Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council has apologised to a property owner for taking 16 years to finalise a land swap.
In July 2004 the landholder, John Manwaring, donated a small parcel of land to the council to enable it to realign a dangerous bend in Rosehill Road, the main connection between Cootamundra and Jugiong.
In return, the then Cootamundra Shire Council agreed it would transfer ownership of the old section of road, which ran in front of the homestead, to the property owner.
"The council should be ashamed of its failure to fulfill its promise to my family," Mrs Susan Manwaring, whose husband John died in 2015, wrote in a letter read out at the open forum of the August council meeting.
"It suggests incompetence and a serious problem within council's operational procedures."
Mayor Abb McAlister said he would like to apologise to Mrs Manwaring and her late husband for council taking so long with the land swap.
"I'd like to acknowledge that this is not an issue of the present council or the present council staff, but I think we've got to get on with it and get it done as soon as possible," Cr McAlister said.
Deputy mayor Dennis Palmer proposed the resolution to go ahead with the land swap be added to with a provision that an air of urgency be attached to it, and that it take place without any delays.
Cr Gil Kelly proposed a letter be sent to Mrs Manwaring immediately letting her know it would be done and apologising from the council.
The council passed the resolution to re-commence the closure of lots 3 and 6 DP 1217568 and complete the process so that the road could be transferred to the Manwaring estate as originally intended.
The letter from Mrs Manwaring to the council was as follows:
"In 2004 the Cootamundra Shire Council realigned the Rosehill Road around my house to eliminate a dangerous bend and to make the road safer for all users including my family.
"My late husband John agreed to give council the land for the new road free of charge and in return was to have the land with the old road transferred to him.
"Sixteen years later I am still waiting to have the road closed and the land transfer finalised.
"This has caused much distress and I feel let down by the council.
"The new road effectively cut our farm in half.
"In 2015, following my husband's death, I sold some land traversed by the new road and the settlement was delayed 17 months because council had not completed the surveying and the transfer of land for the new road.
"The fact that at the time the land was still owned by John and the road had been open to traffic since July 2004 is incomprehensible to me.
"This was despite much communication over the 11 years to council staff including a former general manager and a former director of engineering services.
"This settlement delay had a significant financial impact on me and I was unable to finalise loans and to prevent the sale falling through and had to agree to the purchaser using the land before it was settled.
"Independent legal advice at the time suggested I have a solid case for compensation.
"To date I have not pursued this.
"Five years later and the old road still has not been transferred to me.
"At no point is the excuse of staff changes acceptable to me as a reason for this matter not being finalised.
"Instead it suggests incompetence and a serious problem within council's operation and procedures.
"I think your council and staff should be ashamed by their failure to fulfill a promise that was made to my family.
"I am ready to sell the remainder of my land and I will not be able to complete a sale again until this transfer is complete.
"Once again I risk a negative financial impact because council has to date stalled on this matter.
"If sale is delayed again I will seriously consider legal action.
"It is unacceptable that in trying to have this matter resolved I have had to seek legal advice at a cost to me and continue to spend time on this.
"My husband gave council the land in good faith and council to date has not upheld their end of the agreement.
"I am very upset about this matter.
"I trust that council will accept the recommendations and staff will arrange transfer of the land to me in the shortest time possible.
"I also expect council to indemnify me for any future costs that arise from this matter."
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