Geraldton councillors vote on plan to sell 45 vacant lots to capitalise on property boom

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
The City-owned vacant land for sale on Willcock Drive opposite the Geraldton Surf Lifesaving Club.
Camera IconThe City-owned vacant land for sale on Willcock Drive opposite the Geraldton Surf Lifesaving Club. Credit: Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian/Michael Roberts/Geraldton Guardian

The City of Greater Geraldton’s cash reserves are set to receive a boost after councillors gave the green light to a plan that will see 45 vacant, City-owned blocks put on the market.

At Tuesday night’s ordinary council meeting, councillors voted 10-1 in favour of selling 35 vacant residential lots it owns in Mahomets Beach, Rangeway, Spalding and Utakarra, as well as 10 commercial lots in Wonthella and at the Airport Technology Park in Moonyoonooka.

Deputy Mayor Cr Tarleah Thomas voted against the proposal, with councillors Jennifer Critch and Robert Hall on a leave of absence.

Passing mostly unopposed, the only point of debate centred on whether to set a specific reserve price for the 15 lots that surround Olive Street Reserve, which were donated through a family trust.

Cr Kim Parker proposed an amendment to the original proposal, whereby bidding for the vacant blocks would have to start at $100,000.

“All I hope is that we get value for dollar and get rid of these 15 blocks,” he said.

“The land is costing us money. Let’s get it off our hands.”

Mayor Shane Van Styn said City staff should decide the best method of sale.

“The staff are obliged to achieve maximum value at law,” he said.

The City-owned vacant land for sale on Willcock Drive opposite the Geraldton Surf Life Saving Club.
Camera IconThe City-owned vacant land for sale on Willcock Drive opposite the Geraldton Surf Life Saving Club.

The Mayor moved an amendment to delete any requirement for the bidding to start at $100,000, which passed 9-2, with Cr Parker and Cr Peter Fiorenza against.

Cr Steve Douglas said there was no need for council to set a reserve price in the current market.

With WA property values experiencing a boom, the City is looking to strike while the iron is hot.

A City report estimated lots in Mahomets Beach were worth $140,000-$200,000, while commercial properties could go between $190,000 and $1.17 million.

Any revenue raised will be used to replenish City cash reserves impacted by COVID-19 and fund new capital projects and initiatives.

Mr Van Styn said properties around Olive Street Reserve had recently sold for $140,000-$220,000.

“I would expect some good value,” he said.

The land sales are also an opportunity to boost residential development while WA endures a housing shortage, the report said.

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