Council to enter negotiations for Suffolk Park land
Byron Shire Council has confirmed that the Suffolk Park education land should be secured for community uses.
The matter was supported unanimously.
Mayor Simon Richardson said the site has been utilised (under lease) for essential sport and recreation activities by the Suffolk Park community for over 10 years and has become integral to the long term health and well-being of Suffolk Park families.
“Given that the Department of Education no longer requires this land it should now be gifted to the Council so that these activities may continue into the future.
“Our aim is to ensure that we retain use of the site for our residents if the Department of Education no longer requires it as an educational site.
“The community has recently demonstrated its strong resistance to the proposed sale of the land with the inevitable diversion of the proceeds into the government’s general revenue pool.
“The people of Suffolk Park have made it very clear that they will not stand idly by and let this land be sold off to the highest bidder,” he said.
While Mayor Richardson noted that Council did have some funding available from Section 94 developer contribution Suffolk Park Open Space reserves, Council expects the land to be gifted to the community.
“Suffolk Park has little scope for future development so developer contributions are scarce. Once the current funding pool is gone, it’s gone.
“We need these funds for community facilities and open space improvements that our community has been expecting for years. Exhausting these funds on securing the land would be heartbreaking for the local community,” he said.
If Council is successful in obtaining ownership of the land, Mayor Richardson said the land would be designated as “Community Land” and retained in perpetuity for community use.
A Plan of Management would be developed in consultation with the Suffolk Park community to determine the preferred uses of the site.
Mayor Richardson also acknowledged MPs Tamara Smith, Ben Franklin and Walt Secord for their assistance in persuading the Minister for Education to remove the property from sales listing and to open dialogue with Council.