Monthly Archives: August 2014

URGENT – Botany Cemetery launches surprise land grab on Chinese Market Gardener – 28th August 2014

In a literal “land grab” La Perouse Chinese market gardener Robert Teng has just had some of the valuable soil he grows  in removed from the urban south east Sydney farm site he sub leases.

Laperouse Chinese market gardener Robert Teng with local supporter

Besieged Laperous Chinese market gardener Robert Teng with local supporter Carlos Da Rocha shortly before his valuable urban farming soil was scooped up for road the Botany Memorial Park cemetery is pushing through the market site. (August 2014)

In a move reported to  Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson by one outraged observer as being surely “illegal”, the neigbouring Botany Memorial Trust has scooped  up the soil yesterday and used it for a road base that it is building through the market gardens.

At 7.30pm this morning Councillor Matson was woken to the news and stated that he will be asking Randwick City Council to contact the EPA as a matter of urgency to contest the Trust’s actions.

He said,

“This is outrageous! As I understand it Chinese market gardener Robert Teng legitimately sub leases the soil and has been the victim of what seems to be a breath taking and literal ‘land grab’ by the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park”.

Currently used lots on the Laperouse Chinese Market Gardens site. Un-cultivated lot 3 is in the far, far distance.
Archival image of the Laperouse Chinese Market Gardens site adjacent to the Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park cemetary.

There has been a long running dispute between the Memorial Park and Randwick City Council as to whether the former can expand on to the long used farming land of the Market gardens site to use it for burials.

Road on laperouse market gardens Imported building fill Aug 2014 2

Imported building waste shows up in the intrusive road the Botany Memorial Park cemetery is pushing through the valuable urban food farm land on the Laperous Chinese Market gardens. (August 2014)

 

 

Councillor Matson says that he was rung early this morning by witnesses who reported that the land grab occurred yesterday in what appears to be an escalation of works associated with a roadway the Memorial Park is building on the site.

Update on City of Sydney Amendment (Elections) Bill 2014: each NSW business soon may be forced in Council elections to cast two or three votes against the single vote of each resident – 22nd August 2014

The Shooters and Fishers party have introduced a Bill into the NSW State upper house that Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson says “will see the burying of the ‘one person, one vote’ philosophy Australian democracy is based on”

Councillor Matson said this week,

“This Bill proposes culture changing legislation that could be applied to any Council in NSW. Councils will be slanted away from ownership by their residents to being more like business entities delivering for local private sector interests that will be able to brandish two votes each plus a third if they live in the electorate as well. The Bill if passed will see the burying of the ‘one person, one vote’ philosophy Australian democracy is based on.”

Pending Greens motion to Randwick City Council on City of Sydney Amendment (Elections) Bill 2014

“That Council declares its public opposition to the City of Sydney Amendment (Elections) Bill 2014 and urgently advises accordingly LGNSW, the Minister for Local Government, the Premier and the local Government spokespersons for all political parties represented in NSW Parliament. Council will also submit a motion of opposition to the upcoming LGNSW conference.”

Local Government NSW President calls on Councils to respond to the City of Sydney Amendment (Elections) Bill 2014

Debate in the upper house has been adjourned and it does not sit again until the 9th September. Today the President of the peak body for the states’ Councils, Local Government NSW, emailed Councils  highlighting the major issues he saw with the Bill and urging them to respond to its introduction before debate resumed.

  • The proposed section 25 makes it possible to extend this business voting system to any or all other councils by regulation (see proposed section 25);
  • From the point of view of existing electors (largely residents and residential ratepayers) conferring two votes on each corporation is arguably undemocratic (see proposed section 16AA Corporations);
  • The proposed system as described will create a large new workload and significant new costs to councils (see proposed sections 16AA–16AC, 16D, 18A–18E);
  • The proposed system is difficult to interpret both for businesses as participants and councils as implementers with the multiple concepts ratepayers, rate paying leaseholders and occupiers (see Definitions regarding rate paying lessee and occupier);
  • The proposed section on ensuring the non-residential roll electoral information register is not available for public inspection seems at odds with the practices relating to other electoral rolls (see proposed section 18D (5));
  • The proposed section on powers to pursue information may be giving too much power and subsequent responsibility to council (see proposed section 18D (6)).

Randwick Greens Councillor offers structural solution to Coogee Beach sewage pit odors – 20th August 2014

The offensive odors emitted during the regular cleaning of the Coogee sewage pits by Sydney Water is highly embarrassing to Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey

Coogee sewage pits being emptied 2014 REDUCED

Regular cleaning of the Coogee sewage pits produces a notorious offensive odor.

The North Ward Councillor is putting a motion to next Tuesday night’s Council meeting suggesting solutions to the State Government.

One suggestion is that sewage flowing in from suburbs outside Coogee could be diverted straight to the Malabar treatment plant rather than first being pumped down to the beach.

The Greens are also asking whether the local sewer system needs to be upgraded should residential levels increase further.

Councillor Shurey said,

“Present and past State Governments have initiated residential density increases in our area without any obvious corresponding improvements in sewage infrastructure. Do we actually know if the sewers can cope? And density increases will surely only exacerbate the offensive odor situation at Coogee.”

The Greens are worried that sewage overflows will become common as the sewerage system is forced to cope with greater use.

Councillor Shurey said,

“In heavy rainfall the water that always infiltrates the sewers may cause greater than the current amounts of raw sewage to be vented via the emergency overflow devices into the storm water pipes that lead to our beaches.”

A different but still related ecological issue is that Sydney is Australia’s only city that still pumps virtually untreated sewage into the ocean from its treatment works. The Malabar plant handles 500 mega litres per day with only primary treatment (Sydney Water, August 2013).

Councillor Shurey said,

“The sewage plant at Malabar, which deals with half of the city’s waste, removes only 50 per cent of the solids in the sewage and leaves in large amounts of nutrients and heavy metals, which can harm the environment. Other nasties include halogenated organics from pesticides, dioxins and other industrial byproducts. We need to upgrade the treatment processes from primary to at least secondary treatment level.”

Sydney Water describes primary sewage treatment as being simply the removal of solids from the waste. Secondary treatment removes nutrients and remaining solids through bacterial decomposition. This treatment involves naturally occurring biological processes and is currently in use at the Penrith treatment works.

TEXT OF GREENS MOTION TO RANDWICK CITY COUNCIL:

That Council notes the inadequacies of the Coogee sewerage pit situation, the need for a broader local sewer infrastructure improvement, and the ecological importance of secondary treatment of ocean sewage discharges. That Council responds to these issues by adopting a policy position of urging the State Government to consider the following options:

  1. The commencement of a feasibility study into constructing an earlier diversion away from Coogee of the main sewage flows from other suburbs thus achieving a more direct path to their ultimate destination at the Malabar treatment plant;
  2. Sydney Water to investigate opportunities to work collaboratively with the Council to model and project changes to pressures placed on the sewage infrastructure system under various projected population growth scenarios;
  3. The implementation of secondary treatment techniques at the Malabar treatment plant; and
  4. A State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) imposing a sewage infrastructure improvement levy on all new developments causing residential increase in the LGA.

Tomorrow night is the Sydney Premier of “2 Degrees” – 19th August 2014

As the world waits in hope for a new dawn on climate change, the video “2 Degrees” reveals the chaotic failure of the UN negotiations in Copenhagen.

It becomes chillingly clear that we cannot wait for governments to lead the way. So if commitment to act won’t come from above, perhaps the voices and actions of communities will bring the revolution that is needed.

2 Degrees takes to the streets of a Port Augusta, small Australian town, and follows the passionate efforts of local residents to replace the coal-fired power stations with solar thermal technology. The mayor of the town, a formidable 80 year old woman, leads the charge, and a determined crew of youth take their message to parliament over 300km away…on foot.

If we don’t understand the lessons from Copenhagen, we are doomed to repeat them in 2015, when the world body meets once more in Paris to conclude a legally binding agreement. From the award‐winning producer of The Burning Season and The Man Who Stole My Mother’s Face, 2 Degrees explores climate change through the prism of climate justice.

Not just another climate change film, 2 Degrees is a heart wrenching political thriller set against the backdrop of the UN climate negotiations, leading into the real solution to the world’s climate challenge: the power of the people. The film is an emotional ride from the despair of the bureaucratic process to the thrill of tapping into the transformative momentum of community revolution. Released in Australia at the Transitions Film Festival in November 2013 the film has been very well received by audiences so far. In February 2014 it won Best Byron Film at the Byron International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Environmental Film.

When: Wednesday 20 August, 6:30PM
Where
: Chauvel Cinema, Paddington
Tickets: $15 concession | $18.50 standard

Facebook event

Were Randwick residents exposed to airborne PCB dust through recent Defence Department wood chipper work over contaminated soil? – August 19 2014

Did the Department of Defence ignore a key Parliamentary safety recommendation when it recently wood chipped trees that are said to be growing over polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contaminated soil adjacent to Bundock Street Randwick?

Woodchipper adjacent Bundock Street 2014 REDUCED

Large wood chipper on “area 10” at Defence land at Bundock Street, Randwick – 23 July 2014

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson wants to know the answer.

On the 27th of July a resident sent him photographs of a large wood chipper grinding the trees into dusty mulch on an area of the Bundock Street Defence Force in Randwick known as
“area 10”.

Knowledgeable local residents were dismayed to see the chipping operation underway and asserted to Councillor Matson that there is about 21,000 cubic metres of PCB approx 400 millimetres underneath the machine.

Flood-Area-10-PCB-Zinc-Contamination REDUCED

Image supplied by Bundock Street resident of alleged government document showing PCB contamination on area 10

If so, the trees had been growing over and sending their roots down into the PCB for 10 years. As one contamination expert is reported to have said to locals, “…this is about the most dangerous thing they could do’. ”

In February 2003 the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works recommended that Defence appoint an “appropriate regulatory body” to monitor contamination remediation works on the site.

Public Works Committee Recommendation 2 suplus Defence Land at Bundock Street Randwick February 2003

Public Works Committee Recommendation 2 concerning contamination on suplus Defence Force Land at Bundock Street Randwick – February 2003

This was to “ensure that proper health, safety and environmental controls are exercised.” If Defence ever did put an appropriate regulatory body in charge it must be asked was it actually doing anything useful last week?

Councillor Matson has a motion going to the next Randwick City Council meeting. He this week,

“I will be asking Randwick City Council to inquire of the Commonwealth Government why local residents had to watch PCB contaminated material being turned into dust across the road from their homes and families.”

TEXT OF GREENS RANDWICK CITY COUNCIL MOTION

“That Council asks the Department of Defence whether an appropriate regulatory body monitored the execution of recent contamination works involving the chipping of trees on area 10 at its Bundock Street property in accordance with recommendation 2 made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works in February 2003.”

CBD to South East Light Rail light rail interchange issue: “Fair Go For Randwick” campaigner suggests re-think of High Street to save High Cross Park – 10 August 2014

Randwick City Greens Councillor Murray Matson is on the Council working group recently set up to try and save High Cross Park by scoping out alternative sites for the planned bus/light rail interchange facility.

Attached is a plan using an adjacent section of High Street in Randwick that Randwick CIty Council (RCC) has been trying since the middle of last year to convince the Government to accept as one possible alternative.

RCC preferred interchange site in High St page 1 CROPPED

Randwick City Council wants the planned CSELR light rail interchange moved out of High Cross Park into adjacent High Street, Randwick.

The attractiveness of it is that the CSLER interchange could be contained wholly within the boundaries of the High Street road alignment. It would be one way of removing the need for High Cross Park to be used that did not involve the acquisition of property. The working group will be re-examining this option plus researching new possible sites.

RCC preferred interchange site in High St

A CBD to South East Light Rail interchange relocated into High Street could be designed to avoid using acquired property.


Unfortunately the resolution to Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey’s motion that set up this working group has now had a rescission motion lodged against it by the Labor Councillors. Labor has also rescinded the reworked draft Development Agreement which sought to lock TfNSW into considering the research outcomes of the interchange working group.
Councillor Matson considers that Labor is being obstructionist for political purposes.

He said today,

“It is frustrating that Labor is so unrelenting in blocking the Greens efforts to find ways of saving High Cross Park. Labor believes that it will gain ground in the coming state and council elections if it can lock the Council into a confrontation with the State Government by killing off opportunities for positive light rail design changes. Negativity may win Labor votes in the short term but will cost the community big time in the long run.”

Possible CSELR light rail interchange alternatives: Mayoral Minute to say NO to acquisition of medical practices – Aug 6 2014

The Greens say compulsory acquisitions of medical premises in High Street and Belmore Road will not happen.

Councillor Lindsay Shurey said that the Greens have talked to Randwick Mayor Scott Nash today who has agreed with them that no medical premises should be acquired for an alternative site for the light rail interchange presently intended for High Cross Park.

She said,

“The High Street and Belmore Road medical practices will be removed from the list of possible alternative sites for the contentious light rail interchange planned in High Cross Park.”

The Greens say that the Mayor will be bringing forward a Mayoral Minute to the next meeting recommending to Councillors that medical premises or practices be removed from the list of possibilities. This list of sites is called the “Feasible Interchange Alternatives”.

Greens Councillor Murray Matson elaborated on the discussions held with the Mayor and said,

“It was agreed that the Mayoral Minute will recommend to Councillors that they now restrict the range of alternative interchange sites by limiting them to the use of non-medical practices. Council’s preferred solution has always been that the road reserve of High Street be used. This if accepted by the Government would thus mean that no property acquisitions would be necessary.”

Fair Go For Randwick: Randwick Council pushes ahead with Greens rescue plan for High Cross Park by offering re-drafted Development Agreement to the Government – 4th August 2014

The Greens rescue plan to save High Cross Park moved on last Tuesday when Randwick Council voted to offer it to the Government as part of a redrafted light rail development agreement.

Councillor Lindsay Shurey said that her plan would scope out the best of four possible alternative sites that the contentious light rail interchange could be moved to.

She said,

“The community needs the development agreement to refer to the finding of an alternative interchange site to that of High Cross Park as a key component of Council’s Fair Go For Randwick’ campaign. If we can’t successfully promote and offer a reasonable alternative site the Government will simply default to using High Cross Park and forcibly acquire it from the Council. My rescue plan motion listed four such possible sites.”

But Councillor Shurey said the Greens are now reluctant to support any acquisition of property used for medical purposes following representations from doctors with practices around the park.

She continued,

“But following addresses from doctors at the last Council meeting it is clear that we need options that avoid any significant disruption to current medical services along High Street and Belmore Road.”

Councillor Shurey stated that there was a danger of losing the opportunity for a change if the Minister thought the Council was not serious about an alternative site. She said,

“There is a window of opportunity before the state election that will close if Council does not present the Minister with a viable alternative proposition.”

The four interchange options proposed for study by the Greens are:

  • Acquiring property on the east side of Belmore Road opposite the park, which the Greens disfavour as it is will impact on medical services;
  • Acquiring property on the north side of High Street at the intersection with Belmore Road and Avoca Streets, which the Greens also disfavour as it too will impact on medical services;
  • Reverting to the Council’s previously preferred choice of a facility built wholly within High Street itself just down from the intersection and closer to the hospitals. This was previously supported by Transport for NSW; and
  •  A facility wholly within the top of Coogee Bay Road to the east of the Park.

Labor is resisting the Greens proposal and has put in rescission motions against both the development agreement decision from last Tuesday night and Councillor Shurey’s original rescue plan resolution of the previous week.