Hill Street Road Reserve to become Community Land

Hill Street resident Nicola Lewis spoke against the original recommendation.

THE former Hill Street Road Reserve in Nambucca Heads is to become Community Land.

At the Nambucca Valley Council meeting last Thursday, 30 March, a recommendation was put to Councillors ‘that Council exhibit the proposed classification of Lot 1 DP1288566 – Hill Street, Nambucca Heads as operational land in accordance with Section 34 of the Local Government Act 1993’.

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Hill Street resident Nicola Lewis spoke against the recommendation, arguing that the land should be allowed to revert to community land.

“I am truly astounded Council’s business paper states that there would be no environmental impacts with the land becoming operational.

“I’d like to address the elephant in the room, the precarious Shale Street landslide, that continues to worsen every month, as one such environmental impact affecting my home and community, should the ‘thin sliver’ of land be sold,” said Nicola.

“Due to the Shale Street landslide, that is made worse by water runoff from 3 High Street, Council continually defers remediation of a problem that has undermined my own property, making my garage unusable, and I’ve no choice but to park in Hill Street.

“If the ‘thin sliver’ of land is sold, Hill Street becomes narrower, making it awkward, if not near impossible, for vehicles to turn, reverse to exit, or to find any parking outside my home, and then there is the other hazard of avoiding pedestrians, especially at peak hours.”

Ms Lewis went on to describe Hill Street as a category five laneway, and said her driveway is frequented by young children heading to and from school, and the elderly, avoiding the final steep measure of High Street.

“Should the ‘thin sliver’ of land that is Hill Street be sold there would be immense environmental consequences for my property, and surrounding community.”

David Pleasance, who is an occupant of a unit in 1 High Street, spoke of a complete lack of transparency and due process, and the limited information provided to Councillors to allow them to make an informed decision on the matter.

“Council in the business papers asserts that the matter has become contentious with neighbours because of the perceived loss of view, well in some respects that is true, and if you cast your eye over the DA 2023/015 it is easily confirmed, but is not the only issue.”

“But what is contentious is the years of neglect.

“The sale of land will not stop the torrents of water cascading down Hill Street in heavy rain, the sale will not prevent further catastrophic landslides, and in my view the subject land could be put to better use as part of the solution to this problem,” said Mr Pleasance.

Once the speakers had been heard and there were no questions to be asked of those speaking against the motion,
Councillor Wilson called for someone to move the staff recommendation for ‘Hill Street be made commercial land and put on exhibition for 28 days’.

It transpired that no Councillors wished to discuss the recommendation before them, seemingly reluctant to move the motion given the lack of information before them.

Councillor Jones then put a motion to defer the decision until a site inspection was carried out by Councillors. Councillor Vance seconded this motion.

Nambucca Valley Council’s Manager of Environment and Development, Daniel Walsh, informed Councillors that there needed to be a 28-day exhibition period, and if the motion was deferred for a site inspection, and carried over to the next meeting, the regulatory three months would have expired and the said land would naturally revert to community land.

It then dawned on Councillor Jones that the original motion had lapsed, and he and Councillor Vance both agreed to withdraw their motion for deferral.

With the toing and froing between motions, it became unclear to those in the gallery what final decision was being reached.

Council Jenvey then asked Mr Walsh for clarification of the outcome regarding the lapsed motion and its implications for the benefit of those in the gallery.

Mr Walsh explained that the original motion had lapsed, meaning the said land would become Community Land.

This was a most unusual Council meeting, highlighting the need for Councillors to be provided detailed, correct and transparent information on matters by staff to allow them to perform their fiduciary duty to the community.

The outcome is that the ‘thin sliver’ of land cannot now be sold, and drainage issues will now have to be dealt with by Council.

The community retains a footpath and thoroughfare as well as parking and turning on Hill St.


David Pleasance, a High Street resident, said the process had “lacked transparency”.

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