The Ocean Shores community has lost a Land and Environment Court challenge to prevent Byron Shire Council selling the 11 blocks of at the old Roundhouse site.
On Friday, October 30, Justice Pain dismissed the case presented by the Ocean Shores Community Association (OSCA) and found in favour of Byron Council with costs to be determined.
The settlement of the sales of the 11 lots have been finalised.
The OSCA committee, Toni Spruce, Jan Mangleson, and John Youdan this morning released a statement on the sale of the land.
‘In the messages that are coming through about this loss, it was recognised that Ocean Shores had fought for many years to keep this land, and there was no option but to try to keep the land as community, even if it meant going to court against the council,’ the statement reads.
‘The council went down the NSW Government gateway determination process to change the classification of the land so that it could be sold. This included compulsory public consultation. There were hopes that the council would listen to the overwhelming voice of the people who wanted the land for the community, with more than 200 submissions against Gateway and only six in favour.
‘The councillors who made their pre-election promises to keep the Roundhouse for the community voted unanimously to go ahead with the sales because the shire would be in “dire circumstances” if they didn’t get the Roundhouse money. They did not campaign strongly to sell other properties owned by the council.
‘As well they allowed a sales process where a highest “market price” valuation was determined for each block, and prospective buyers could not make higher offers and compete on an open market. The council could have earned twice as much on its Roundhouse sales.
‘One buyer who made a higher offer on a block received a legal letter saying they were “disqualified” from buying because no higher offers were allowed. From the 17 or so signed contracts for sale, eleven lucky buyers were chosen in secret by someone in council. There are many questions to be asked here.
‘This matter has united the people of our community and perhaps this is the greatest benefit of the years of struggle. In a town that is not yet fifty years old there are many things still to be achieved,’ the OSCA statement said.