Council candidates have formed an (almost) united front against the future sale of community lands and assets in the Eurobodalla Shire.
The question was put to our Mayoral candidates at a 'meet the candidates' forum on Wednesday night after controversial decisions by the current council to sell a parcel of land in Dalmeny and lease out the Batemans Bay Community Centre.
Five of the six candidates agreed that community land should stay as is, but councillor, and current deputy Mayor, Rob Pollock defended council's decision, saying there were processes that were followed.
"We can't deal with that land in terms of on-selling without a whole process," he said.
"I don't believe in selling assets as such, but I would point out that while the Community Centre was leased out, every group being housed there was offered other council assets rent-free for up to 12 months.
"Each situation needs to be looked at on it's merits - the Dalmeny land has been zoned Urban Expansion for 30 years and there isn't a single block of land for sale between Narooma and Dalmeny.
"If we're going to have expansion and people moving here, and have our businesses thrive, you have to have somewhere to put them."
Labor candidate David Grace said Councillor Pollock's response showed the "problem with council".
"There's a lack of imagination," he said. "What happened 30 years ago is not OK today.
"We won't sell off community lands, we see that as a treasure of the Shire. We don't want another situation like Broulee where the residents were suddenly surprised to find the land had been bulldozed.
"We can have development without losing our bushland - we can be looking at infill, new ways of understanding housing, and having appropriate accommodation for all that need it here."
Greens candidate Alison Worthington said it was a "no brainer" that community assets and land shouldn't be sold.
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"The land is the community's, it is ours," she said. "When it's sold to developers, we miss out.
"There is room for us to play an active role in easing the stress in the housing market, and we have the opportunity to develop housing the best fits the needs of this community.
"Property developers aren't doing that - the majority of households need one or two bedrooms, but what we see in these developments are three, four, or five-bedroom homes."
The Mayne Team's Karyn Starmer said it wasn't the Council's right to "overturn the vision of prior generations", and also questioned why the Council was needing to sell off assets for budgetary reasons.
"Our forefathers and foremothers had visions for this beautiful Shire, and once you sell of any lands, it's gone forever," she said.
"We can't seek the right to overturn the vision of these previous generations.
"We would go further process before any land is sold that could change the liveability in this Shire.
"I'm not dissing the need for more housing, but if we need to balance the books by selling things, we have a problem."
Advance Eurobodalla's Mat Hatcher said Council should be better prioritising the land and assets it considers selling.
"I believe we should not be selling assets or any land or building that is considered a community asset," he said.
"Council owns the caravan park in Batehaven, and we should be moving things like that off the books - we shouldn't be selling off community centres while we have caravan parks."
A Better Council's Tubby Harrison agreed with Karyn, saying any bequeathed community land should stay that way "forever".
"It's not up to us to change their wills," he said.
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