Independent Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper is to meet with the city council over the stalled Bunderra Estate subdivision at Boolaroo, in a bid to find a way for dozens of would-be residents to access the land they’ve bought but have been unable to build on.
The development on a part of the former Pasminco smelter site has remained off-limits to the purchasers for months, because of a dispute over stormwater drainage works. The dispute involving Pasminco, the developer, Bunderra Holdings, and Lake Macquarie City Council ended up in court last year, and the process is still being played out.
In the meantime, many of those who have put a deposit on the 70 blocks say they have lost not just time, but money, as their building and home loan costs increase. Some are also still paying rent when they thought they would be in their own homes.
Mr Piper held a meeting with John Stevens, the director of the group behind the residential development, on Wednesday afternoon. While the MP would not divulge the details of the meeting, he said he wanted to see the purchasers on their land as soon as possible.
“It [the drainage dispute] is a seemingly minor issue in the scheme of things for the Pasminco redevelopment, and now it’s a legal stoush, but at the expense of 70 or so innocent victims,” he said.
Late last year, a Land and Environment Court judge ordered the developer to install the drainage works. The court also ordered until that work was done, the council was restrained from issuing a subdivision certificate. Bunderra is appealing the court decision.
“I think the only way it’s going to be resolved is by the court,” Mr Piper said.
“Seventy property owners are the meat in the sandwich, it’s costing them a lot of money, and it doesn’t seem fair.”
Mr Piper has asked to meet with the council to see if it would consider seeking leave of the court to accept a bond from the developer for the drainage works, while the legal case continues.
In that way, he said, there would be an assurance the work would be done if the developer lost the appeal, but the land purchasers would not have to continue waiting for an outcome.
“It seems to me that the council may have the ability to assist,” he said. “I’m suggesting this could help the 70 or so property owners. If this can be done, why not?”
Lake Macquarie City Council wouldn’t comment on Greg Piper’s planned meeting to discuss the proposal.
However, when the Herald asked the council last week about the issue of a bond on the drainage works, its Director City Strategy, Tony Farrell, replied in a statement, “That is a matter for the court. Council has no power to modify the court’s ruling”.