The messy saga of developing the former Pasminco lead smelter site at Boolaroo has taken another twist after the company behind a 750-lot housing subdivision launched legal action against the land’s owner.
Property developer Green Capital Group agreed in 2015 to buy two parcels totalling about 66 hectares from Pasminco Cockle Creek Smelter (PCCS), the company set up by the smelter’s administrator, Ferrier Hodgson.
The sale of the smaller parcel, containing about 140 house lots, has proceeded and the land is being sold.
But the larger 600-lot site is now the subject of a civil action which landed in the Supreme Court on Monday for a directions hearing.
Green Capital Group is arguing that PCCS has not complied with conditions of the sale by an agreed date.
PCCS, which was established after the smelter went into administration in 2001, was formerly in a joint venture with the McCloy Group to develop part of the smelter site, but this fell over in 2012.
A letter to Pasminco’s creditors at the time said the ‘‘termination by McCloys was primarily due to their concerns about ongoing litigation’’ between Pasminco and Incitec, which ran a neighbouring fertiliser plant.
Businessman and then Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy said a range of factors had contributed to the group’s decision to withdraw from the agreement.
A 17-year saga
The Newcastle Herald has reported on several other legal cases involving PCCS, and the company will be in the Land and Environment Court on Wednesday with the NSW Department of Planning over a proposed rezoning of part of the site.
PCCS was also involved in a recent Supreme Court case over the building of a stormwater pipe on a section of the smelter land developed by Bunderra Holdings, part of The Stevens Group.
It has also applied to the Department of Planning to remove conditions requiring it to fund future maintenance, funding and monitoring of a 45-metre-deep lead containment cell on the site.
As reported in the Herald last week, PCCS said in its application that it could not afford to pay for future monitoring until it sells part of the land to IKEA for $22 million in late 2019 at the earliest.
The company says it will earn an estimated $57.7 million in land sales at Boolaroo, including $11.5 million for a Costco store.
The Green Capital Group housing estate was being marketed as Bunderra at the Lake but is now known as Weemala at the Lake.
The Herald attempted to contact PCCS for comment.
Green Capital Group declined to comment.