Grant Gibson simply wants Dalwood Street brought up to the same standard as the streets surrounding it in Greta.
Despite being in the heart of the town, the street is unsealed, has no kerb and guttering, drainage or town water – unlike the streets nearby.
Under the impression Dalwood Street was a council-owned road, Mr Gibson has been calling for the street to be upgraded since 2016.
But following inquiries with NSW Land Registry Services, Cessnock City Council says Dalwood Street has never been formally dedicated to council and is considered to be a private road.
A council spokesperson said NSW Land Registry Services’ search revealed that the owner of Dalwood Street was the original grantee – John Wyndham – and there was no evidence of dedication or vesting of Dalwood Street to council.
Mr Gibson disputes this, and in his research (which he provided to the council) found a Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser article stating that the street was dedicated to the then-Greta Municipal Council in October 1890.
Mr Gibson addressed the council’s July 18 meeting, when the status of Dalwood Street was brought to the table, with council given the options to leave it as is, or dedicate the road and assume responsibility for it.
Council voted that night to retain the street’s status quo, but the issue will return to council this Wednesday night after a rescission motion was lodged requesting further investigation.
Mr Gibson said his research “categorically confirms” that Dalwood Street has had public monies spent on it, therefore the council intended it to be a public road.
The development approvals for his property, and two others in the street, referred to the “public road known as Dalwood Street”. He said council’s spatial mapping systems also indicated this when he purchased the property.
Ultimately, Mr Gibson would like to see the road upgraded and town water installed.
“It’s a dirt track – the garbage truck has to reverse down it,” he said.
“All the other streets around us are on town water.
“When sewerage was implemented in Greta it was afforded to Dalwood Street, so at some point it was thought to be public.
”Future public monies need not be wasted to confirm the status.
“Administrative actions need to be taken to reflect the correct status of this street and upgrades need to be completed by council.”
Council voted 7-4 in favour of the recommendation (to not pursue dedication of the land as public road) on July 18, after an amendment by independent councillor Ian Olsen that council dedicate the street was voted down.
Cr Olsen, along with Liberal councillors Rod Doherty and Paul Dunn, signed the rescission motion that will be tabled at the August 1 meeting.
The rescission motion requests further investigation into the ownership of Dalwood Street and who owns all the properties facing the street.
However, a change in ownership would not necessarily guarantee an upgrade of the road.
Cessnock City Council’s existing unsealed council roads policy states that council will not seal any existing council gravel roads unless the property owner is prepared to contribute 100 percent, an external funding grant is received, and it has been identified for works within the council’s 10-year strategic plan.
Cr Olsen says councillors should be supporting the residents.
“Until a resident asked for work to be done on the street, council were collecting Section 94 funds for the road, believing it was a council road,” he said.
“Until the road is formed these residents can't get town water supplied to their houses, yet every street around them has town water supply.
“Council has made the mistake of ownership and not the residents, and we have a duty to look after these residents.”
Cr Doherty said the council has a “moral obligation to approve it as a street”.
Cr Dunn said it was important to recognise that who owns the street, and whether it should be sealed, are “completely different issues, not to be confused”.