Funding resolves lands issue

Shoalhaven City Council has welcomed an announcement that sees nearly $5.5 million of Federal Government funding allocated to the voluntary purchase of land in the Heritage Estates located in Erowal Bay.

The funding allocation will enable landowners within the Heritage Estates to sell their property, at a fixed price, through a voluntary land purchase project.

Landowners will be offered a fixed price of $5000 per lot and will be eligible for a $500 bonus if they are one of the first 800 people to take up the offer before 31st March 2013. All of the purchased land will ultimately be added to the Jervis Bay National Park.

The Heritage Estates form part of a larger, undeveloped subdivision — ‘Pacific City’ — that was originally registered during World War 1. Despite the presence of planning laws preventing development, around 1200 residential sized lots were sold in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

A proposal for residential development was refused under federal environment legislation in 2009, due to concerns about the long-term impact of development on both the Booderee National Park and on threatened species known to inhabit the area.

The Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, an independent charitable organisation, submitted the funding application to the Federal Government in conjunction with Shoalhaven City Council and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. The Foundation will now manage the voluntary land purchase.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor, Joanna Gash, said she welcomed a resolution to the Heritage Estates situation, saying the funding offer would finally provide the landowners with certainty going forward.

“This outcome is a great example of all levels of government working with the community to achieve a common goal and help resolve a difficult issue,” said Councillor Gash.

“The Federal Government’s funding allocation will hopefully allow the current landowners to receive a degree of closure. I would certainly encourage all property owners to take advantage of this one-off offer.”

The Federal funding is only available until June 2013 and needs to be used before this time.