Court adjourned – probably until 18th October 8.10.10

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There is still more evidence to be heard in the case of Parks and Playgrounds vs Newcastle City Council so the case was adjourned today until October 18th 2010.You know the details of how council is planning to take these trees out: th Roads Act. We all know our council officers have spent almost a year trying to convince elected councillors and the public that these trees are a risk and I think I’ve written before about how the general manager said the law the council  will use to remove the trees is Section 88 of the Roads Act which I don’t think I’ve reproduced before; it says:

88  Tree felling

A roads authority may, despite any other Act or law to the contrary, remove or lop any tree or other vegetation that is on or overhanging a public road if, in its opinion, it is necessary to do so for the purpose of carrying out road work or removing a traffic hazard.

The definition of a traffic hazard is:

“traffic hazard” means a structure or thing that is likely:

(a) to obscure or limit the view of the driver of a motor vehicle on a public road, or

(b) to be mistaken for a traffic control device, or

(c) to cause inconvenience or danger in the use of a public road, or(d) to be otherwise hazardous to traffic.

We’ve all said it before but how can all 14 trees be a hazard, and all at once. And how convenient that the trees were voted to be destroyed the same date the DA for the Art Gallery extension is produced. The DA is available to view so go to your local library and see how the trees fare in that document. And we have said that sadly the court is not likely to concern itself with the reasonableness of her judgement that the trees are a hazard.

Jack Mundy gave the campaign to save the figs his support today. He was an amazingly effective force in saving the Rocks in Sydney from the Askin Government in the 1970s through pressure from his union, the Builders’ Labourers’ federation, and their Green Bans campaign. Couldn’t we use a Green Ban in Laman Street. Good luck with that.

(A propos of nothing, I remember the headlines the moment Premier Askin died,  alleging his longstanding corruption. I just read Askin allegedly received the equivalent of $1 million a year in today’s terms from organised crime. I still miss the National Times newspaper.)

And back onto trees, and away from corruption, if you want a good read about tree safety development look at page 6 of the minutes from the August 17th 2010 meeting in council. It calls removing the trees ‘Stage 1’. Does that sound like a traffic hazard? They call it a design framework.

And on 1st June 2010 there was a confidential council meeting in which tenders for outsourced tree work was discussed. This was for a total of about $430 000. The three successful companies were named in the minutes. I thought at the time I read this that it sounded like the amount of money that had been estimated for the removal of the Laman Street figs and wondered whether this was why it was going to be confidential. I am looking forward to seeing how many of these companies do work in the street if/when the trees go. I wonder what sort of compensation they have to be offered if the trees don’t go. OMG – they’ll have to find some other big trees to compensate them with. Watch out.

And off topic, I have heard of two people with amazing persistence while we have been trying to keep this avenue of trees. A man in another state worked to save some vegetation from a freeway because, among other things, there were platypuses in the area. It took him 8 years and he and others managed to get a 700 metre tunnel under the area. The other worked for twelve years trying to save a disused school from becoming a housing development; the locals had used the land as a park for years. They were defeated by the casting vote of their Lord Mayor who had said he supported them. ‘Night.  Home

Council's arborist insisted these figs be protected during development

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One Response to “Court adjourned – probably until 18th October 8.10.10”

  1. chatty Says:

    “Council’s alternative case” it’s called.

    Are the trees a “traffic hazard” or “part of the design framework of the Civic Precinct Redevelopment?”

    Well, it’s up to the Land and Environment Court judge to work that one out, as Council said they don’t care which one it is, it’s which ever one allows them to cut the trees down….

    Ever heard anything like that?

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