Wollongong City Council’s selling off of tiny land lots throughout the LGA has confounded many, but several parcels have sold during recent months.
Readers posting on the Illawarra Mercury’s Facebook page earlier this week were amazed and often outraged by news that a Lake Heights couple faced the prospect that someone else could own a piece of what they believed was part of their driveway – for $2000.
A 3m by 4.3m, triangle-shaped lot located within their driveway was recently listed for sale for $2000.
Another triangle-shaped, 5sqm lot on Lake Heights Road, located within a neighbour’s yard was also listed for sale for $2000.
A parcel at Lot 2 Cochrane Road, Thirroul, which has dimensions of 0.2m by 83.6m, is also for sale for $10,000.
MMJ Real Estate have been selling the parcels on behalf of Wollongong City Council.
The unusual sales are likely the result of a historical glitch, which means these oddly-shaped leftover parcels had for decades not been officially recognised by Wollongong City Council.
Several years ago, the NSW Valuer General officially identified the lots, which meant the council was required to start charging rates.
However, as this type of leftover land tends to be in the names of historical development companies, these rates were left unpaid.
When rates in NSW remain unpaid for more than five years, councils can start the process of selling the land to recoup their money.
A May council report listed seven parcels potentially scheduled for auction by June 2017, and a further eight planned for auction by September. Council resolved unanimously to sell all but one of the lots suggested by council staff.
At least several of the lots have been sold throughout the past several months.
For example, 61sqm of residential land at Lot 101 Crown Street, Wollongong sold at auction for $85,000 earlier this year.
Also, 5sqm of vacant land at 26 Waitangi Street, Gwynneville (with council rates of $4.05 per year) sold for $2000.
A 3.05m by 75.59m section, containing 226sqm land at Lot 1 Gray Street, Woonona also sold for $36,000.
A 64sqm parcel at Lot 1 Stanwell Avenue, Stanwell Park (with council rates of $40.49 per year) sold for $14,000.
Lot 1 Holmden Avenue, Mangerton, containing 189sqm of residential land sold in September for $20,000.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery has stood by the council’s decision to force the sale of the number of strange, small blocks across the city, saying it has no choice. Cr Bradbery said the council had to stick closely to the rules set through the NSW Local Government Act.