ON THE MARKET: Dubbo real estate agent Andrew McDonald and a Sydney agent have been instructed to sell the RAAF Base by public tender closing on July 22. Photo: BELINDA SOOLEParkes MP Mark Coulton says he does not think the Department of Defence made a mistake by selling Dubbo’s former RAAF base to a private owner.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Coulton said he did not

think it was within a council’s role to take on such a large development.

His views come despite historic community feeling that Dubbo City Council should have fought harder to take control of the property when the Department of Defence sold it in 2003.

Daily Liberal columnist Leo de Kroo raised the issue of council ownership of the significant property once more last weekend.

Mr Coulton’s views give weight to Dubbo mayor Allan Smith’s position that a private owner is the best way forward, although fellow councillor Peter Bartley does not agree outright.

The RAAF base became an issue once more when it was put up for sale by public tender closing on July 22.

Although John Kosseris bought the property in 2003 from the department, he was unable to gain approval for his development plans before his company went into receivership.

Mr Coulton thinks the former RAAF base needs to be developed.

“It’s an eyesore, Dubbo would benefit from having it put to some use,” he said.

“I think it should be allowed to be developed as a combination of residential, retail and public open space.”

When asked if the department had taken the wrong action in 2003, he said that realistically it would have been looking after its books.

To Mr Coulton it was not the sale to a private owner but heritage orders on the site that were the problem.

“My understanding is the purchaser and the heritage orders came unstuck,” he said.

Cr Smith said that earlier in the decade he had been in favour of the department gifting the former RAAF base to Dubbo, but not of council buying it.

“The opportunity of the government of the day to hand it over to the community has long passed,” he said.

Cr Bartley would be in favour of council purchasing the property in 2010, but he said he did not think it would happen.

“Council would only need to find the purchase price now and could worry about developing a long-term plan in the next year or two,” he said.

“There are extensive plans already developed for various uses of the site with commercial and tourism at the front and residential at the back and just the sub-division of the back portion for residential allotments would produce enough money to cover the purchase cost,” he said.

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