ONE of the first actions of the new Shoalhaven City Council has been to change the land classification and provide some protection over the vacant block of land at 59 Owen Street, Huskisson.
The land provides an iconic view of Jervis Bay.
At its first meeting on Tuesday, October 5, the Amanda Findley led council resolved from Cr Greg Watson’s notice of motion to undertake a reclassification process for the block of land council purchased from Club Jervis Bay for $3 million.
The proposed classification of the land to community use provides a level of restriction over the land preventing certain development from occurring and ensuring community consultation was a pivotal part of any future use.
Mayor Findley said council had undertaken an extensive process to develop the draft Huskisson Foreshore Masterplan covering the areas of 59 Owen Street (previous Club Jervis Bay overflow carpark), the Club Jervis Bay and Huskisson Hotel properties.
“Community input to the plan will not be disregarded, even though these restrictions have been placed on the land,” Cr Findley said.
“I have been concerned throughout the masterplan process that the community would be locked into a particular outcome for the use of the land based on the viability of the site.
“This land is very important to the community, particularly the retention of the special view over Currambene Creek out to Jervis Bay, which was the reason the land was purchased in the first place.
“There has been significant community interest in this land and the need for it to be retained as a community space.
“The view from this site is important for tourism, so many of our 3.1 million tourists pass through Jervis Bay and this view is important for the whole community.”
She said the reclassification process includes a number of steps before it officially takes effect.
Council staff will still be able to finalise the master planning process and provide a report to council for consideration outlining the outcomes of the community engagement process.
“This decision however recognises the overwhelming view of the community is they want this space retained and the view protected,” Cr Findley said.
“Tonight we have taken steps for this land to be retained for community use and to be protected.”
Cr Watson said the decision gives the community the power to control the future destiny of the land.
“It means that no one can enter into a long term lease without ministerial approval and the land can’t be sold,” Cr Watson said.
“The land could be reclassified back to operational but there would need to be substantial community agreement on what proposal was acceptable.”