A VACANT, swampy block used by fishermen and home to the occasional paddock horse is shaping as a battleground between Moyne Shire and a developer.
Cr James Purcell wants the state government to review a decision allowing a prized piece of real estate on Port Fairy’s Moyne river to freely fall into the hands of a developer.
In December last year Peter John Mugavin won an adverse possession claim — acquiring the lot at 107 Gipps Street without cost.
Under the rules of adverse possession, land can be obtained by an individual if they can prove exclusive access for 15 years, while maintaining the property.
An application to build a house on the site has also recently been lodged with Moyne Shire planning officers.
Cr Purcell will tonight ask Moyne councillors to support a motion asking South West Coast MP and Premier Denis Napthine to immediately commence a parliamentary review into the claim, arguing it was “rushed through” the Titles Office.
“The speed at which it was done was very unusual,” he said.
“These things normally take months into years. This was weeks into months.”
Cr Purcell was a vocal critic of the claim when it was first raised in council last year, saying the river paddock had been used as public land for decades.
He said he had no personal issue with the claim but did not backtrack on his previous comments.
“I don’t have a personal vendetta against the application … but in my mind it’s always been public land,” Cr Purcell said.
In a statutory declaration obtained by Moyne Shire through Freedom of Information, Mr Mugavin stated his claim for the property, saying he had paid rates on the adjoining property and had met other criteria.
“I have paid for all rates on my property in the time that I have owned it,” he said.
Mr Mugavin also pointed out that the vacant land was not listed as a rateable property by the council.
“I have enjoyed exclusive possession and control of the possessory land since 2005, using and occupying that land as of right.”
Cr Purcell’s motion will go before councillors at Moyne’s monthly meeting in Mortlake tonight.