A BIT RICH: Leda chairman Bob Ell and (inset) Leda's Ipswich land. Ipswich City Council wants to acquire the bottom parcel.
A BIT RICH: Leda chairman Bob Ell and (inset) Leda's Ipswich land. Ipswich City Council wants to acquire the bottom parcel.

Riverlink chair slams council's land grab as 'insulting'

ONE of Australia's richest men has issued a stinging letter to Ipswich City Council for what he says is an attempt to steal valuable land on the river.

Bob Ell, chairman of Leda Holdings which owns Riverlink Shopping Centre, is fighting for "fair" compensation.

The council intends to acquire 16ha of Leda's North Ipswich land at a cost of $325,000 for a cycle path.

The site, adjacent to the railway workshops and Bremer River, was a highly-contaminated site when Mr Ell purchased it in the early 2000s.

He said major rehabilitation and remediation work cost $5million, and was done after the council "let a chance go by" to purchase the land.

Mr Ell said plans for the development were "now in limbo" because of the council's proposed land resumption to extend the Brassall Bikeway.

His letter to the council and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was seen by the QT.

"Even though this parcel of land is a central plan to our multi-million dollar development plans, council has offered an insulting $325,000 as payment, in the full knowledge that we spent millions in extensive rehabilitation and remediation," Mr Ell wrote.

"What the public doesn't know is that we had already gone to council and offered free right-of-way through the land for the bicycle path.

"Council is considering shelling out ratepayer's money to acquire something where there is no need to."

 

Leda's plans for development at North Ipswich.
Leda's plans for development at North Ipswich. Contributed

The council said it was negotiating the acquisition of the land with Leda and hoped to resolve it amicably.

Mr Ell feared the course had been set.

"I am now concerned that council will instead ride over the top of us and use state laws to effectively steal this land from us at a ridiculous price," he said. "Like other former decisions that the sacked council made, it should be reviewed and I hope reversed."

Mr Ell also took aim at the council's previous decisions, including the $43 million purchase of the "crumbling shell of a shopping centre in the CBD".