do no good.

"I've served the ratepayers for 36 years and I've made money for them," Cr MacKenzie said. "[If I did sue] the only people that pay would be the ratepayers."

The Newcastle Herald has previously reported that the council took no formal legal advice on its decision to forge ahead with the Stockton Bight Track acquisition late last year.

The Towers family's case has alleged the price the council paid, determined by the Valuer-General, failed to account for a multi-million dollar access deal they allege was struck with Macka's Sand.

Cr MacKenzie has previously denied Macka's Sand had a binding deal with the Towers family after receiving letters in 2009 on behalf of some family members seeking a formal arrangement.

The final bill for its legal costs to date is yet to be calculated but has already exceeded $140,000.

The Towers case will return to the NSW Land and Environment Court tomorrow.

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