By Jess Baker
Southern Downs Regional Council has agreed to accept a confidential settlement agreement with the property developers of multi-million dollar Warwick residential subdivision Aleva Estate.
The company behind the estate, UKL Innovative Developments, announced today it was now fully focused on building “one of the region’s happiest neighbourhoods” after settling its rates dispute with the council.
This comes just weeks after UKL director Terry Seirlis accused SDRC of illegal and unreasonable conduct for resolving to sell land for unpaid rates.
Terry claimed that SDRC had decided to reclaim and auction 38 properties at Aleva Estate to recover “alleged overdue rates and charges” for the period of time before “critical services” were provided.
Terry told Warwick and Stanthorpe Today last month that he was more than willing to pay his “fair share”, but would not be “pushed around” by the council and would take the matter to court if necessary.
A SDRC spokeswoman told Warwick and Stanthorpe Today that the council firmly rejected UKL’s assertion that the rates in question were either unfair or unlawful.
Today, Terry said that SDRC had come to terms with UKL in favour of legal proceedings.
“We’re pleased to announce that UKL and SDRC have reached an agreement, we were able to find common ground in a meeting on Tuesday and reach a win-win outcome,” Terry said.
“UKL would like to thank SDRC Chief Executive Officer Dave Burges and officers Scott Norman and Andrew Page for their time and commitment to resolving this matter.”
In an ‘out-of-camera’ segment of the council’s 9 June ordinary meeting, the council agreed to waive the remaining balance of rates and charges for properties owned at the estate by UKL, Ties Group and Iconic Construction “following payment of the agreed settlement”.
While neither the council nor UKL have revealed what the settlement agreement reached between the parties actually is, SDRC CEO Dave Burges said that its flow-on effects would be positive for the local construction and housing industries.
“I am pleased that (the) council was able to come to an agreement with the developer on the outstanding rates and charges and development issues and that the land can now be brought to market without further uncertainty,” he said.
“Our region, like many others, is currently experiencing a housing shortage and having more land available that is ready for housing development is a bonus for the local economy no matter how you look at it.”
With the settlement behind him, Terry Seirlis said he can now turn his full attention to developing Aleva Estate.
“We’ve been averaging around four sales per month over the last few months but (we) are now picking up speed,” he said.
“We had four new sales last week and another three more contracts will be signed this week. Warwick is becoming a real attraction and Aleva Estate looks like (it will be) all sold out over the next few months.”
Terry said UKL had spent $10 million since 2017 acquiring and developing the 58-lot site, with a proposal for further developments worth $70 million now in the pipeline.