Looks like the seven heirs of Harold Clarke Thompson, who died in 1939, have not been found.
Council has been searching for the owners of the beachfront land at Wamberal since before the Wamberal Seawall Taskforce was formed in 2020.
Thompson’s descendents own the sliver of land between the mean high water mark and the seaward boundaries of the beachfront lots south of ‘The Ruins’ at Wamberal Beach.
The Taskforce minutes from the latest meeting show us that Council would now like Crown Lands to acquire these residual land parcels, rather than council.
But, “Council is open to discussions to be the Crown Land Manager,” the minutes show.
Crown Lands is considering the matter.
Crown Lands is also talking with Land Registry Services and Crown Solicitors on cancelling title for the land, which is required to “inform the acquisition process” by any public authority.
The minutes show that this is a priority for 2023.
Ownership of the land is important because Council is continuing to work with public and private landowners to progress a “whole of embayment solution” based on Council’s adopted Minimum Engineering Design Requirements for “terminal protection works”.
The taskforce agreed that Crown Lands should work with Council on mechanisms to allow access across the land while the longer term ownership issues are resolved.
Access across the land is needed for construction of terminal protection works on other land.
In October 2022, Council-under-administration adopted a series of decisions about the proposed seawall, including that:
# Responsibility for the design, construction and maintenance of any seawall fronting private property rests with the landowners that benefit from the proposed coastal protection works and are to be fully funded by each respective private property owner.
The minutes from the taskforce show that Council wants some money to do its bit of the wall.
Or as the minutes state it:
“Council would welcome the opportunity to work with NSW Government agencies to investigate the potential for any grant funding opportunities from NSW and Australian Government funding program sources for the public components of this solution.”
Meanwhile, the taskforce is scheduled to wind up.
But, hold on. It just needs another revision of its terms of reference to continue.
The Chair advised the committee at the last meeting last year that the next meeting of the Taskforce – scheduled for February 2023 – was the last scheduled meeting under the existing Terms of Reference.
A review of the role of the Taskforce and its Terms of Reference will be required at the February meeting for the taskforce to continue.
The committee already had to revise its terms of reference in June 2022, because, according to the preamble in the revised document, Council no longer had the funds to implement its original plan.
“Following recent circumstances which had resulted in an unprecedented and significant deterioration in Council’s financial position, it was no longer possible for Council to continue with the original implementation model as proposed to deliver the protection and sand nourishment strategy for Wamberal,” the June 2022 terms of reference says.
It goes on.
“The current revised Terms of Reference represent the next phase of progressing the solution to coastal erosion issues along Wamberal.
“This will occur via Council establishing a development application framework within which to consider and approve proposed protection works.
“Accordingly, the role of the Taskforce has been revised to continue to provide advice (where relevant) to Council to enable a solution to continue to be progressed and implemented.”
The NSW Government originally established the Wamberal Seawall Advisory Taskforce on July 31, 2020, to provide Council with support to implement a sustainable long-term solution to the coastal erosion issues at Wamberal Beach.