BAY island residents living next door to vacant council-owned blocks of land can make a play for the property under revised conditions that council say will simplify the sale process.
About 345 of 4200 blocks across Russell, Macleay, Lamb and Karragarra islands will be available for land owners to purchase if they live on adjoining properties.
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Mayor Karen Williams said the land sales were estimated to boost council revenue by between $80,000 and $120,000 per year and the new conditions would cut down the processing time for purchase requests.
But questions have been raised about how the sales could affect property values after the blocks were touted as being valued at between $15,000 and $25,000.
Russell Island Development Association president Ian Olsson said he feared that the land being sold at "mates rates" would drastically decrease the median land value on Russell Island.
"Basically, it is one where it will have an affect to some degree on the value of land ... and this will bring down the median price of land," Mr Olsson said.
"There will be a profound effect to bottom out the market in some blocks as a result of these mates deals and it is something the council should really look at again."
Council had often received requests from bay island property owners who were interested in purchasing council land situated next to their property.
"In the past, these have been dealt with on a case by case basis, with many sales not proceeding due to the time and cost of processing one-off requests," Ms Williams said.
"However, we now have standard assessment criteria that allows these purchase requests to be processed in a more timely manner."
Cr Mark Edwards said he was pleased to see a simplified process taken up for property owners.
"Where all relevant criteria is met, the property would be offered to interested, adjoining property owners at the assessed market value," he said.
"This removes the previous need for tender or auction of the land, allowing more SMBI property owners to amalgamate their land with surplus council land."
He said the adjoining council land had been a problem as it was susceptible to fire hazards and required regular maintenance by council.
"This would reduce maintenance cost to council and satisfy lots of property owners on the island as it gives them a lot more land," Cr Edwrads said.
Potential buyers must meet strict criteria to purchase the land, such as obtaining approval to amalgamate council land with their existing property.
The sale would only proceed if no other adjoining property owners were interested in the land and the buyer would have to cover all costs associated with the sale.
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