It sounds like the deal of the century: a bargain price of $38,000 paid for 1,100 square metres of prime waterfront land.
Too good to be true? The community of Woy Woy on the central coast thought so.
They began demanding answers shortly after the development application was lodged for a four-story apartment block for seniors on the site which also includes the local bowling club and sits at the edge of the waterfront with a playground, bike track and walking path.
When residents started asking questions about the development, they discovered part of the land at the front of the block was once crown land and the Government had sold it off in 2015 for $38,830.
The developer’s conduct is not under question.
- A waterfront block in Woy Woy was sold by the Government for less than $40,000
- The sale was advertised in a local newspaper hundreds of kilometre’s away
- The deal has been referred to NSW’s ICAC
Local resident Joy Cooper could not believe the price paid for the sought-after land.
“$38,000 is unbelievable, this is prime north-facing, elevated waterfront with panoramic views.”
In the agreement between the developer and Crown Lands department, the estimated value of a similar parcel of land next door was $121,000.
Locals attempted to obtain the true valuation under Freedom of Information laws but were unsuccessful.
Resident Ross Cochrane president of the Save Woy Woy Waterfront Facebook group said “somewhere along the line that $120,000 [valuation] has come back to $38,000”.
Greens MP David Shoebridge has referred the sale to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
“This is one dodgy deal… the Government treats public land like it’s their own, like it’s a play thing they can just doll out to whoever,” he said.
“Well I think the public is sick of that, they want a government who holds the public land in trust.”
The sale is one of the Government’s many which has raised $9 billion for the coalition in the past six years.
“We have uncovered these failings after constant digging for the truth and we now need ICAC to look at not just this sale, but the thousands of other public sites sold off by the Coalition,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Locals push to save bowling club
Residents want the sale reversed and for the Woy Woy bowling club to remain in place.
“This is community land, we’ve got a dragon boat club, kayak club, the bowlers, the fishing club,” Ross Cochrane said.
“It’s used by everyone around here, as residents and members of the public, the government should do the right thing and leave the land for us to use.”
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