A spanner has been thrown into the works for the first auction of blocks at the controversial Roundhouse subdivision at Ocean Shores.
A threatened claim by the Ocean Shores Community Association (OSCA) against Byron Shire Council at the 11th hour has delayed the auction, set down for the past weekend, for four of the 11 residential blocks on the hilltop site which has sweeping ocean views.
The community group is challenging the validity of the land classification as operational land.
A council spokesperson said a meeting was being sought with OSCA to try and resolve the issue as soon as possible as delays were costly.
The land is classified as operational land under the Byron Local Environment Plan and Council last April resolved to go ahead with the subdivision works and sell the 11 lots.
Mayor Simon Richardson said he was disappointed with OSCA’s action.
‘Naturally we want to bring these residential land blocks to the market with confidence,’ Cr Richardson said.
‘Council is taking a few weeks to confirm that the sales can proceed without any threat of legal action sitting in the background.
‘The auction date has been temporarily delayed and we will be looking to set a new auction date as soon as possible.’
Cr Richardson said if the issue did go to court, it would further delay the sale process.
‘As the proceeds from Roundhouse sales are intended to fund infrastructure works in the north of the Shire, Council and the community could be faced with the possibility of these works being substantially delayed due to legal action,’ he said.
‘This is the last thing we want to see happen. Since May 2013 our focus has been on the establishment of the Infrastructure Renewal Reserve to bring forward and achieve these priority works.
‘Similarly any reduction in the proceeds from land sales due to legal fees and/or purchasers losing confidence, will affect the bottom line,’ he said.
Council said it is seeking a meeting with OSCA to discuss the situation as soon as possible.
‘Council does not want to go to court, but if OSCA start this action we will have no choice but to incur costs to defend it,’ Mayor Richardson said.
‘We are already incurring legal fees and the cost of delaying the auction is potentially significant.
‘We call upon OSCA to act in the community’s interest and withdraw from their current threats of legal action.’