Shire of Northampton to discuss freeze on rates to give relief to residents affected by Seroja

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
GEN Cyclone damage at Kalbarri. PCYC Pic. Iain Gillespie The West Australian
Camera IconGEN Cyclone damage at Kalbarri. PCYC Pic. Iain Gillespie The West Australian Credit: The West Australian

The Shire of Northampton will today consider putting a freeze on rates rises in the wake of cyclone Seroja, which caused extensive damage to residential and local government properties.

The Shire’s first ordinary meeting of council since the natural disaster last month will have councillors vote on a proposal advising against a rates increase for the 2021-22 year for all properties located within the shire.

A report being presented to council also advised Landgate will request the Valuer-General conduct a review of all Gross Rental Value properties in the shire and revalue those which received cyclone damage “to ensure that rating is equitable and fair”.

“The amended GRVs will only apply in 2021-22 and should some buildings at 30 June 2022 not be at a stage of full reconstruction then the issue of a further revised GRV can be determined,” the report said. The report stated that amended Gross Rental Values would lead to an estimated loss in rate revenue of between $85,000 and $100,000.

“This shortfall will need to be accommodated in the 2021-22 budget where projects proposed will need to be deferred,” it said.

Shire assets were not immune, with a list of almost 60 damaged properties and infrastructure.

The tin exhibition hall near Northampton District High School was completely flattened.
Camera IconThe tin exhibition hall near Northampton District High School was completely flattened. Credit: Phoebe Pin/Phoebe Pin

Among the properties identified as being completely destroyed are Ajana Hall, the gymnastics hall/camp school and the dining hall/camp school in Kalbarri, the carpark and disabled fisherman’s platform at Chinaman’s Beach and the Northampton exhibition hall.

The carpark, new footpath and shelter at Blue Holes were also washed away along with the entire dune system.

The damage report stated the area had been tidied and recommended “no future works be undertaken” “until such time when the drifting sand and tides in the area reshape the foreshore dune”.

“The current proposal is to simply install a fence along the current carpark edge to prevent vehicles entering on to the beach and then just simply monitor it,” the report said.

Almost all repair and demo-lition works will be covered by the council insurer, with the out-of-pocket figure not yet known.

The report said repairs on well-used infrastructure such as sporting grounds, childcare facilities and the doctor’s surgery would be prioritised.

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