Walkaway farmer offers to buy back ‘own’ land from City of Greater Geraldton

Headshot of Elise Van Aken
Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
Walkaway via Geraldton
Camera IconWalkaway via Geraldton Credit: Geraldton Guardian

A Walkaway farmer has offered to buy back their own field from the council after it was discovered they didn’t own the land.

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The City of Greater Geraldton will take possession of Lot 52 Criddle Road, Walkaway, for unpaid rates and charges in excess of three years, after it was discovered in 2014 the title for the 3.1ha land parcel was never transferred as part of the settlement process.

The lot, originally a portion of a farming property which was sold in the 1968-69 financial year, has changed hands four times since the original sale and was farmed with rates paid by each of the owners.

Council officers amended the rate record to be of the original 1960s owners, who had since died, and contacted their relatives who agreed to transfer the title to the correct owner as they did not regard it as being their land or wish to claim.

But the relatives found the cost was prohibitive and the transfer never eventuated.

Rates have since gone unpaid for three years, allowing the City to take possession of the land with the intent to sell it to the current farmers, who have indicated interest in the property if it were to go to auction.

The council approved the City’s motion to take possession of the land and its ownership will be transferred to the City if it is not sold within 12 months.

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