Changes to canal and lake special charges
Council has adopted 12-month Special Charges for the city’s canal and lake-front properties for 2017-18, while a community conversation about longer term future funding is expected to begin in September 2017.
This affects canal-front residents at Raby Bay and Aquatic Paradise, and lakeside properties at Sovereign Waters.
In March 2017 Council announced it would refund unspent monies that had been collected for canal and lake maintenance and repairs since 2011-12 but to date had not been applied towards the relevant services and activities.
Council also advised it would temporarily cease the canal and lake Special Charges for the last quarter of 2016-17 (April-June 2017) and, subject to future budget deliberations and Council resolution, there may be new Special Charges allocated to canal and lake-front property owners in the 2017-18 year.
The new Special Charges have been included in the 2017-18 Budget brought down on 26 June 2017.
The new 2017-18 canal and lake special charges have been carefully and independently reviewed prior to adoption.
The former Special Charges were ceased earlier in 2017 after Council proactively determined the charges levied between 2011-12 and 2016-17 may have been deficient in adhering strictly to legislative requirements, such as not properly stating the estimated costs of carrying out the works or timeframe.
The new Special Charges comprise annual charges of:
- $723.60 for a standard lot at Sovereign Waters
- $2354.28 for a standard lot at Raby Bay Canal Estate (including lots 1 to 12 on GTP 2073)
- $1364.24 for a unit in a Community Title Scheme at Raby Bay Canal Estate (excluding lots 1 to 12 on GTP 2073)
- $1189.96 for a marina berth at Raby Bay Canal Estate
- $2806.28 for a standard lot at Aquatic Paradise Canal Estate
- $2806.28 for a marina berth at Aquatic Paradise Canal Estate
It is important to note that the decision to refund unspent collected monies does not affect special charges collected for services or activities for other areas of the city, as the charges being refunded were collected from canal and lake property owners and reserved specifically for work on canals and the lake, such as dredging, cleaning and repairs to revetment walls.
The refund and temporary suspension of the Special Charges are a result of Council's review of the processes it has followed to levy the Special Charges against the requirements for levying Special Charges as set out in Chapter 4, Part 6 of the Local Government Regulation 2012. Council determined that there had been some unintentional errors in its processes, particularly in relation to the content of the overall plans. While, on one level, these are only procedural type errors (e.g. not properly stating the estimated costs of carrying out the overall plan), Council has determined to proactively address them.
Council has engaged an external accounting firm which is currently completing a full review. The review will identify the refunds and who is entitled to them, audit the calculations for each of the six years and in total, and compile a report for Council.
As at 17 July 2017, Council has not received the report. Council is expecting the report in the coming weeks to facilitate the refunds as soon as possible and will advise affected ratepayers as soon as possible.
Council is undertaking the refunds as a proactive step and appreciates property owners’ patience while we undertake this important work.
Council will be looking at how it funds works in the canals and Sovereign Waters lake in the future. This will include consulting with the community to determine the best way to fund this work.