A WAGGA man is offering 10 times the asking price on a block of land council is gifting to a multimillion-dollar company in his objections against a proposed $6.5 million harness race track.
North Wagga’s Gavin Smith has slammed Wagga City Council for selling a 100-acre block of land to Harness Racing NSW (HRNSW) - “a gambling company that turns over $12 million a year” - for just $1.
Mr Smith claims it will hit ratepayers hard by adding pressure to the levee bank and increase the likelihood of floods, while council has defended its stance, saying it has followed due process. Mr Smith is now offering council $10 to buy the site it acquired by compulsory land acquisition for the purpose of building the Great Northern Lake on the floodplain to eliminate flood threats and gift back to a community group.
Council resolved on April 28 to sell the site to HRNSW, subject to development approval for the harness racing development. “Why wasn’t the land put up to the public?” Mr Smith asked.
Mr Smith also objects the development application (DA) because of rural zoning issues and light and noise pollution, which he claims are “desktop planning”.
Dan Grentell also fears flooding, questioning why the amended DA doubled the amount of earth fill from 56,000 cubic metres in the original DA to 125,000 cubic metres, which could increase the likelihood of flooding on surrounding properties in the “high-risk flood zone”.
“(Council) lets through whatever they want,” Mr Grentell said, in the wake of a two-year battle to rebuild his North Wagga property. “If you’ve got money, they let everything slide.”
Mr Grentell believed flood modelling and noise measurements were based on assumptions, questioning why the height of the track increased from 1.8m high to 2.56m with 4.1m high building pads between the original and amended DA.
A council spokesman denied Mr Grentell’s claims, adding “development on floodplain requires development approval and all development applications are assessed in respect of statutory compliance with state and local planning controls along with any associated and identified impacts to inform a final determination”.
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