Council withdraws reserve from reclassification process
Central Coast Council has withdrawn the Austin Butler reserve from its reclassification process and will proceed immediately with a community consultation about the future of the land.
"The site was originally included in the bulk reclassification after Council was approached by Peninsula Plaza and their major tenant (Woolworths) to purchase the site to address identified safety risks," said Council Administrator Mr Rik Hart.
"I have chosen to remove the parcel entirely from this bulk reclassification process," said Mr Hart.
"I have asked that the community be engaged as soon as possible to seek their formal feedback."
He said the consultation would present two options: "A) Retain the site in Council ownership, meaning the trees on the site remain in their current condition, or B) Proceed with a sale and allocate all proceeds of that sale to an extensive greening program for the Peninsula region.
"I am impartial to both options (A) and (B) and will be completely guided by the community's response through the formal consultation process on what is ultimately determined for this site.
"I look forward to receiving the results of this community engagement via a summary report back to Council as soon as possible."
Mr Hart said it was originally intended to use the community consultation stage of the reclassification process "to provide the community with a formal opportunity to have their say".
"It is clear that some confusion has occurred about the steps involved in the reclassification and sale process."
The decision to withdraw the reserve from the reclassification process was "to alleviate fears or concerns".
Mr Hart said the option of putting the proceeds of a sale to greening program was prompted by concern expressed about the "heat island effect" on the Peninsula.
"Such a program could provide funding for approximately 8500 trees to be sourced, planted and maintained to maturity," he said.
"This would go a long way in providing long-term progress in greening the local area and mitigating the impacts of climate change to the benefit of future generations.
"It's initiatives like this which could achieve a significant advancement towards the objectives of Council's Greener Places Strategy."
Mr Hart said the consultation would be conducted throught the council's www.yourvoiceourcoast.com website.
Website, 27 Sep 2023
Rik Hart, Central Coast Council