From the Newsroom

Dave Schwarz has no intention of paying anymore licence fees for his pontoon, unless he is refunded the fees erroneously levied by Clarence Valley Council. Image: Geoff Helisma.

No cake, no pay

Geoff Helisma|


At the July 27 Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting, staff recommended to not “refund fees paid for tenure agreements allowing construction and use of water recreation structures” in several canal waterways in Yamba.

The discussion was prompted by self-confessed keyboard warrior Dave Schwarz, whose “confidential” letter had requested the refund of the “erroneous” fees – councillors came up with a compromise: remove the pontoons and a refund will be forthcoming.

However, Mr Schwarz has vowed, at least on his part, that it will not happen.

“I’m gonna get the money back anyway, because I’m never gonna pay a cent,” he said.

He said he won’t pay for a new licence until he’s “recovered 20-years of illegal jetty licences, plus compound interest, at their rate”.

When asked if he expected his neighbours or any of the other 151 pontoon owners to remove their structures in order to obtain a refund, he said, “I’ve got a few who will fight with me, but most of them are totally apathetic.

“The bullshit of having to take your pontoon down to get your refund defies any logical thought whatsoever.”

Since the 2014/15 financial, up until the 2020/21 year, CVC levied a total of $61,221 for water structures.

Staff advised councillors: “In 2016, it was found that actions and resolutions of the former pre-amalgamation councils for the area were erroneous in relation to the classification of certain public lands owned by Council.

“The result being that many public land parcels that were intended to be classified as Operational defaulted to the Community classification by virtue of the provisions of the Local Government Act 1993.

“As the land is currently classified Community, Council can request the removal of all water recreation structures.

“The recommendation of this report follows the premise that the licence fee for use of the land was issued in good faith, and in return for payment the ratepayer/s received a substantial and private benefit that would not otherwise have been available to them.”