Greetings to all on our contact list,
On Tuesday the Land & Environment Court (L&E) conducted a site inspection at Channel 9 as part of the Conciliation Conference. The main purpose of this meeting was for the L&E Commissioner to familiarise herself with the site and to enable the 3 legal teams (one each, representing Channel 9, the PAC and Willoughby Council) to start discussions.
At the site Willoughby Council were able to have a limited number of residents to provide evidence of the impact of the proposed development on them and their neighbours. The speakers yesterday all live immediately adjacent to Channel 9 and are among those who will be most affected by Channel 9’s development. Hillary from Castlevale, Andrew from Richmond Ave and Brendan from Edward St were articulate, concise and on message – they did a great job. However the star speaker for the community was Alf (Walter St) who in a measured, considered and personal manner was able to explain to the L&E Commissioner the overshadowing impact of Channel 9’s proposed towers on him and his Walter St Neighbours; it was a great effort.
The earlier legal advice that we had received, that a community crowd at this site meeting could be counterproductive, was exactly right. It was not the right forum to demonstrate numbers and the community’s limited presence was very appropriate.
Nothing substantive was determined yesterday and the Conciliation Conference will reconvene on the 23rd October. Our role in this process, as a community, may have come to an end. There is a chance that community members may be recalled by the L&E Court to give further evidence at a subsequent hearing but nothing is certain in regard to this. We are now largely in the hands of the L&E court and the legal teams engaged by the PAC and Willoughby Council.
We are very fortunate that Willoughby Council decided to take on Channel 9 and be joined as a respondent to their appeal. They have engaged a first class legal team who will ensure that the planning issues involved are properly presented. By doing so, Willoughby Council have committed to spend a significant amount on legal costs in order to protect the community’s interests. On behalf of the community we say thank you for their commitment and action and especially so to the Strategic Planning team of Director, Greg Woodhams, team leader Linda McLure and our major contact, Lara Nguyen.
So for now it’s a case of “wait and see”. We’ll keep you posted as things unfold.
Bob Taffel and the WAAG Team