A FLOOD-PRONE parcel of riverside land in Port Fairy owned by three long-dead men will become the topic of debate tonight at Moyne Shire Council.
Cr James Purcell has promised to challenge a property claim made against the site, a popular fishing spot beside the Moyne River bridge.
An application to freely acquire the land, known as an adverse possession claim, has been made for the site at 107 Gipps Street, which is often used by local fishermen to access the river.
Under rules of the claim, an occupier of the land can acquire ownership of the property if they can prove they have uninterrupted and exclusive possession of the land for at least 15 years. However, Cr Purcell will tonight put forward a motion for council to oppose the claim on the grounds that the 4463-square-metre block should be reserved for public use.
According to local historian Marten Syme, the listed owners of the property are three men who belonged to a syndicate in the 19th century.
“It’s got quite an interesting historical background — it’s been in possession of this syndicate since 1885,” Mr Syme said.
A form lodged with Land Victoria — an office within the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) — names the applicant as Peter John Mugavin of Essendon.
If no challenge is made against the claim the land could fall into the applicant’s hands in less than 30 days. Mr Mugavin will not have to pay a purchase price for the land.
Cr Purcell told The Standard the prominent parcel of land, which sits in the shadow of the Moyne River bridge, should be reserved for public use.
“This is one of the most popular fishing spots in Port Fairy,” Cr Purcell said.
“I find it impossible to understand how anyone can claim it. I just think it’s completely unreasonable.”
Cr Purcell said he suspected a claim on the land had been made in order to build a riverfront property.
It is unclear if it would be legal to build on the low-lying land.
While the area was prone to flooding, a developer would still be able to construct a home outside the flood zone, Cr Purcell explained.
But a local real estate source also told The Standard that the entire site was a declared flood zone and that no home could be built there. “It’s worthless unless you want to put a horse on it,” he said.
Cr Purcell also raised concerns that the land would be needed for future work on the Moyne River bridge.
Mr Mugavin was unavailable for comment yesterday.