Vicki Curran’s bid to get further legal advice about Wollongong City Council’s dealings with Skydive the Beach over its use of Stuart Park failed on Monday night, with other councillors swiftly shutting down debate on the issue.
The independent councillor used a notice of motion to claim the council was at risk of a legal challenge over its decision to deal directly with the company to negotiate its lease.
Last month, a majority of councillors voted to negotiate exclusively with the multimillion-dollar company to work out the terms of a land lease and drop-zone licences in Stuart Park.
On Monday, Cr Curran asked that councillors vote to urgently seek advice from the NSW Supreme Court or other senior counsel, as she said there were cases in other council areas which may call into question Wollongong’s plan to let the skydiving company build its new headquarters at the park.
‘‘I have concerns that we haven’t had the full amount of legal advice on this that we require,’’ she said.
‘‘We are at risk of a legal challenge to any decision we take on this, so I think we do need to seek some form of senior legal advice.
‘‘The Supreme Court is currently hearing a matter very similar to ours, where Willoughby Council has sought advice...over tennis courts and a building on a public reserve.
‘‘So I just want to know where do we stand, let’s get it right.’’
Other councillors were hesitant to let Cr Curran speak for a long time on the issue, with four of them voting against an extension of time during the debate.
After just two questions to staff from David Brown, Labor councillor Chris Connor moved the motion be put, effectively ending debate.
Greens councillors Jill Merrin and George Takacs, as well as Greg Petty and Cr Curran, voted for Cr Curran’s motion, with councillors Connor, Brown, Martin, Colacino, Crasnich and Bradbery voting against.
Cr Curran said she was disappointed in the vote, which had ‘‘deprived the community of sound legal advice’’.
She said she was not against Skydive the Beach but was concerned with the correct process.
‘‘The council is making decisions about things that have complex law attached, and we haven’t received any legal advice,’’ she said.
‘‘And this is also about the rights of the public, and the public can’t be excluded from public lands for private gain.’’
It is understood a community group may be considering a legal challenge over the council’s approval of the skydiving building.