A total of 144 hectares over four blocks at Thompson Vale Rd, Doyalson has been sold as part of Council’s sale of assets for $1.5M less than Council paid for it seven years ago.
The Community Environment Network has labelled it a “fire sale of environmentally valuable land” which was an “insult to the intelligence of Central Coast residents and ratepayers.”
The land is zoned partly environmental conservation and predominantly RU6 transition and is known as Woodbury Park Estate.
Interest would be as a development site for residential use or future employment lands, the valuation report to Council state.
But only four large residential blocks are allowed under the current zoning and there are no access points for two of the blocks.
The valuation report suggested additional thought for Council was the proposed new fast rail idea that could see the land have significant potential to leverage off future transport infrastructure.
The report says the property is considered to be highly constrained due to an undulating topography, potential ecological issue, lack of infrastructure and the requirement for industrial capacity services.
It analysed the value of the RU6 transition land on a dollar rate per acre within the range of $22,0325 to $109,081 per hectare.
The value of industrial or equivalent zoned land on a dollar rate per hectare was in the range of $223,658 to $520,072 per hectare.
The report’s final opinion was that the dollar value was on the lower end of the scale equating to a rate of $38,187 per hectare and if the property were offered to the market they would recommend acceptance of offers within the range of $5M to $6M exclusive of GST.
A council report to the July 26 Council-under-administration meeting says the property was sold for $5.5M
The valuer general valued the land in July 2019 @ $3,279,000.
The property is on the northern elevation of Doyalson link road or the motorway link and the eastern side of Thompson Vale Road and is largely unimproved with the exception of a dilapidated home and fire trails.
“The property is not affected by terrestrial biodiversity lands as per the Wyong local environment plan 2013 but the biodiversity values map and threshold tool by the NSW Government revealed potential pockets of land which may have biodiversity values,” the report said.
It is located within the mine subsidence district.
What CEN says
“This land should never have been included in Tranche 1 of Council’s asset sales program,” CEN chair Gary Chestnut said.
“It includes multiple Ecologically Endangered Communities (EECs) and is part of an essential wildlife corridor.
“We don’t have to remind the community that Tranche 1 was rushed through with no time for meaningful community consultation.
“Last year CEN asked Administrator Rik Hart to reconsider the sale of the Doyalson land and we wrote to both the Local Government Minister and the Commissioner of the Central Coast Council Public Inquiry because we were so concerned by the sale of this land.
“Mr Hart refused to reconsider the matter and neither the Minister nor the Public Inquiry Commissioner responded to our concerns.”
CEN said it had monitored the land since 2000 due to its environmental significance.
“The community was told that no environmental land would be sold, and yet, environmentally valuable land at Doyalson was included in Tranche 1,” Mr Chestnut said.
“The transaction has been labelled ‘commercial in confidence’ so we do not know the sale price, terms of the contract, the purchaser, or the reason for an extended settlement period.”
CEN said the Federal Government paid $69 million in 2019 tooffset just 296 hectares for development to enable Sydney’s second international airport to proceed which is why CEN believe the public should be told the value of the biodiversity offsets for the land at Doyalson.
“CEN estimates the environmental value of this land under the NSW Biodiversity Offsetting scheme would be between $22.4 million and $33.7 million. On that basis this sale price cannot be justified by the Administrator,” Mr Chestnut said.
“An analysis of comparable sales by the valuer used by Council as part of this sale estimated its “as is” sale price at between $22,325 per hectare up to $109,081 per hectare. That would result in a price range from $3.2 million up to $15.7 million with an expected average of $9.5 million.
“This deal does not pass the sniff test and CEN will be repeating its calls to the NSW Government for an investigation of the procedures followed by Central Coast Council to place this important environmental land on the market in the first place,” Mr Chestnut said.
Environmental conservation objectives are to protect, manage and restore areas of high ecological, scientific, cultural or aesthetic values and to prevent development that could destroy or have an adverse affect on those values.
It is also meant to protect endangered ecological communities, coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests.
Other objectives include to enable development of public works and environmental facilities if such development would not have a detrimental impact on the area.
Permitted with consent would be things such as eco tourist facilities, environmental facilities, environmental protection works, flood mitigation works, Oyster agriculture, recreation areas, research stations, roads and water reticulation systems.
RU6 transition zoning allows protection and maintenance of land that provides a transition between rural and other lands of varying intensities or environmental sensitivities.
And to ensure that interim land uses do not have an adverse impact on the conservation or development potential of land identified for future investigation in the North Wyong Shire structure plan or Wyong settlement strategy.
In the Ru6 transition area permitted with consent are such things as transport facilities animal boarding or training establishments, bed-and-breakfast accommodation, community facilities, homes but only on large 40hectare blocks, and electricity generating works.
The valuation report said the property is identified within the North Wyong Shire structure plan more specifically the Doyalson south west that will provide 36 ha of net developable area as a long-term strategy – within 15 years from the date of the structure plan which was prepared in 2012.
The structure plan also recognised a corridor of habitat network identified as a green corridor but the exact location was not specified in detail.
The report said that based on a high degree of speculation and in consideration of land ownership and easements which affect part of the land they have assumed that 25 ha out of the 36 ha could be used subject to relevant approvals.
Electricity storage water and telephone are unavailable at the moment in the area.