The following communique from the residents campaigning to prevent construction of a concrete switchback path in the Gully was issued on Tuesday evening.
The President of the Glebe Society, Lesley Lynch, has written about the campaign to save the Gully in the current edition of the Society's Bulletin. She writes, in part: "The Glebe Society has been involved in planning for this site since the 1970s and is fully with the residents in their current stand…
"While appreciating the difficulties the Council will have in varying an approved DA, it is to be hoped that the conflict and division of the last council meeting are not the end of the formal process. "
Following Tuesday's events, Lesley commented: "This can get a lot nastier – I am going to ring councilors again and see if we can help persuade movement…."
by Michela and Chris
For those that were not there, today (Tuesday, 24 March) was quite an extraordinary day at Orphan School Creek.
At just after 7am there were 20 local residents protecting the site from work on the path. Included in this group were Councillors Meredith Burgmann and Chris Harris.
The sub-contractor Paul Glasscott of Glasscotts (the landscaper and path builder) indicated to all that he was prepared to cease all work on the path until after the Extraordinary
Meeting of City of Sydney Council. This meeting has been called for by Councillors and must be held within 14 days and 3 days notice must be given. You will have received what the Councillors are requesting. Paul Glascott indicated that there was plenty of other work to do on site and he could re-arrange things and it was not necessary to work on the path.
The consensus of the residents was to go along with this plan.
However, Ari Bonoush of Frasers, (principal Contractor/developer) was in contact with the City of Sydney.
Michael Leyland, Director for Public Works for the City of Sydney came on site and spoke to the protesters. The residents indicated that they would leave if an agreement was made to cease work on the path until the Extraordinary meeting of the Council. Mr Leyland said he would go back to Town Hall and get back to the residents in an hour. At this time, a delivery truck for Glascotts was being prevented from entering by residents. We determined to stop this truck until receiving a response from Council.
No one from the City of Sydney came to tell us what the decision was, instead Ari Bonoush received a phone call and then he addressed the residents on behalf of the City of Sydney. He indicated that he had been advised by the City of Sydney to commence work on the path and that he was ordering us to leave the worksite.
Duty Officer Inspector Sean Daley indicated that he had spoken to Monica Barone, CEO of the City of Sydney. She had apparently asked him to move us along if we did not move voluntarily. Even given all the controversy surrounding this issue and the fact that the city heard six people speak against this path and witnessed the tabling of a petition with 360 signatures, the City of Sydney refused to compromise by waiting for the extraordinary meeting called for by its own elected Councillors but instead asked for a peaceful protest to be broken up. Funny way to treat your Councillors and residents (and the ratepayers of the project).
After a group meeting between residents, and given the police direction, most of us left united with Meredith Burgmann. Ms Susan Stringfellow of City Quarter decided that she would not leave.
Four NSW Police removed Ms Stringfellow by force (Susan looked wonderful being carried by these four burly cops whilst still carrying her umbrella!). The police then forcibly removed Susan as she stood in front of the truck. Susan really was wonderful. The police declined to press charges.
The police were very charming and polite. One of them said he didn’t think this was police work. The Inspector looked shocked when we showed him how the plan had changed. He complimented Susan on her protesting!
We believe the Daily Telegraph will have a story tomorrow as will the Inner West Courier (on line).
So that we are all better informed, everyone should consider whether they are willing to get forcibly removed from the site – with the knowledge that this could mean arrest and charge if the police determine it necessary.
I think we are left with no option but to repeat this again tomorrow morning (Wednesday). The Councillors have indicated they will be there to support us.