How much will infrastructure cost?

While Council has obtained a preliminary cost estimate for the required infrastructure (which worked out at roughly $100 per square metre of privately owned land), we now propose to prepare detailed studies and engineering design work for roads and all essential infrastructure.  This will allow us to get accurate overall development costs and calculate the contribution for each lot (which will vary depending on lot size, access to existing infrastructure etc).

What about lots fronting Gorokan and Bushells Ridge Road?

Because Gorokan Road and Bushells Ridge Roads are already constructed, lots fronting these roads will be subject to lower infrastructure costs relative to other parts of the paper subdivision.  Contributions will however, still need to cover some road widening, kerb and gutter and stormwater drainage as well as reticulated water and sewerage.  (Likewise, there may also be a cost saving for lots which already have access to mains electricity, however this will be subject to electrical design and whether power is required to be underground.)

What is land trading?

Land trading is an option that Council may offer landowners to allow them to participate in development of the Wyee paper subdivision without having to find the money for infrastructure contributions.

While this option is best suited to landowners who own more than one lot within the paper subdivision, it could also be offered where a lot is suitable for subdivision. Lots suitable for subdivision include most corner lots and those lots greater than 900m2.

Land trading involves a landowner giving Council part of their land in lieu of a cash contribution. In return, Council would construct all the infrastructure and then sell the parcels that had been traded. If the proceeds of the land sale exceed the infrastructure contributions payable by the former landowner, then that landowner will receive the surplus. 

This approach has been successfully implemented by Landcom in developing the Riverstone Scheduled Lands (a paper subdivision in northwest Sydney).

What if I only own one lot that can’t be subdivided?

Lots in Tullokan Road, Waropara Road, the northern side of Pirama Road and certain lots in Gorokan Road are not suitable for subdivision.

In this instance, the landowner may make an upfront cash contribution for infrastructure.

Alternatively, the landowner may dedicate their entire lot to Council, who would then construct all the infrastructure, sell the land and give the proceeds (less development and sale costs) to the former landowner.

Is Council considering other options for landowners to contribute to infrastructure funding?

Yes. In September 2017, Council committed to establish a reference group, including Councillors and landowners, which will explore additional funding options to enable as many landowners as possible to participate in development of the Wyee paper subdivision.

Why do landowners have to pay rates on land that cannot be developed?

Rates are the way our community contributes to funding services across the City, from libraries and parks to tourism and swimming pools.

The Local Government Act 1993 identifies which land rates can be charged on. Council is required to levy rates for properties identified in the Act, regardless of their development potential. The amount of rates payable is linked to the unimproved value of the land as determined by the NSW Valuer General.

Why can’t landowners choose to go “off-grid”, for example with solar panels, rainwater tanks and on-site sewage systems?

When fully developed, the density of development within the Wyee Paper Subdivision will be such that would not be practical for each property to arrange its own infrastructure.

Onsite sewage management is not generally viable on lots smaller than 1000m2, and most properties do not have access to formed roads and drainage, which are not cost effective to construct on a piecemeal basis.

What will happen to existing structures within the paper subdivision?

Over the years, a number of structures, including houses, have been erected within the paper subdivision without Council consent. As these structures have the potential to impact the environment, but also place their occupants at risk, Council will be working with landowners to achieve compliance with relevant standards and development controls. In some cases, this will involve the removal of existing structures.

What is the Paper Subdivisions Legislation?

The Paper Subdivisions Legislation refers to Schedule 5 to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979 which was introduced by the NSW Government in 2003. It contains provisions which, along with Part 16C of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, establish a mechanism to overcome barriers to realise the development potential of paper subdivisions.

In order for development to go ahead, the legislation provides that at ballot must be held in which at least 60 per cent of landowners, and the owners of at least 60 per cent of the land area of the paper subdivision, must vote in support of a Development Plan.

What is a Development Plan?

Preparation of a Development Plan is the first major step in use of the Paper Subdivisions Legislation. 

A Development Plan must contain the following information:

  • A proposed plan of subdivision
  • Details of subdivision works to be undertaken for the land
  • Details of the costs of the subdivision works and the proposed means of funding those works
  • Details of the Development Plan costs
  • Details of the proportion of costs to be borne by the owners of the land and of the manner in which the owners may meet those costs
  • Rules as to the form of compensation for land that is compulsorily acquired and how entitlement to compensation is to be calculated
  • Rules as to the distribution of any surplus funds after the completion of subdivision works for the land
  • A description of the proposed stages of development (if the development is to be staged); and
  • A proposed timetable for the subdivision of the land and the carrying out of subdivision works.

When will a ballot occur for Wyee West paper subdivision?

Before a ballot can occur, the relevant authority (in this case Lake Macquarie City Council) must prepare a Development Plan as outlined above. 

We expect the Development Plan, which will be prepared in collaboration with our reference group and include consultation with all landowners, will take between 12 and 24 months to finalise, meaning a ballot is unlikely to be held earlier than 2020.

When is the earliest that residential development could be allowed to occur within the Wyee West paper subdivision?

Based on the experience of Landcom with development of the paper subdivision known as the Riverstone Scheduled Lands, construction of infrastructure/subdivision works could be expected to commence 18 months following a successful ballot and take approximately 12 months. 

Hypothetically, this means that the earliest Council could grant approval for dwellings would be in late 2022.