PORT Stephens councillors will be called to an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to once again address a controversial land case.
Councillors failed to record a vote on rescinding the 2011 acquisition of the Stockton Bight Track at last Tuesday's ordinary meeting after not enough voted for the motion and no alternative was put forward, leaving the council's land and environment court case with the track's original owners, the Towers family, in a state of limbo.
Councillor Geoff Dingle said he believed general manager Peter Gesling would use the meeting to try to convince councillors to support the motion they rejected last week.
"He's calling the meeting because he didn't get the answer he wanted last week so he is arguing he hasn't got a motion to bring this to the courts," Cr Dingle said.
"From the tone of what I have heard there is a suggestion we [the councillors] didn't understand the issue so he has to run another briefing."
Mr Gesling said an agenda for the meeting had not yet been released to councillors.
"The agenda items have yet to be finalised and will be available to Councillors and the public on Friday," Mr Gesling said.
"It is likely that any information relating to the Stockton Bight Track would be confidential."
According to a report council would be forced to pilfer money used to fund other activities if it chose to defend the $8.55 million legal case.
"Should council choose to continue [defending] the current [land and environment court] proceedings, legal costs are likely to exceed the annual legal budget and additional costs will need to be paid from funds otherwise used for other council activities."
The case has the potential to cost the council about $1.4 million, a real estimate given on legal advice of the current $8.55 million being claimed by the Towers.
"[The] council relied on advice from its property department, as was the practice for many years and did not obtain formal legal advice [prior to the acquisition]," the report states.
Two parties, including MacKa's Sands and the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council (WLALC) have written to the council rejecting an option to rescind. The WLALC said the track provides "a valuable asset to elders" and it gives access to "adjoining lands of cultural significance." Meanwhile, Port Cr Frank Ward will lodge a notice of motion before the council urging it to sit down with the Towers family and negotiate a settlement.