10 May 2023

Council snaps up private property in Lakeland

| Matt Nicholls
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A PRIVATE property in Lakeland has been purchased by Cook Shire Council as it looks to shore up the future of the community.

Lakeland has been touted as the biggest growth community in Cape York but is somewhat hamstrung by a lack of available residential and commercial land.

The council spent $610,000 to acquire an 11-hectare lot of freehold land adjacent to the township “in preparation for the potential exponential growth of the agricultural hub”.

However, the purchase was made in secret and discussions to buy the land were made behind closed doors.

Cape York Weekly can reveal the decision to buy the property was made at a special council meeting on February 4.

It was closed to the public after councillors passed a motion under Section 254J(g) of the Local Government Regulation 2012, citing “discussion of this matter in an open meeting would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest as it deals with negotiations relating to a commercial matter involving the local government for which a public discussion would be likely to prejudice the interests of the local government”.

Cape York Weekly was tipped off about the sale of the Lakeland property in the days after the closed council meeting and approached mayor Peter Scott for comment.

He confirmed the sale but asked us to hold off on publishing the story until the sale was confirmed.

Cook Shire then released the news on its own website a day after Cape York Weekly went to press.

Located at Lot 210 Peninsula Developmental Road, Lakeland, the 113,200m2 parcel adjoins the council’s freehold land located within Lakeland – known as Perfume Gully – which provides for natural drainage of the township.

“There are some fantastic large-scale projects being discussed that will offer significant growth and development of Lakeland,” said Cr Scott.

“The challenge is that the current needs of the town have already outgrown the land that’s available.

“The purchase of this land is a strategic investment into the future of Lakeland and the shire as it allows for expansion and potential construction of critical local government infrastructure and the potential availability of land for essential services, government agencies, residential and commercial purposes.”

Full master planning, including extensive community consultation, will be undertaken before a decision will be made on the future use of the land.

While the future use of the land is being decided, the land will be maintained “as is”.

The council said funds for the purchase would be allocated from the council’s current cash reserves.

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