Open Letter to the Honorable Barry O' Farrell MP,
Premier of NSW
Plan of Management identified Trees: Civic Cultural Precinct - Newcastle
The State must intervene at Civic Newcastle because of the Council's wrong conduct in inappropriately using Sec.88 of the Roads Act to clear Laman Street for widening into Civic Park to progress an unortherised development.
Every park in Newcastle is governed by a Plan of Management (PoM) indeed every public park in NSW has a PoM. This is a statutory requirement under the Local Government Act 1993. Crown Reserves in Newcastle like King Edward Headland Reserve have a PoM under the requirements of the Crown Lands Act.
Newcastle Council is morally and legally bound to respect the official plans of management and only approve complying developments. If a Council wishes to carry out other developments they must lawfully amend the PoM.
This machinery is there to bring a transparent and open approach to the management of public lands and parks and to give citizens a chance to make formal input with an independent public hearing.
The PoM for the Civic Cultural Precinct identified the Fig Trees in Laman street as a principal landscape feature and to be only subjected to minor pruning to maintain the vista.
By invoking the Roads Act to circumvent the provisions of the PoM and remove these significant trees is wrong conduct as there are no road works being done and there is no credible traffic hazard.
Newcastle Council should be caring for the trees and carrying out minor pruning as required by the Plan of Management.
Newcastle needs help to provide an independent risk assessment of the trees because the Council's risk reports are extravagantly exaggerated to justify a basis for invoking the Roads Act S88.
The people of Newcastle are outraged and need honest help.
Doug Lithgow Freeman of the City of Newcastle
President Parks and Playgrounds Movement Inc.