Cottage ownership to be transferred

Cottage ownership to be transferred

Ahistorical anomaly may result in Crown Land being dedicated to Mount Gambier City Council.

The matter was brought to the attention of elected members during council’s September monthly meeting.

Governance and Property manager Michael McCarthy reported that Sexton’s Cottage at the Lake Terrace Cemetery has never been in council ownership or custody, despite having been maintained by council.

As a result, Mr McCarthy said council officers have communicated with the Crown Lands section of the Department of Environment and Water (DEW).

“Noting the anomaly, (DEW) have assessed the land as appropriate to be dedicated under the custodianship of the City of Mount Gambier,” Mr McCarthy said.

As part of the agreement council would be responsible for any improvements.

“Whilst this is a formality not previously documented, to date council has maintained and managed the whole of the site as if it were its own,” Mr McCarthy said.

“There are no real implications associated with this condition, other than to affirm the previously understood position.”

Mr McCarthy reported no changes to the manner in which the cemetery land is managed are envisaged.

“The land, being dedicated has legal implications for leasing and licensing by council, as well as the rights and obligations for access and maintaining the land and assets located upon it,” he said.

The proposal in the report is intended to formally establish the arrangements, that were thought by various stakeholders to already be in place.

Cr Paul Jenner moved that council’s chief executive Sarah Philpott and Mayor Lynette Martin be authorised to execute any documentation necessary to accept and give effect to a dedication.

The recommendation was seconded by Cr Josh Lynagh and had the full support of other elected members in attendance at the meeting.

Following formal notification of the dedication to council as custodian, a process will need to be initiated to formally include the subject land in the Lake Terrace Cemetery community land management plan.

Despite the land has been included in council’s current plan since 2003, it is considered technically invalid as it is not classified as community land under council’s control.

The Mount Gambier History Group has been using the cottage as its meeting place since 1989, leasing it from the council.

It is used for cemetery enquiries and when the history group presents cemetery tours.

Lake Terrace Cemetery dates from 1861, while the Gothic styled sexton’s cottage was built in 1904.

According to historical records, the sexton Mr Richard Unwin had the use of two rooms, while visiting clergy used the third room.

Tenders for renovation of the cottage, or Lodge as it was known at the time, were called in 1916.

The cottage was further extensively refurbished by the council in 1988.

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