Present Randwick, Waverley and Woollhara Council residents have until the 28th of February to make submissions to the Boundaries Commission inquiry on how the new merged eastern suburb’s Council should be run.
Late last week the NSW Government told General Managers across the state that its’ new Councils “will be proclaimed in mid 2016 and commence immediately”. This means that Randwick, Waverley and Woolhara Councils as we know them will soon no longer exist.
Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson is calling for a barrage of submissions urging that “proportional voting of at least 3 councillors per ward” be retained as the way future Councillors are elected to this new eastern suburbs body. He said,
“It is crucial maintain grass roots representation by keeping proportional voting of at least three councillors per ward as the way future Councillors are elected to the new Council. I have no doubt that vested interests will be thinking ‘gerrymander time’. They will be making submissions urging that restrictive electoral hurdles are put in the path of independent and minor party candidates to keep the community voice from being heard in Council meetings.”
This morning James Macdonald the Greens candidate for the federal seat of Kingsford Smith visited the site of the Centennial Park trees removals with Greens Councillor Murray Matson.
Mr Macdonald said that: “The NSW Government has turned Alison Road into a moonscape. The light rail system might paper over the scars but the heritage and beauty of the trees has been lost forever”
Friday 10th January 2016. Construction workers commence removing the canopy of Centennial Park trees in the way of the changed alignment of the CSELR light rail line Along Alison Road, Randwick.
By Monday only two large figs survive on the far right of the construction site remain. The rest are now part of the sea of wood chips stretching into the distance along the bike path.
Councillor Matson said,
“The results of the Government’s capriciousness in destroying the these Centennial Park trees after changing the agreed on alignment of the Alison road light rail alignment is not inspiring. How will future State Governments now be able to ask local Councils for a cooperative working relationship to bring in need transport infrastructure after Randwick Council has been seen to be treated like this in the last few days?”
Disputed tree removals from Centennial Park commenced on Wednesday night despite Randwick Council complaints that the NSW Government has breached the spirit of a signed development agreement by making a late change to the CSELR light rail alignment
Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey says the removals were “never necessary”. She elaborates:
“I think this is a clear indication that the gambling lobby speaks louder than the environment lobby. The light rail route should have stayed on the racecourse side, using racecourse land as agreed. It was certainly never necessary to have taken those trees as time could have been made for negotiations. Premier Mike Baird pushed the decision on to Mr Constance, who refused to take calls or answer emails. Both Liberal MP for Coogee Bruce Notely-Smith and Mike Baird are environmental vandals in my eyes.”
Fellow Greens Councillor Murray Matson commented on the “lost opportunity to forge a constructive relationship with Randwick Council to continue to deliver needed transport improvement”. He said,
“Randwick Council could not have been more supportive than it has of the CBD to South East Light Rail project and we have surely earned the right to be treated as the key local stake holder over that of the Racecourse. The Government should have recognised that it needed to stand up for a supportive local Council that wanted both improved public transport and a thriving urban forest.”
Greens ask for twitter and emails to the Premier Mike Baird () and Bruce Notley-Smith () calling for a postponement of tomorrow’s rumored tree removals.
Greens state MP and party NSW transport spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi MLC (1st row, 2nd left) with Randwick Greens Councillors Murray Matson (1st row, 4th left) and Lindsay Shurey (1st row, 3rd left) ) at the adopt-a-tree rally on Alison Road.
Fifty to one hundred residents, environmentalists and politicians braved today’s rain to attend the ‘adopt-a-tree’ rally on behalf of the Centennial Park trees threatened by the contentious realigning of the CBD to South East Light Rail line along Alison Road, Randwick.
The highly unpopular tree removals are rumored to be about to occur tomorrow (January 7th) but Greens Councillor Murray Matson says that Randwick Council and the State Government can sit down and work out an alternative strategy if the Premier postpones the operation.
He said after the rally:
“Political intervention by Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith and Premier Mike Baird is the only thing that can now stop the Centennial Park tree removals. I call upon anyone who can to email or tweet them.”
Present at today’s rally were: Jeff Angel (Total Environment Centre), Randwick Greens Councillors Murray Matson and Lindsay Shurey, Randwick Labor Councillors Greg Moore and Tony Bowen, Federal Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite and Greens state MP and party NSW transport spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi MLC.
Greens Councillor Murray Matson is making a last ditch call on local MP Bruce Notley-Smith to intervene to postpone “unnecessary” tree removals expected very soon on the CSELR light rail line along Alison Road, Randwick
The Greens want Liberal MP Bruce Notley-Smith to intervened and gain Randwick Council time to negotiate the saving of Centennial Park trees along the Alison Road CSELR light rail route.
Randwick City Council has erected signs along the road disputing that the removals are necessary.
The usually fanatically pro-light rail Council called foul last year when the NSW Government moved the planned rail alignment to the north side of Alison Road thus impacting on significant trees in Centennial Park and a well-used bike path to the CBD.
This alignment change is locally contentious because it was announced after the Council had signed a painfully worked out development agreement for the line with the Government on issues such as tree losses.
Councillor Matson has called on Mr Notley-Smith to “just do enough to get the Council a time extension so we can sit down with the Government and work out a solution in the same way both parties did to solve the High Cross Park tree issue.”
He elaborated further on the significance of the signed development agreement the Council has with the Government by saying;
“It is debatable whether the CBD to South East Light Rail project would have ever got off the ground without the decade long support by Randwick Council. Councillors have been very proactive in working with the Government to advance the idea and we understood that some trees would have to go.
But the development agreement that we signed was also supposed to maximise the number of trees that could be retained along the construction route. So changing the alignment from the south side of Alison Road to the north side along Centennial Park should have been a key tree issue flagged with the Councillors before we signed the agreement – but it was not.”