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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Friday, 28 August 2009
Sandminer dupes Environment Court for approval to 2021 within world heritage precinct?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: local news


Picture: Why isn't the creek flowing? Stakeholder inspection downstream of sand mine 14 March 2007 with hydrologist expert retained by Hawkesbury City Council sixth from left. Taken by SAM editor.


Picture: Upstream at the quarry which is located right on the headwaters of Tinda Creek. Sand dredge using cutter suction pump in closed loop operation. Picture taken 14 March 2007 by SAM editor.


Last week 18th August, Commissioner Brown of the NSW Land & Environment Court took 3 hours to consider his position and deliver a judgement at 3 pm. This followed a day and half of hearing including a half day inspection of the quarry originally approved retrospectively in 1996, having operated mostly illegally since 1984.

This writer was pro bono legal agent for two brave objectors William Sneddon and Neville Diamond two environmentalists with a long experience in the Hawkesbury region. Other neighbours are too nervous to go public with their objections against sandminer Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd owned by managing director Tom Bruce. Mine manager is Ray Bygraves. Their consultant is Peter Jamieson, an engineer and director of Umwelt Consulting. He is pictured above on crutches.

Lawyers for Birdon are Russel Byrnes based at Surrey Hills in Sydney with his own interests in sandmining and related by marriage to the Bruce family, and John Webster veteran barrister of Martin Place Chambers in the Reserve Bank building. Webster charges up to $6,000 per day. More of these characters below.

So what was the misleading evidence we refer to in the headline? First we should outline the offence under clause 283 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 as follows:


False or misleading statements - 283 False or misleading statements

"A person is guilty of an offence if the person makes any statement, knowing it to be false or misleading in an important respect, in or in connection with any document lodged with the Director-General or a consent authority or certifying authority for the purposes of the Act or this Regulation. "

The Act referred to is the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979. This story is about how such deceptive evidence has allowed a ruthless sandmining operation to destroy up to 2 km of Tinda Creek on private land inholding to the Blue Mountains World Heritage area, along Putty/Singleton Rd at the locality of Mellong.

Picture: Out of date image of the Birdon sandmine at Mellong/Tinda Creek area taken from current google earth. Estimated to be around 2001 or 2002 . To the left of here is Wollemi National Park and to the right is Yengo NP, both within the Blue Mtns World Heritage Area.

The current sandmine in 2007-9 has been way beyond it's 1996 approval. Hawkesbury Council finally responded to complaints about water loss due to evaporation in this dry hot location in the Blue Mountains by retaining expert hydrologist Chris Jewell in March 2007 who reported in July that year. Jewell advised that although the Creek was probably unaffected currently with 37% water loss immediately below the quarry, if it went ahead with final water body of 22 ha it would lose 53% of water flow.

Picture: Image from Council file obtained by flyover May 2005, with the sandmine growing outside it's approved boundary.

Similarly NSW Dept of Environment and Climate Change were concerned and wrote in 2007 to Council in response to a development application to expand the mine and change its boundaries to 125,000 tonnes per year to 2021. They wrote:

" As part of a remediation action plan to minimise evapotranspiration form open water DECC recommends that open water areas be reduced as much as possible".

This clause has even now been added into draft consent conditions in 2009 - so there has been some symbolic progress here. But given 13 years of non compliance on other critical consent conditions like groundwater monitoring bores and data loggers there is a serious credibility gap with this developer.

Hydrologist Jewell wrote that (contrary to sandmine claims) they are using 98 ML of water per year while licensed for only 55 ML. This is said to be mainly due to evaporation from those big tailing dams. This gels with a NSW Dept of Land & Water Conservation officer memo in 2003 suggesting 130 ML of water use per year. These are serious breaches of the water license to Birdon at the expense of Tinda Ck.

Picture: Main tailings pond open water body. Image taken March 2007 by SAM editor on authorised site inspection with stakeholders as legal agent for objectors.

Now in evidence to Land & Environment Court last Tuesday 18th August 2009 engineer consultant for the sandminer, Peter Jamieson, has handed up a diagram as evidence showing just how big the sandmine has grown, 318 metres at the 140 m approved northern boundary, and 503 metres at the 400 metre southern boundary.

However he did this in a very deceptive way - in our humble opinion. SAM has obtained a copy of the diagram which is discussed in this email to green group and government stakeholder interests:

From: Ecology Action
To: Jeff Smith director Environmental Defenders Office, Kirsty Ruddock principal solicitor EDO
Cc: Scott Hickie researcher to Greens MP Ian Cohen; Jackie Verzi Hawkesbury Council Watch; Tara Cameron President Blue Mtns Conservation Society; Andrew Cox National Parks Association; Peter Cooper The Wilderness Society; Gordon Plath manager litigation DECC; Carmel Tebbutt MP env minister, deputy premier; pro bono barrister Nick Eastman; Ben Cubby SMH ; Stateline NSW ABC ; Simon Benson News Ltd Daily Telegraph
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 4:52 PM
Subject: Tinda Ck fallout: 'expert' Peter Jamieson, director of Umwelt exposed re deceptive evidence/offence, in 11133 of 2008?

Dear EDO
Re Decision of C'er Brown in Birdon v Hawkesbury CC 11133 of 2008 (Tinda Creek, inholding to Blue Mtns World Heritage Area).
We have the deceptive document now via council's lawyer, being a plan diagram handed up to the court and listed as exhibit "F". It's copied below with compare and contrast real approved plans.
I wrote last week suggesting I could smell some blood regarding the non compliances of this sandmine inholding to the Blue Mts WHA, and maybe we have some here, in three parts A, B, and C. And a fourth D still evolving.
The objectors would be very interested in EDO advice for the objectors on how to progress a formal complaint about breach of clause 283 re misleading evidence by expert Jamieson at Part A here:
Part A: Jamieson/Umwelt misleading and deceptive evidence under clause 283?
The General Manager of Hawkesbury City Council (GM) released the critical diagram provided in court, and also the water modelling (we will ask DECC to examine this latter evidence by comparing it with hydrologist Jewell report 2007 and DLWC analysis Conners 2003). We believe the GM for HCC doesn't want to be compromised by the deceptive evidence to Commissioner Brown and may have instructed council's solicitor Stephen Griffiths to release the evidence pronto.
Griffiths as council lawyer spoke to our objector Diamond on Monday and said words to the effect of "Your issue is with the Attorney General and Umwelt" which we interpret to mean, say a complaint about contempt of court by Jamieson.
Apparently Diamond said to him to the effect of
"... and what about clause 283 [of the EP&A Regulation 2000]. That's a criminal offence."
Solicitor Griffiths apparently paused, but didn't contradict him either.
So what does the Jamieson/Umwelt diagram show? Well it's quite clear in context the deception being promoted:
The diagram shows an ostensible "Area Outside Extraction Area on Fig 7.4 of EIS  = 0.43 ha". That is a trivial exceedance.
This was an attempted rebuttal to our objector submission under s.79C of the Act the day before at the site inspection - namely the mine is 40% out of area. This non compliance (as well as others) operates on cl 36, Part 2 Schedule 3 of the Regulation re non compliance a factor in a DA falling into designated development and needing a new EIS. That is, a refusal decision.
Jamieson was cunning in his verbal language in the witness box (but not cunning enough) responding to C'er Brown 'what does it show?': Jamieson said words to the effect of "this shows what is there now". In particular bright blue hatching showing a trivial "0.43 ha" exceedance.
So here is the hammer blow: The actual DA approved plans from 1996 have nothing to do with Fig 7.4 of the EIS offered up by Jamieson to the C'er complete with bright blue hatching showing "Area outside". When you compare the real 1996 approved plan held by all the parties, the miner is close to 40% out of area. See our mock up copy below with their same style of blue hatching soon to show what the real diagram should have shown: 40% out of approved area.
Umwelt has surely misled C'er Brown who decided specifically on the clause 36 matter words to the effect that 'not sufficient non compliance to justify refusal'. Maybe he would have decided the same even with 40% exceedance, or maybe not. But Umwelt/Jamieson weren't willing to take that risk with a truthful diagram rebutting our objector submission. Nor did HCC pursue this huge exceedance and non compliance.
Here in order are:
1. the colour version of the court exhibit "F" by Jamieson/Umwelt based on an expedient misleading EIS diagram, one of many and not the approved plan:


Notice Jamieson's blue hatching is very small out of area - if you use the wrong plan. Also a minor issue is Jamieson starts his diagram under the western side boundary power lines (in red) when the real approved area is 10m east of there.
2. Contrast the approved plan in similar orientation due north top of the page.
Compare the approved plan below with the diagram to court above at point 1, and notice the big discrepancy in distances: On the northern side above it's 318 metres of works says Jamieson, but only 140 metres or similar (depending where you take the peg from) below in the approved plan before you get a 30 degree dog leg.
On the southern side it's 503 metres long above for Jamieson, and 410 metres or similar in the approved plan.


Here immediately below is a wider view of 1996 DA approved plan no. 3 of 3 from which our measurements come from. These official plans are enforced by direct cross reference in consent condition 1 of the original 1996 approval. The diagram in the dark square box we added shows where the approved plan above comes from, rotated 90 degrees left to show regular north. There is no controversy these are the approved plans.




3. The indicative real exceedance out of area, without being a surveyor, is something like this:
The real indicative proportions of blue hatching is approaching 40% out of area as we told the court as laypeople. Further objector Diamond advises a diagram went into a report to council back in 2004 which shows the true exceedance similar to our version above.
Given all this above it looks like C'er Brown's decision has been made on some very unreliable evidence from Peter Jamieson of Umwelt trying to pass off another figure (one of many in the EIS) with no relation to the actual approved plan necessary to indicate real exceedances.
B. Alleged assault by John Webster barrister for sandminer Birdon of objector Diamond at site inspection
Objector Diamond has made a report to Hornsby Police re this. I am an indirect witness. Diamond is a survivor of major paralysis and still disabled so for him to be shoved around is despicable. A direct witness Bill Sneddon has provided a contemporaneous file note of the alleged assault (pushing) with Webster saying "sorry". Mmm. Not very Bar Association type behaviour. Particularly a $6K a day barrister according to a bill of costs we have heard about.
The context: Webster lost a critical notice of motion to our pro bono barrister Eastman the week before, and then again at case management later the same day with myself as legal agent.  A week later at the inspection we served a 9 page submissions document and 3 page chronology of the non complying sand mine. Enough to give anyone some heartburn first day of the hearing/site inspection.
Webster's site inspection choreography then went off the rails when I presented a list of locations to attend based on the evidence in their own expert's reports and previous expert Jewell site inspection in 2007. This sabotaged the developer railroad of the inspection. Further we had a notice of motion to be heard first thing next day to be made a party to the proceedings allowing us to cross examine their expert in trouble on various matters if one took the trouble to wade through it as we had (as implied from part A above too).
All this pressure seems to have resulted in Webster losing his composure. We have Sneddon's excellent witness file note. A trained food scientist and picky by nature. He will stand up to scrutiny in any forum.


C. Bygraves admission of disposal of $10K bulldozer at the site inspection.
Windsor police now have this under consideration.


D. Chief Planner Owens tenure getting shaky?
We are hearing that chief planner Owens at Council on $300K plus p.a wage is casting his eye around to move on from Hawkesbury CC. He instructed council's lawyer on their legal strategy to not pursue issues of non compliance.
We look forward to any feedback at your earliest convenience.
Tom McLoughlin legal agent for objectors Sneddon and Diamond in 11133 of 2008.
Bill Sneddon is a very reliable witness. Some of his background is here from an affidavit in the same litigation:
"I am a food technologist with over 10 years full time experience and trained scientist. I am also a public interest environmentalist and a foundation member for 10 years of the Castlereagh Liquid Waste Depot  Community Closure Committee (CLWD CCC) set up by NSW Waste Services within the NSW Government. This body provides scrutiny on ground water contamination issues which also helps inform me about the Tinda Ck sandmine. I am also a member for 6 years of the Quarraintine Grants Committee with a $3/4 million budget also associated with the CLWD.
So is this deceptive exceedance evidence by Jamieson/Umwelt merely a technical breach? After all the big tailings dam has been dewatered and they have agreed to various changes in their consent conditions way beyond a normal s.96 modification allowed under the legislation. They are responsive now to DECC and expert Jewell with a smaller final open water body of 10ha down from 22 or 17 or 14 ha depending on which document is analysed. They have dewatered the main tailings dam of 3 or 4 hectares reducing evaporation.
 Well yes, it does matter. As explained to the council solicitor earlier today, with copy to the EDO:
From: Ecology Action
To: Stephen Griffiths Pikes (solicitor for Hawkesbury City Council)
 Cc: Chris Jewell, hydrologist, Gordon Plath DECC litigation dept, Peter Jackson general manager of HCC, Kirsty Ruddock principal of EDO
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2009 10:01 AM
Subject: Birdon 11133 of 08 - Feb 2008 Umwelt water model report, request for full copy, every 2nd page missing in court exhibit?

Dear Mr Griffiths / Stephen
Birdon v HCC 11133 of 2008 decided by C'er Brown 18 August 09
As discussed with your PA Justine yesterday afternoon by telephone. Turns out the Umwelt water modelling report (allegedly overtaking the hydrologist Jewell 2007 for HCC), you released to us on instructions of HCC's GM is defective for lack of every second page.
Turns out from Justine's inspection your own copy similarly has only every second page.
The critical interesting bit about study of levels of evaporation water loss (ie as per Jewell 2007), or where it would be expected to be in the Umwelt report, seems to be missing. I stopped reading at that point and made the call to your office. (Near where he writes his report is only 'a desktop study' just like he accused Jewell of doing in the witness box.)
Could you please as the listed Party contact solicitor Byrnes for Birdon and obtain a full copy and indeed 'request' that they correct the document submitted to the court if they is necessary. Actually we would be most interested to know if C'er Brown was given a complete copy and whether the correct copy is on the court file.
Additionally Stephen, some intelligence on the site inspection:
The bypass channel at south east corner had a trickle of water at the start of it. Back with Jewell in 2007 site inspection (you weren't there, I did go) there was no water there in month of [March], but the main tailings dam was open water body. This time 17 August 2009 main tailings dam was de-watered over at a guess say 3 or 4 ha with only a few wet patches. 
The main effect of Jewell's 2007 report is that evaporation is a major factor - he said 37% [water loss] immediately below the quarry. That's why DECC have reinforced his concerns with proposed consent conditions of smaller water body in operations and final landform. Similarly the Parties have backed down to DECC: These DECC conditions have been incorporated in some fashion by HCC and Birdon.  We like to think we helped with that result.
All of this reinforces Jewell 2007 is right on evaporation and Umwelt Feb 2008 [water modelling report] is false evidence too. Like his out of area diagram in the witness box. Hence our intense interest in his water modelling report.
The out of area diagram is similarly related to water loss via evaporation because the original 1996 approval kept the open water body small, as did the EIS requirment (so I am told at 30% site disturbance at any one time). For Jamieson to present a deceptive diagram of small out of area hatching is calculated to cover up a bigger non compliance of exceeding their water licences as per Conner DLWC memo (2003 - 130 ML usage), and Jewell 2007 (98 ML) at least until that tailings dam was dewatered by 17 August 2009 site inspection.
But that's still a breach by Birdon of the POE Act and breach of their water license and not that long ago either. Something for DECC and maybe HCC to consider no doubt.
Very lastly who do you imagine put the dead fox carcass on the very spot of the Putty Rd bridge over Tinda Ck - exactly where we did our inspection with Jewell in 2007. Those country boys! Gotta love em. C'er Brown probably didn't spend very long looking from there on his own as he agreed to. But we did after the main inspection. The creek had a very small flow, again a bit better than 2007 inspection. In my view (as a rusty science grad) it all comes back to dewatering of the main evaporation source being the main tailings dam.
Thanking you in anticipation re the complete Umwelt water model report.
Please do not hesitate with any queries by tel 0410 558838 or return emial.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin, legal agent pro bono for objectors Sneddon and Diamond.
CC GM Jackson.
The objectors did a calculation while waiting for Commissioner Brown's decision in favour of the sandminer last Tuesday 18th August, in what one wag objector Sneddon now calls the Land & Extraction Court. They estimate about $206,000 in legal fees by Birdon Contracting in getting approval for their s.96 modification development application. And the costs of remediating their often illegal sandmine in an inholding to the world heritage area may cost someone many millions of dollars more.

For instance the original approved plans states the dredge fines will be buried 14 to 20 metres depth below the final open water land form. This is mainly crown land at that depth and they never bothered to get crown consent. It's common ground this hasn't been done anywhere on the site yet. Rather these claggy glue like dredge fines are overburden on commercial quantities of sand - the commercial reason they wanted to expand out horizontally in the first place.  

To move the dredge fines overburden - if they ever really do comply with this obligation to bury this quicksand at depth- defies engineering and economic practice. At least that's the view of the objectors and they have been proven right in time on most of their concerns so far. Just like the bogus 'out of area' diagram above.

One assumes it will be a matter of interest not only to DECC and DWE in place of DLWC now, how these dredge fines are processed but also the Dept of Mines people as well. A history of this controversial sand mine is here:


Version #3 version 16 August 2009 
Chronology Tinda Creek controversy inholding to Blue Mts world heritage area 

1981 – neighbour ND buys Lot 1 adjoining lot 2 future sandmine, “water from creek is like mineral water”

1982-1996  – water stops flowing in Tinda Ck once only 1982, first and only time says ND

1981-1986 – new ‘farm dam’ (1.5 ha/ 3acres) lot 2 becomes illegal sand mine operation (15 ha/ 30 acres) by Poyneed P/L ie Jan Stout and sons owners Lot 2

1985-6  - ND complains to Stout re ‘milkshake’ sediment pollution in creek water supply from lot 2 to lot 1 due to tailings dam walls progressively collapse [this was later marked “agricultural dam” in April 1996 approved plan no.3 of 3]

-         threat made by Jan Stout/Poyneed ‘you shut us down, we will shut you down’

-         campaign of at times ultra violent harassment/property damage commences v ND

1986 – sand mine Lot 2 originally farm dam, gets retrospective approval by HCC, Cr Books bulldozer work

1989 – Poyneed fined $10K in by State Pollution Control Commission (Local Court or LEC) for polluting Tinda Creek with illegal sandmine

1989 – 2004  Birdon Contracting P/L ie Tom Bruce as MD business/partnership with Poyneed/Stout

1986 -1991 – sandmine expands illegally, no HCC approval at any time this period before or after.

1991- 1996 – retrospective DA approval HCC for illegal sandmine over green group, neighbour objections

1995 May – Birdon EIS rejected by DUAP and HCC

1995 Nov – new Birdon EIS but plans are subject to various dept, community objections

1996 April – ultimate plans 1, 2 and 3 dated April 1996 by Port Stephens Design Services for Birdon.

1996 15 July – letter El-Chamy to HCC on details required for erosion/sediment control ‘formal hydrologic/hydraulic design’. Subject of finding by Pain J decision June 2009 on evidence never forwarded by HCC to Birdon therefore not required to comply with letter for what became consent condition 4 in Jan 1997 DA approval.

1996 Sept – ND mortgagee sale Lot 1 to Birdon, subject to option to re buy executed between solicitors

1996 – 2009 – dredge fines in plan 14m-20m depth to avoid pollution fine in 1989, buried much higher

1997 Jan -1999 arguably sandmine has lawful 2 year approval, controversy over lack of regulatory compliance

2000 – 2004 – sandmine operates illegally, gets retrospective HCC s.96 approval in 2004, deemed DA lodged in 1999 or so just not determined by HCC for 5 years.

2003 – ND discovered crown land from 15.24 metres with no crown consent to 1996 DA to bury dredge fines

2003 -2004 -  HCC GM McCully agrees in writing to objectors and ICAC to appoint independent barrister Phil Clay or Mary Walker to review Tinda Ck planning. Never done.

2004 – Poyneed selloff joint interest to Birdon

2004 – 2005 - Birdon get EPA and DIPNR/DWE water licenses for first time.

2005 March 16 – DLWC officer Connors memo that 150 ML quarry water use (125ML if 25 hrs/wk pumping: Bygraves)

2005 – existing area (top elevation, but not depth) available under 1996 DA ‘exhausts’ due to failure to follow depth diagrams in approval stranding 1.3 million tonnes under shallow dredge fines in approved area. Dredge fines should have been buried 14 to 20m deep as per approved plans.

2005 -2009 – quarry operating illegally out of area.

2005 – ND commences litigation over quarry  irregularities, settled by consent in 40430 of 2005 (“2005 Order”) Birdon must implement recommendations of Ecowise/Golder consultants

2005 October – Ecowise Golder report includes (at p7) 6 shallow/deep monitoring well pairs, data loggers, this data essential to water modelling. Never done.

2006 April – Ecowise/Golder report provided to HCC under cover of Birdon letter (not in LEC draft bundle tba)

2006  - s.96 DA lodged by Birdon with attempt by Umwelt to airbrush ‘confusing’ approved plans re dredge fines in wrong place, deceptive diagram of extent of Tinda Ck, and actual approved area.

2006 – new GM at HCC Peter Jackson ex ICAC

2007 May – Chris Jewell respected ind. hydrologist retained by HCC, ND etc attend inspection, report July,

2007 – 3 metre dry bore hole northern side with frog seen at Jewell inspection filled in.

2007 Sept – stakeholders at HCC re Jewell report on Umwelt errors, lack of monitoring bores, currently 37% water loss immediately below quarry in Tinda Ck, 53% loss if 22 ha of water bodies in future.

2008 – new broom in council election – eg Cr Books the earthmover retires.

2008 – DECC refuse to release ecological study to objector ND, not on council file

2008 18 July – solicitor Byrnes for Birdon letter to HCC threatening damages claim of $3M damages to council if this s.96 DA refused due to HCC’s own failure to enforce/manage consent conditions

2008 – Chief Planner Owens review of Tinda Ck in lieu of independent barrister promised to ICAC/objectors

2008 mid year – council demand to Birdon for $48K short payment of s.94 contributions

2008 – council votes 12 – 0 against sandmine despite friendly report by chief planner with narrow grounds of refusal on failure to comply with CC 4, Birdon appeals.

2009 – objectors demand transparency over ‘draft consent conditions’ in litigation process on current retrospective s.96  DA and right of objectors to be heard in the case before any deal is rubber stamped in letter to chief judge of LEC.

2009 June - Pain J decision in LEC that HCC failure to pass on El Chamy’s  15 July 1996 DLWC letter of  requirements for compliance with consent condition 4 (erosion/sediment) “prior to works commencing” effectively means far less compliance was valid. ND never called to give evidence of documents at late 1996 mediation with Tom Bruce/HCC.

2009, June 17 – Lloyd J decision in LEC against Birdon $48K in unpaid s.94 contributions.

2009 June – Umwelt update their EMP – final lake max 10m depth not 14, no sign where dredge fines to go. 6 ha of rehab bordering lake final landform with dredge fines under 30cm crust. No schedule rehab.

2009 August 14 – Umwelt response to issues – dredge fines to be buried 14 to 20 m as per 1996 DA plans, not done for 13 years, attaches March 2009 consent from Lands Dept to apply to council to use their land but no actual commercial licence deal yet. Water modelling at irrelevant locations upstream of quarry or below tributaries. Modelling proceeds contrary to Ecowise/Golder 2005 report requiring bore well data first, and critique of Jewell 2007. Also Umwelt ecological study still secret but in part in appendix shows Tinda Ck “drainage line” for 2 km is badly impacted (re water flow, low signal grade species) in comparison to nearby comparable creeks.

17 August 2009 – Chris Jewell independent hyrdrologist not invited by HCC to the site inspection. Has he been shown the Umwelt EMP June 09, the reply to issues Aug 09 contradicting Jewell water loss findings?

A copy of our submissions to C'er Brown at the site inspection follow, which was added to the court exhibits, with some minor verbal additions on the day shown in italic:

Objector submissions under s.79C EP&A Act 1979 re Tinda Creek sandmine s.96 modification DA [on behalf of objector Neville Diamond, also adopted by objector William Sneddon, delivered by legal agent Tom McLoughlin]


16 August 2009


Mr Commissioner


I have instructed my pro bono legal agent to draw up a chronology for you from 1981 to the present, with an extra copy for the parties. I have also advised my legal agent to draw up these speech notes to facilitate the hearing.


Mr Commissioner you already have with you the statement of my issues filed as per the direction of Justice Pain filed 1st July 2009. Justice Biscoe has decided 10th August 09 to allow me to be an objector despite a misconceived notice of motion by the appellant Birdon last week. Mr Commissioner you have agreed last week to hear all my issues subject to weight and relevance and I thankyou for allowing that.


Mr Griffiths for Council has suggested to hear our objections is proper no matter, to quote him, “however wayward” these issues are.


With respect my objections are not wayward. I’m not an educated man but I am a very experienced person. I was once a wealthy truck driver. I also worked 5 years as a researcher for Dixon Sands at Maroota 1996 to 2001 inclusing liaison with their legal people. I have the assistance of the EDO over the years, my legal agent and colleague Bill Sneddon who is a scientist as well as wide social network. [please also refer to Mr Sneddon's background on environmental issues in his affidavit of 30 July 2009 in these proceedings]


I was the property owner at Lot 1 neighbouring the sandmine in 1981 before it was even a farm dam. I lived part time there on lot 1 with my then wife Natalie and our son Matthew who grew up having to deal with all this trouble and danger. It seriously affected my marriage and I am now divorced and suffer post traumatic stress disorder to varying degrees whenever I think about this sandmine saga.


After my troubles began with the violence coming from the sandmine staff or their associates I lost my rent paying caretakers on lot 1, including a friend called Laurie Johnson, and I was forced by the bank to sell in 1996. It was bought by Tom Bruce the managing director of Birdon. As presented by our pro bono barrister Nick Eastman to Justice Biscoe last week in my affidavit, Birdon agreed to a legal option in my favour so that I could buy back my place on lot 1. This option was drawn up by solicitors for Birdon and I. 


Birdon gave me that option because they knew I had real merit to my objections and these could cause them a lot of trouble. They didn’t give me that option out of charity. It was a serious negotiation. But I never got the chance to exercise the option because a bulldozer asset of mine was stolen and sold by quarry staff.


I have references included in my last affidavit to Justice Biscoe from peak green groups NSW National Parks Assciation, The Wilderness Society, Blue Mountains Conservation Society, Colong Foundation for Wilderness. I am also supported in moral terms by Hawkesbury Council Watch a local community group.


I have another copy of these to tender for you commissioner. Their concern no doubt as well as mine are the wonderful Blue Mountains National Parks World Heritage Area including Wollemi immediately east and Yengo immediately west of the quarry. Both parks are official wilderness areas under that legislation. I can provide documents proving the conservation status of these places if needed.


Further, the Mayor Bart Bassett has also told me on several occasions that I have the best knowledge of the file because I regularly go and check on it’s contents.


My submissions today relate to  

  1. Why the s.96 DA is not the same development under s.96 (2);
  2. Why this s.96 DA is designated development under the planning rules for non compliance not because it’s already out of area;
  3. Why the EMP is seriously flawed;
  4. Why the draft consent conditions are seriously flawed
  5. Why Chief Planner Owens report and HCC is unreliable
  6. The DA itself is flawed and shouldn’t have been accepted.



1. Why the s.96 DA is not the same development [under s.96 (2)]


(a)    The last report from Umwelt says the lake will be 10 metres depth not 14 metres as per original approval;

(b)   The final landform will have 6 ha of dangerous dredge fines adjoining the banks of the final open waterbody while the original DA buried these 14 to 20 metres depth. A 30cm crust will be over these dredge fines which in wet weather could easily liquefy and become unstable. Further the dredge fines in shallows from zero to 10 metres depth will be a hazard to visitors, bushfire fighters harvesting water, and wildlife.

(c)    The original 1996 DA had staggered approvals to regulate rehabilitation and any non compliance, while the staging here is one approval all the way to 2021 for 5 different stages;

(d)   The final landform in the original DA is clearly set out with engineering design plans while this has a top elevation diagram and no other details how to achieve the depth or grading of batters or capacity of equipment to achieve the burial of dredge fines 14 to 20 metres;

(e)    The material to be mined is not the same material. Here they plan to mine and relocate up to 350,000 tonnes of existing dredge fines, rather than wash sand from its natural state to produce tailings;

(f)     It’s a different 1.3M tonnes of sand to the original 14 ha approved plan because they stranded a large deposit through failure to follow the depth specification in the original approval. It is also an extra 25K tonnes of sand per year.

(g)    There will be huge increase in fuel needed to pump or move existing dredge fines additional to normal sand production. If they need to move 300K tonnes of dredge fines, based on EIS figure of 2.4 litres of diesel per tonne of sand produced, the extra fuel will be 720,000 litres of diesel;

(h)    The economics of moving 300K tonnes of dredge fines at full cost of staff and equipment is a completely different proposal.

(i)      The new area will increase exposed water bodies and increase water loss to Tinda Ck estimated at 37% loss now with the quarry only expanding since 1996. Jewell (July 2007) says the water loss for a 22 ha water body would be 53%.

(j)     More water will be needed to process the extra 25K tonnes of sand production, as well as moving existing dredge fines. The water license for the dredge ponds is 40ML. The quarry already greatly exceeds its water licensing based on the hours of operation admitted at the stakeholder conference with Jewell at HCC Sept 2007 of 25 hours (Bygraves) applied pro rata Connors DLWC memo of 2005 of quarry use of an  estimated 150 ML loss at 30 hours, leaving a total of around 125 ML.

(k)   If this were the same development one might not expect so many changes to the draft consent conditions for the main 1996 approval



  2. Why this s.96 DA is designated development under the planning rules  

We have been advised by the NSW EDO by their letter of 17 Sept 2007 in the court bundle that this is a designated development under s.96 (2) of the EP&A Act. For consent under 96 (2) one is referred to the regulations. Regulation 2000 under the EP&A Act addresses whether an alteration is a designated development at Schedule 3, Part 2 clauses 35 and 36.


The factors discussed above at point 1 and in the EDO letter advise it is not substantially the same development.


Additional factors also apply under clause 36 of the Regulation not mentioned above or in the EDO letter: Clause 36 refers to


“previous environmental management performance including compliance with the conditions of any consents … or authorisations by a public body”


As evidenced by the letter of consent from the Dept of Lands dated 18 March 2009 allowing Birdon to apply to use Crown Land to bury silt fines from 15 to 20 metres (in Umwelt 14 August 2009) Birdon have effectively admitted they have not complied with this requirement in the approved plans for 13 years to date. A survey by Matt Freeburn confirms there has been no compliance with burial of dredge fines below 15 metres.


Further the 2005 orders by consent of the LEC (in Diamond & Kent v Birdon Poyneed  and HCC no. 40430 of 2005 ) - also the subject of Birdon’s failed notice of motion last week - requires Birdon to implement the recommendations of Ecowise/Golder Report as to 6 pairs of monitoring bore wells and installation of data loggers. HCC’s expert notes the failure to do this as compromised any reasonable water modelling on the impact of the quarry on Tinda Ck immediately downstream.


In addition the CSIRO report of July 2008 on "Drought exceptional circumstances" has not been addressed. This report was considered by C. Moore and C Taylor in the Peats Ridge water bottling Case 2008 where they took a precautionary approach at paragraphs 32, 33, 34, and 39 of Kettle/Coca Cola Australia v Gosford City Council  (2008).


And as per our statement of issues other non compliances include:


- 40% out of approved area, with this s.96 modification seeking retrospective approval, and as per letter of letter of HCC 7 November 2005 by Greg Hall to Birdon (not included in the bundle)

- concrete silt ponds never installed as required by EIS at page 12

- failure to provide annual reports as per Owens HCC Report

- failure to pay s.94 contributions of $46K as per recent decision of Lloyd J in this court

- demonstrably exceeding their water license allocations as per figures of 130ML/yr use in the CM Jewell expert report of July 2007 based on a mere 40-55ML/yr license allocation

- failure to report lack of Crown Consent under consent condition 33 reporting regime.


Additionally under Regulation 2000 schedule 3, clause 36 (c)

 “any proposals: (i) to mitigate the environmental impacts and manage any residual risk”  

This surely relates to the risks of the shallow silt fines in the lake dangerous in drought, and unstable on land surface in wet weather. Clause 36 (c) continues:

 (ii) to facilitate compliance with relevant standards, codes of practice or guidelines published by the Department or other public authorities  

This may well relate to guidelines on groundwater dependent eco-systems from DLWC/DWE, at risk as per expert report of hydrologist Chris Jewell to HCC regarding water loss from evaporation impact risk of bigger water bodies. SREP 20 will also apply as regards no adverse effect on groundwater dependent eco-systems.


Planner Owens attempts to say in his report the Concrite Case applies to show this is not designated development but the facts above are highly distinguishable from the Concrite case due to so much non compliance. Additionally there was no environmental damage in that case whereas here Umwelt’s EMP own ecology survey says Tinda Creek is running dry compared to other creeks at the same time immediately below the quarry, with lower signal species number. Jewell (July 2007) says there is 37% water loss in the same location.



 3. Why the July 2009 EMP is seriously flawed; 

Errors in the EMP, and Umwelt August report

  1. At p2, first line – Tinda was not intermittent 1981 to 1996, stopped flowing only once in that time in 1982.
  2. At p2  claim by Umwelt about stage 1 dredge pond having “minimal potential to cause significant lowering of the groundwater table upstream of the extraction area” which is flatly rejected by Jewell (July 2007 at page 7, 6th paragraph). Jewell points out role of dynamic water system and evaporation. Further Wayne Connors of DLWC in 2003 noted about 1500ML was being pumped around the system with industry practice of 10% water loss.
  3. Groundwater modelling at page 2 is dubious because as noted by Ecowise/Golder (2005) and Jewell and as required by consent Order 2005 monitoring bores and data loggers have not provided the required information to do accurate modelling for at least the 2 km of Tinda Ck immediately downstream of the quarry. Note especially the modelling locations in Figure 2.2 indicate location A is above the quarry and so not probative. Location B is on a tributary below and west of the bridge on Putty Rd and so also not very probative. Location C is many kilometres away downstream with many tributaries intervening and again not probative.
  4. Jewell flatly contradicts Umwelt on water loss projections  by estimating 37% currently. Jewell being independent is to be preferred. Further Umwelt’s own ecology report attached (at EMP appendix 1 page 2 middle of page) indicates Tinda Ck at site 4 (figure 2.3) immediately below the quarry ‘runs dry even when similar creeks nearby run okay even in dry times’. A clear indication Tinda Ck is stressed at that point and probably for 2 km to the first tributary which is an un named creek from the south east. Jewell notes a 53% projected water loss if like the last 13 years the quarry just gets bigger and spreads to the full 22 ha area of the EIS study, with only 14 ha approved in  1996.
  5. At section 3.3 re rehabilitation: There are no engineering diagrams or depth diagram or proven method indicated of moving existing dredge fines over the sand body stranded in the approved plan area at figure 3.1 given such fines will be heavy, congealed, worse than slurry concrete to pump. Yet at least some of the 350K existing tailings are to be moved to form a 6 ha land surface cap adjoining a final water body. Existing dredge fines  will be even harder to move once progressively dewatered. The EMP is glib about moving by “land overflow” and ‘pipe on floats’ but these likely can only work efficiently on dredge fines in suspension recently ejected from the cyclone to win sand output, not dredge fines that have settled for weeks, months or years in one mass. We don’t believe a cutter suction dredge will be able to pump solid dredge fines. By comparison we note the PF Formation or Dixon’s sand mine rehabilitation plan is a whole volume, not a thin document.
  6. On rehabilitation the soil stockpile shown on the 1996 approved plans no longer exists because Poyneed the former business partner of Birdon has sold it off. Hence the EMP refers to capping from non existent soil onsite at only 30 cm crust over dredge fines without declaring the true state of affairs regarding topsoil.
  7. On rehabilitation there is no schedule from now until 2021 unlike the approved plan with timetable included.
  8. On rehabilitation there is no change to a woefully inadequate $50K bond.
  9. On rehabilitation there is no mention of the EIS requirement of a maximum 30% of site disturbance rule.
  10. The EMP on Erosion and Sediment Control at section 3.6, page 11 makes no mention of the “Formal hydrologic and hydraulic design” required. These details were required in the now infamous letter that HCC received from DLWC dated 15 July 1996 and failed (according to Justice Pain’s decision June 2009) to forward on to Birdon. Birdon should comply with this letter even now 13 years later.
  11. Groundwater monitoring at section 4 page 14 is highly impertinent as it omits the mandatory recommendations required by consent Order 2005 in the LEC to have already implemented 6 pairs of monitoring bore wells. Jewell similarly notes failure to implement bore holes for monitoring in 2007.
  12. Ecological monitoring at section 4.2: Birdon/Umwelt refuse to date to release to council or the public their ecological study they claim at appendix 1 to satisfy DECC’s EPA license. The study at appendix 1 is also troubling because the conclusion is a non sequitur to the contents of the report. Tinda Ck immediately below the quarry becomes a “intermittent drainage line”. At the crucial site no. 4 there is a poor signal grade of 1 compared to other sites. Also the author notes that section of Tinda Ck is badly affected by low water flow running dry while other comparable creeks run well even in dry periods. To say at page 3 therefore there is no impact on Tinda Ck is therefore quite a non sequitur. The EIS calls for seasonal study of frogs not limited sampling as here.
  13. It is troubling to us that HCC have not retained independent hydrologist expert Chris Jewell to critique the Umwelt June EMP or 14 August response to our issues given Umwelt attacks Jewell’s finding at paragraph 20, page 6 August report.
  14. P9 issue 17 para 35 of Umwelt August 2009 a claims testing was done east of existing extraction area by Coffey Partners. However Coffey diagram 7.4 in the EIS shows this is wrong or deceptive as the bore holes are inside the eastern boundary.
  15. We believe the real solution to this hopeless development is radically different eg move the degraded  hill on lot 2 into and fill the quarry hole, and cap it to revive Tinda Crreek in 4 or 5 years, and use dry mining techniques to achieve that.

4. Why the draft consent conditions are seriously flawed


We note Mr Griffiths for HCC view in his letter of 27 Jan 09 that “It is unusual to impose conditions on a modification application.” Yet the draft consent conditions propose numerous changes including 10 weakly drafted conditions lifted without adaptation from a DECC letter of 20 Sept 2007.


Our feedback on the current proposed draft consent conditions (cc) from HCC/Applicant Birdon as follows:

(i)                  starting with cc 4, this should reflect the requirements of the letter of Marwan El Chamy dated 15 July 1996 as per paragraph 61 of Justice Pain’s recent decision, taking into account the effluxion of time and works to the current day.

(ii)                Cc 13 regarding amenity should remain especially as regards integrity of Tinda Ck downstream

(iii)               Cc 18 as per (ii) above in case of threats to Tinda Ck water quality and into the national park

(iv)              Cc 27 annual review of proposed EMP should also be provided to DECC and DWE.

(v)                Cc 27 should address changes in groundwater depths

(vi)              Cc 27 proposed EMP must address specifically how, and the scheduling, for relocation of dangerous shallow fine silt intended as the bottom of a final water body, or now to be capped, with engineering drawings showing depth dimensions. The silt is now approximately 350K tonnes.

(vii)             Cc 32 - Given the non compliance with dangerous shallow silt fines the bond should be $1M and $250K at the very least, as per previous costing estimates in our correspondence to council.

(viii)           Cc 33 - The annual report should to “to the satisfaction of council”.

(ix)              Cc 35 – The measure of 2M tonnes should be for the whole extraction since around 1986, not 1996, given illegal mining, retrospective approval in 1996 etc

(x)                Cc 37 – all the recommendations of expert CM Jewell should be adopted not just these 2, and they should be expressed in mandatory language with specified scheduling. The closure plan should be copied to and approved by DECC and DWE not just HCC.

5. Why Chief Planner Owens report and HCC are unreliable in this litigation 

The Owens report fails to address various non compliance issues re crown consent, dredge fines in wrong place, lack of engineering diagrams for current proposal, deceptive application and so on.


HCC have failed in this litigation to call evidence from the objectors in the first half of this split hearing on the legal question of consent condition 4 lapsing of consent. That question turned on alleged lack of notice to Birdon of DLWC 1996 letter on sedimentation and erosion control. We believe reticence by HCC is to avoid embarrassment over past non compliance or regulation rather than to address the merits of the new DA.


Further the extended Owens report does not mention that his report is in lieu of a promise to the community by two previous general managers, as well as by HCC to ICAC, for an independent review of Tinda Ck by a qualified independent barrister. Correspondence shows this was to be barrister Phil Clay or Mary Walker but they were never appointed.


It is troubling to us also that HCC have not called Chris Jewell as their independent expert to respond to Umwelt for Birdon.


It is also troubling the redundant May 1995 EIS appeared in the draft list of the court bundle given consent condition 1 cross references the Nov 1995 EIS.


It is troubling to us that HCC has not checked with council surveyors or engineers about how the rehab could work moving existing silt fines after years in sediment ponds via “overland flow” or “pipe attached to floats” or other engineering limits to burying the silt fines as per the approved plans, or the adequacy of a $50K bond.


It is troubling to us the draft court bundle (total at that stage of 114) excludes the 2005 LEC Order re clause 4(a) mandatory recommendations of Ecowise/Golder (Oct 2005) and that report also excluded, which is cross referenced by Jewell July 2007, in turn cross referenced by Umwelt (August 09). The Order and report demonstrate failure to implement monitoring bores.


6. The DA itself is flawed and shouldn’t have been accepted.


The DA doesn’t declare retrospective approval sought for illegal works.


Contrary to the 2000 EP&A Regulation at clause 283, the Applicant via agent Umwelt  claimed “confusion” over the specific approved plans and proposed a replacement plan, presumably to sanitise the non compliances to date regarding dredge fines to be buried at depth.


There has never been any confusion over the real approved plans in 3 parts dated April 1996. Additionally the advert of the s.96 application falsely indicated Tinda Ck was truncated 500 metres from the current sandmine operations when it runs immediately proximate to the sandmine.


Posted by editor at 3:07 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 28 August 2009 4:37 PM NZT
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Walking, not flying, to Kokoda in 1990
Mood:  sad
Topic: local news

We haven't seen today's press but radio reports brings back both fond and painful memories of one of SAM editor's youthful adventures complete with malaria (Plasmodium vivax)

This is an entry from our biography at the left side link here:

1/1990 – solo trek of Kokoda Track


Picture: Kokoda map we had laminated after solo trek in 1990. 6 days of malaria was a bummer, glad to get home but a great experience. We got lost about 8 km west of here [from memory approach paths to village of Efogi], alot easier than you might think from the deceptive lines above. Rescued by local 'nationals' (the ones not carrying guns).

We had another map, vertical dimensions not plan style as above, but it got too faded over the last many years. We should have got it laminated not just mounted behind glass. After so much angst we promised ourselves to frame it.

Nor did we take a camera prior to our community media lifestyle.

Our main contribution to this unfolding tragedy is to point out you didn't need to fly to Kokoda and head back to Port Moresby to leave PNG: One presumes tour companies prefer this as arrivals into the country must have an "exit ticket from PNG" and Port Moresby is the only practical international airport near the Track about 30 km from the coastal end. The Track itself is about 100km  length roughly from the coastal start to Kokoda over the Owen Stanley ranges. Longer again up and down valleys.

Our plan was different - of course partly due to budget. We planned to walk the Track and then head further north from Kokoda to Lae on the North Coast, and exit by ship or boat via Bougainville. Our "exit ticket" so called was out of Honiara, not PNG at all, capital of Pacific Island state of Solomon Islands via island hopping from PNG.

Only we got malaria half way on our trip after the Kokoda leg up at Lae (north coast PNG) and had to fly by large jet from Lae (international ?) airport to Port Moresby then back to Australia.

On first arrival in PNG and cultural experience for 2 days in the markets and mini buses of  Moresby noting the red juice on the footpath (betel nut) on there on the south coast we took same public transport from this rambling city to a nearby village called Sogeri near the Track. Sogeri  is also close to a national park (home of tree people). It was middle of summer but still deserted. How sad.

We distinctly remember an inflated price demanded by the bus driver presumably because he thought we must be a rich Anglo. But fact is we sold all our spare stuff, books, clothes, to pay for the trip including our old Peugoet 404 sedan, as well as 3 weeks heavy lifting with a removalist firm. We must have raised our voice in protest but keeping in mind the Lonely Planet caution that shouting is a cultural no no in PNG.

The Track was a challenge. We fell on our arse first 10 metres on slick muddy surface which really hurt with a full pack. It was a serious moment. For a minute we believed this would be impossible. We groped around for a walking staff. We took one shaky step. Then two steps. We can do this! Very character building.

At one point on our Track experience we came to a scary river fjord, with single log to cross. We unbuckled in case we fell in to prevent drowning. We grovelled on backside again and continued on. Later we got lost on the track as per the image above. Maybe it was the initial symptoms of malaria? We stumbled into a creek after striking a hugely painful poisonous prickle bush. We howled until the cold water miraculously washed the pain out. On yet another early morning we passed a guy with a double barrel shot gun over his shoulder. There was a night rained in with a shrieking native bird nearby. There was delicious local freeze dried coffee cowboy brew and chewy roasted corn cobbs in the husk.

We ended up in a village off the track which from memory was Efogi (as per regional map name below). There was a plane arriving there at the village same time the villagers came to greet this lone Anglo. They suddenly left me as they changed direction ululating in excitement as the little plane arrived on the grass oval style runway. Supplies! Later they sold me some food and portered me up the highest point Mt Belamy back on the Track. I was proud but just then very grateful for the help and paid them what I could for their support before they turned back at the top.

We have one amusing memory of a missionary surrounded by porters. Mmm.

The people treated me beautifully on the Track while careful to warn me about murderous raskol gangs (at that time at Kokoda, letting me sleep inside away from trouble).

The trip from Kokoda was also very interesting. Not flying. By road transport, like Charlie Boorman perhaps, in the back of a local villager's ute with other locals, to the local Port of Popendetta/Oro Bay. From there by large Lutheran Ferry to Lae. Then as mentioned large jet flight (Air Niugini) back to Moresby - but only after Qantas who claimed to lose my ticket out of Honiara gave me a substitute ticket back home. Perhaps they were worried I would die of malaria on their counter? The only sympathy came from a local PNG worker.

Did my ticket really go missing? Perhaps ASIS had twigged that a wild Canberra law student was tracking over to Bougainville in the middle of a civil war over Rio Tinto's gold and copper mine?

After getting to Lae and following 6 days and 5 nights of no sleep or food from a stomach bug, actually malaria, and then treatment from Lae hospital and I was barely well enough to walk to and from the plane over the tarmac(s) at Lae and Moresby. Sydney never looked so good.


We made this graphic of parliament yesterday and notice the last frame when the news from Kokoda came through - grim reactions all round. Quite moving I thought. God have mercy.







Posted by editor at 9:35 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 16 August 2009 2:02 PM NZT
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Lin family murder tragedy echoes with other unsolved crimes?
Mood:  sad
Topic: local news

We had cause to respond to a recent abc radio interview with police calling for any points of information 'no matter how trivial' on this horrific family murder in North Epping.

Previously we speculated quietly on a crikey.com.au string regarding street violence on whether there was a racial motive. Next day we rang crimestoppers with a speculation about this relating to an ethnic run business in the Hills district about an hour's drive away, and the unsolved fire disaster at a Glebe Budhist temple inner Sydney in early 2008.

Another variation on that might be a ruthless protection racket perhaps by Triad organised crime (?).

First the Glebe temple here:

Burnt out ... fire has damaged Sydney's oldest Chinese temple.

Burnt out ... fire has damaged Sydney's oldest Chinese temple.
Photo: Andrew Meares

This image from the Sydney Morning Herald was lifted in our piece back in early 2008:

"In particular we were interested in several coincidences: One is this ugly fire attack in neighbouring Glebe of a Chinese Temple which actually is only about 1 km away and only a week before hand, as per Sydney Morning Herald Jan. 31st reportage (we know this Temple too which is a very nice serene place) in

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

We notice today a Budhist ceremony for the dead family in North Epping as reported in the Sydney Daily Telegraph today 25 July 2009. We draw no conclusions from that religous link either way. We just don't know.

Later that day senior police on ABC tv prime time news stated there is no evidence of racial motivations for this horrific murders.

Now we come to this other unsolved crime, self explanatory public poster here at an ethnic business perhaps an hour's drive from North Epping:

and this same location again public notice from 6 months earlier

We understand from general media reports that the NSW police are putting a high level of resources into this horrific case. One hopes and trust they solve it soon.

Posted by editor at 11:53 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 25 July 2009 11:59 AM NZT
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Minutes of Addison Road Community Centre during Board upheaval
Mood:  not sure
Topic: local news


As described in the previous story here are the minutes, as provided by one Sue Paraha, perhaps the new office administrator at the ARC sent noticeably from the email of former General Manager Yvette Andrews:

Subject: Minutes of the Last 3 Meetings
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 09:38:55 +1100

Dear Member,

Please find attached the minutes for the last three

Sue Paraha

We haven't checked them for legals or content yet and publish them as a public service until we also get a chance to read them: 


# 1 of 3


Draft Minutes of Meeting: 4th February 2009Children’s Services Hut 21

Attendance/ ApologiesNarelle Mantle (Pres), Wolfgang Spranz (Sec), John Reynolds, Laurel Draffen, Emma Synnott, by invitation, Yvette Andrews (manager). Apologies: Margaret Carey 

Minutes            Adoption of Minutes, 3 December 2008                                                                                                                 NM/LD                           Carried           

Business arising from the minutes 

That Board minutes will be posted on the website in PDF format once they are adopted by the Board and that financial statements adopted by the Board will be available upon request.                                                                                                ES/LD                           


(I left the meeting briefly and am not sure if the January 29 minutes were adopted or anything else was addressed -YA).          

Sidetrack Lease Don Mamouney joined the meeting at 7:15pm. He requested that Yvette Andrews leave the meeting. The Board did not agree to his request. Don Mamouney then addressed the meeting and took questions from Board members about Sidetrack’s request for a new lease. Don left the meeting at 7:45pm. 

A discussion about the role of the Board took place. Yvette Andrews raised the issue of bullying and harassment in the workplace and presented the Board with a Workcover claim. She read details of the claim to the meeting and asked the Board to ensure that their obligation to provide a harassment free workplace was met. Yvette Andrews left the meeting at 8.00pm. (Minutes to here by YA who then left the mtg.)   

Narelle Mantle resigned from the board and left taking with her ARC board documents. It included a Workcover claim that was lodged by Yvette Andrews.  It was noted that the claim was neither discussed or clarified. No details of the claim were revealed to Board Members. 

A Motion to resolve the Sidetrack lease issue was moved 

“Sidetrack is to be offered a 3 year x 3 year lease with a rental review to occur at the end of the first 3 year period.  The lease will be conditional on Sidetrack conforming to all principles of the Addison Road Centre.” 

Moved by Emma Synnott   Seconded by Wolfgang Spranz 

Carried unanimously It was then noted that the legal advice being sought in relation to the allegation of violence was not received by the board therefore the board affirmed the need to seek that legal advice ASAP. 

Laurel Draffen then resigned from the board.

Emma Synnott also resigned from the board. 

The meeting ended at 8.45pm(2nd half minutes by JR & WS)



#2 of 3

Emergency ARC Board Meeting  8th February 2009 6.30pm

Venue: Addison Rd Centre Office Meeting Room

(Called according to the Constitution rule 17.2 ‘a director may at any time and the secretary on the request of a director must convene a director’s meeting.’)

Called by Directors: Wolfgang Spranz and John Reynolds


Agenda:            Attendence and Apologies

Wolfgand Spranz, John Reynolds, Sam Iskander – Apologies Margaret Carey


                        Minutes last Board Meeting

Approved    Moved:  WS                                                        Seconded: JR


1. This Board appoints John Reynolds as President in accordance with Constitutional rule 17.4.1          

Moved WS                                         Seconded  SI


2. This Board appoints Wolfgang Spranz as Secretary in accordance with Constitutional rule 19.1 and 19.2

Moved  JR                                           Seconded  SI


3. That a resolution be sought to the present conflict situation at the Centre which if deemed neccessary includes seeking legal advice.

Moved JR                                            Seconded  SI


4. Due to the current unavailability of the 3 signatories to the Addison Road cheque account the board appoints temporarily 2 signatories, (John Reynolds and Wolfgang Spranz) to the cheque account to replace Narelle Mantle and Margaret Carey.  

Moved SI                                             Seconded  WS


5. That this Board support the call by Members for a Special General Meeting called for February 25. It is proposed that this meeting discuss a future vision for the Centre. The Board welcome initiatives in this direction towards greater collaboration and information exchange at the Centre so all Members stay informed as well as contribute to the direction of the Centre.

Moved WS                                          Seconded SI


8. To appoint Geoff Hague, representative of Ordinary Member, Ultimo Project as a director under Constitution rule 15.5.1

Moved  JR                                           Seconded  WS

 This appointment is according to ‘subject to this Constitution if a lessee Director’s or an honorary Director’s office as a director of the Company is vacated before the end of their term, the Board may appoint a Replacement Director to hold office for the remainder of that term. A replacement Director must satisfy the criteria in clause 15.3.1 or 15.4.1 (as the case may be).’ 

In passing this resolution, according to constitution rule 15.5.2

‘The appointment wil be effective from the date of the relevant Board Meeting.’Meeting ended 7.55pm


#3 of 3



Minutes of Meeting 16th February 2009

Addison Rd Centre Office Meeting RoomMeeting commenced: 6.10pm 

Agenda:                        Attendance and Apologies

                                    Minutes last Board Meeting

                                    Business arising from Minutes

                                    Resolution 1: Letter to Yvette

                                    Resolution 2: Letter to John Blair

                                    Resolution 3: Elsa Dixon Grant

                                    Resolution 4: Reverse Garbage Roof

                                    Report on Community Gardens

                                    Report on Sidetrack Lease

                                    Report on Toilets

                                    Report on the Great Hall

                                    General Business

 Attendance: John Reynolds (JR) Chair, Wolfgang Spranz (WS) Secretary, Geoff Hague (GH)Apologies: Sam Iskander  

Minutes last Board Meeting 8-2-09

Moved:  WS               Seconded: JR                           Adopted

 Business Arising from Minutes

No business arising from minutes

JR welcomed GH to the Board

 Resolution 1: Letter to Yvette Andrews (YA) tabled

Discussion on the situation of YA who has lodged a Work Cover Claim relating to harassment in the workplace.  She already had taken 2 weeks leave as directed by Narelle Mantle the previous president and is now on 3 weeks sick leave. The Board noted that a resolution for her return to work needed to be worked out. The Board noted that YA has not provided adequate information or an explanation by her of the events that led to her lodging the claim.


GH informed the Board that YA had contacted him last week after he was appointed to the Board to organise a meeting with him for this Wednesday 4pm at building 24 at the Centre. He indicated that he did not know the reason for the meeting and he stated at the start of the meeting with YA, he would inform her that he was going to audo record the meeting so it was clear as to what was discussed between them.

 The Board resolves to send YA a letter requesting a written explanation of the events which led to her Work Cover claim to be in written form by 20th February in order that the Board can adequately resolve the situation.

Moved GH                  Seconded WS   Adopted


Resolution 2: Draft letter to John Blair tabled

Discussion on draft letter

 The Board resolves to send John Blair a letter noting his resignation and requesting a letter of explanation regarding the alleged assault on Don Mamouney.

Moved  GH                  Seconded  WS             Adopted


Resolution 3 – Elsa Dixon Indigenous Grant

At previous Board meetings, there was some confusion about who was responsible for this grant. It has now become clear from reading the project outline that ARC is responsible for the grant. The recent events at the Centre involving YA and JB have put the project in jeopardy. Without consultation with the Board, YA took a decision to end the Indigenous project and prepared a letter to the funding body stating that the project has been terminated, John Blair resigned and the money is to be returned. The question was raised: did YA have the authority to make this decision without any reference to the Board?


Information about the grant was tabled: $20,000 of the project has been spent (largely on JB wages) but there is over $30,000 remaining. The project was due to finish in June 09.


The Board has been in contact with members of the project’s Advisory Committee and they have indicated their willingness to have the project continue.


The Board has been in contact with Katrina Morgan, the DET officer administering the project. She confirmed that YA contacted her to cancel the project citing the ARC Board as dysfunctional. Katrina also informed the Board that she had been approached with the idea that Reverse Garbage (RG) take up the grant and continue with the project.


Yesterday, JR talked to Narelle Mantle (NM) from RG regarding this situation. NM indicated that if ARC continues with the project, RG will withdraw their application and support the ARC project.


Katrina Morgan has set up a meeting with John Reynolds this Thursday, 10am.


All agreed that the project was a good one for the Centre and should be continued. GH mentioned that the website should be promoting this and the Centre should be using the website more. 


Resolution 3:

The Board reaffirms its support for the Elsa Dixon Indigenous Grant and in consultation with the EDIG representative and the Advisory committee work out a suitable plan for continuing the project.

Moved GH                   Seconded JR                Adopted 


4. Reverse Garbage Roof

Report on RG roof. Minutes of a previous Board meeting (July 9, 2009) were tabled where a decision was made by the Board to:


That ARC commit $20,000 to a new roof. RG is committed $10,000 and any additional costs to be split 50/50 with RG.       

WS to investigate the current quote and consult with RG on the details of the type of roof repairs.


Resolution 4:

That the Board reaffirm the necessity of replacing the RG roof as soon as possible. ARC continues to commit $20,000 and RG $10,000 to the project.

Moved JR        Seconded GH  Adopted 


5. Community Gardens

WS reported on the Community Gardens. He has a meeting with them

Leanne informed WS that the money for CG comes out of a special bank account that has members’ fees and plot rental fees which is used to pay costs for CG. They provided a budget for their costs which include: supplies and gardening tools.


At the meeting with CG, WS will explain the changes at the Centre, explain that the expansion of the gardens out the front of the artist huts and El Taller Huts has to be removed. Leanne will provide details and balance of bank account to WS tomorrow. 


Resolution 5:

The Board agrees to pay the CG invoices over the next 3 – 4 months pending money being in bank account.

Moved JR        Seconded WS              Adopted


6. Sidetrack Lease

The February 4, 2009 Board meeting agreed to give Sidetrack a new lease. JR asked Leanne to start to prepare the lease in order for the board to review and discuss it prior to signing. JR mentioned some of the problems with leases and suggested that the Sp General Meeting on Feb 25, at the Centre might set-up a subcommittee to look at the leases and general equity issues.


Resolution 6:

The Board agrees to put a proviso in Sidetracks lease which states that it would be  ‘subject to any changes to leasing adopted through the special general meeting that has been initiated’,

 Moved JR                   Seconded WS  Adopted


7. Toilets

The toilets at the front of the complex are in a bad state of disrepair and are the most used public toilets in the Centre. JR has asked Leanne to get a quote for their repair. JR is approaching SCRAP to get a quote for a rainwater tank which would collect the rainwater from Sidetrack’s roof to be used in the flushing of the front toilets.


8. Great Hall

A meeting with Aerialise last week agreed to undertake repairs to the floor and the roof of the Great Hall as well as build a storage cupboard. Bob Cooney has estimated $5-6,000 for the work. The floorboard wood rot is quite substantial. ARC workers would also be involved in helping get rid of the woodrot where the chairs are stored and concreting that area. Flaps are also to be installed on the outside doors to keep water out and the drains need to be regularly cleared to help mitigate flooding.


9. General Business

a) JR asked the Board members to take responsibility for projects they have a strong interest in. GH volunteered to work on the Front Gate project.


b) Greening Australia: are organising a Business day clean up of the Centre on Tuesday 24th February 2009. The Board endorses the clean up and asks that Leanne email the details to all members, ass. Members and others at the Centre.


c) Letty Scott, an indigenous, black deaths in custody activist passed away on the 14th February of cancer.

 The Board agrees to donate $100 to help defray funeral costs for Letty as they are fundraising in order to get her body buried in Alice Springs.

Moved GH Seconded JR Adopted

 Meeting ended 8pm


Posted by editor at 11:08 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 21 March 2009 11:14 AM NZT
'Peace' breaks out at Addison Road Centre, back slaps etc but to what end?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: local news


And so the next chapter in the patchy history of Addison Rd Community Centre rolls on. It seems the radical film maker John Reyolds behind the nascent festival above is now the new president until the next AGM. We had an email from the Inner West Courier about the ARC but whether they have written any stories about it I do wonder. The local press have been hopeless till now at covering this story it seems:

Sent: Monday, March 09, 2009 3:52 PM
Subject: addison road board

Hi Tom,

Is there a number I can call you on regarding the Addison Road Centre board?Regards,Sam Worrad, Journalist, Inner West Courier.

We received this amongst many emails recently:

Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 1:10 AM
Subject: ARC

Peace seems to have broken out at ARC. There appears to be not a trace of Andrews, her husband or Burgmann. As far as I know the ALP has disappeared from the place which was Burgmann's last bit of influence. How quickly things can change. Your efforts played a part in cleaning up the place. Activism does have its place. Keep up the good work.
Best regards
Not so fast! We replied as follows in a somewhat depressing way:
Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:18 AM
Subject: Mmm ...Re: ARC

Thanks for the comments. Now that it is known (?) I'm moving out of the area mid April I'm getting some 'good on you' type comments. I suspect it's just relief a real activist is moving on. And nostalgia perhaps given the ARC is rudderless.
Peace? Mmm.  I wonder. After so many years of secrets and favourtism and bullying culture and I do wonder.
The key is transparency as an ethos. Circulating the old minutes is one positive step. But it's a very very very low base.
Here are some real problems.
1. Reynolds as president - he installed Andrews and allowed her position to remain without advertising for close to 18 months. That's not an honest broker.
2. I personally have a grievance for bullying against Reynolds which the Board refused to deal with under their so called grievance procedure.
3. Reynolds is proudly militant in his dealings with Ch31 and doesn't believe in Gandhi style social action at all. Good luck ARC.
4. Where [are] the explanations and excuses of the resigned board members to the general public, let alone tenants.
5. The gerrymander against 50% of the tenants namely artists and the like is still well in place with one token vote at an AGM.
6. The grounds are in a bad state - look at the piles of dirt between ChildCare and Conservation Volunteers. They are emblematic of leakage of nutrients out of the system  and poor ground keeping. This returns the centre back to 2003 when I started there - 5 times worse. The converse are the lawn dead/dirt patches being the norm rather than the exception. The attempts at systematic composting are gone to generate mulch for the grounds. Also the mowing too short is dumb. Look out street frontage. Unswept is the norm.Unweeded planters.
7. Reverse Garbage have annexed open space with a shipping container likely without any debate or DA from council. Open space!
8. Mamouney personally authorised the felling of several young healthy gum trees which arguably were a risk to the power lines - a few years ago. Trouble is it was highly illegal. That's why the stumps were ground down and you can't see them. This attitude prevails as does his influence along with dinosaurs like Vivi. The grounds crew knew it was illegal too. I got an opinion from Helen at the nursery - all good healthy trees. No transparency.
9. And to really prove nothing changes - Terry Cutcliffe still has no obligation to provide financial reports for all that free rent and indeed positive rental income from studios.
10. The budget no doubt is still in dire state and Andrews was willing to go because the place was increasingly broke and couldn't pay her anyway. One reason for the state of the budget is poor marshalling of assets  - like the rent free gallery and ancillary rooms over 500 sqm. Also with the grounds looking fairly dodgy there will less interest in events on the grounds.
11. The website which might have been really interactive and a nurtured resource of all tenants has gone dormant or moribund for a good 12 months. Sad since I was instrumental in building it.
All in all the dinosaurs are firmly entrenched and suppressing the next generation from having a genuine role in their own community centre. I put it down to the arrogance of the boomers. And I specifically refer to Cutcliffe, Mamouney, Vivi while you would probably include Burgmann.
Yours truly
Tom McLoughlin
This correspondence builds on 'leaks' earlier this month. Leaks but really just plain old communication about matters of general public interest which should be orthodox transparency which somehow in the 'State of Fear' in Sydney and NSW becomes mystery and shame:

Subject: Re: ARC Steering Committee
Date: Mon, 09 Mar 2009 15:53:10 +1100

To all members and Associate Members
ARC Plan Steering Committee

Following the Special general meeting of last week we are
calling for  nominations from Centre users to be part of the
Steering Committee for  the New Planning process.
The steering committee should have reasonable representation
from the  main interest areas of Centre users. There are 6
main types of interest  areas in the Centre...

Community Service, Educational, Environment, Cultural,
Theatre&Performance, Visual Arts

We would like to get a cross section of people connected to
the major  interest areas of user groups represented on the
Steering Committee. If  you would like to volunteer to be
part of the Steering committee please  fill in the attached
form and return it to us by 13/3/09. Even if you  have
already sent an expression of interest to join the Committee
you  should still fill in the short form. Please note this
invitation is also  open to associate members.

Also please remember that there will be many other
opportunities to  participate in the planning process once
it is up and running.

John Reynolds


One cynic responds as follows:

Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 12:09 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: ARC Steering Committee

> [Hello] Tom,
> This is all a waste of time and money.  When Don was last
> president of ARC in 2005(?) he produced the ADDISON ROAD
> The report appears to have been professionally done and is
> fairly exhaustive and, of course, very little of it has been
> followed through.  What they are now proposing to do is a
> repeat of the same.

As we always say when it comes to Addison Road Centre transparency is the key, so we applaud these minutes being circulated unlike so many before, and we post them in the next story in full, as per this email:

Subject: Minutes of the Last 3 Meetings
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 09:38:55 +1100

Dear Member,

Please find attached the minutes for the last three

Sue Paraha

We don't know who Sue Paraha is either, presumably a new office administrator amongst a steady procession. We wish her well like all the others .... if they do a good job and act in an even handed and transparent way.

Posted by editor at 10:38 AM NZT
Sunday, 1 March 2009
Addison Road Centre spills general manager and board at special general meeting
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: local news

 Picture: A chubby Yvette Andrews in red next to then conservative independent Mayor of Marrickville Morris Hanna, with a local chess expert at right. Pathetic political chess for real has been going on at the ARC for years

Not a word it seems of reportage in the big or little media at the forced removal of ARC community centre general manager Yvette Andrews, ALP aparatchik and colleague and co-author of Meredith Burgman. Though we missed the latest NSW Stateline where Australia's biggest community centre might be discussed. Maybe. 

GM Andrews who never faced a competitive job selection process for over 15 months for her $60K job, as appointed by political mates on the board. What a scandal.

The ARC itself is in the heart of federal MP Anthony Albanese's seat and Minister Carmel Tebutt's state electorate but they won't touch this with a barge pole. And now the scandal has climaxed with Andrews departure in mystery amongst allegations of violence and powermongering. The community are left guessing what is going on with our community centre run by a closed shop there.

There have been unconfirmed reports that Marrickville Council in the last 6 weeks specifically declined to nominate anyone to participate on the Board under Andrews. Then we heard of 3 and then 4 members of the Board resigning in the last month as well. Now a recent special meeting appears to have finished the execution of the Andrews tenure: One of at least 4 different sources we have there emailed us as follows:

Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 10:13 PM
Subject: ARC

Nothing much happening at ARC. John Reynolds is in charge.. Geoff Hague is back on the board. Yvette Andrews is gone. There are three vacancies on the board. Apparently nothing controversial happened at the SGM. Don Mamouney got support for a new five year plan. A new GM is to be sought through advertising. Hardly a trace of Andrews, her husband or Burgmann remain. A new chance for some transparency and good governance. Best wishes. 

SAM wrote of the special general meeting to be held last Wednesday here:

Saturday, 7 February 2009
And perhaps the Big Media have vacated the field given we have done so much reportage on the saga: 
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Monday, 20 October 2008 Questions with notice for Addison Rd Community Centre AGM 5 Nov 08
Mood:  chatty
Topic: local news
Tuesday, 8 July 2008 Burgmann's mate in job sinecure at closed shop Addison Rd Centre
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

Thursday, 3 April 2008 Addison Road Community Centre board minutes leak out, suggesting more ructions?
Mood: quizzical
Topic: local news

Saturday, 9 February 2008 Addison Rd Centre General Manager 'Job Vacancy' closing date 1st April 2008
Mood: a-ok
Topic: local news
Monday, 14 January 2008


It may be we are witnessing a metaphorical choo choo train just going round and round in circles: There is no lasting progress in governance at the ARC, in our view, until there is a total reform of transparency in the centre. That is:

- minutes of Board Meetings should be public (board meetings probably should be held in public too);  
- there should be a regular centre newsletter for tenants and the public alike;
- the centre greatly suffers from lack of a social central meeting place for tenants and visitors, that could be provided by a kiosk or cafe. This could be run on a non profit basis as per all tenancies. Currently every group and the public are balkanised and lack synergy.
This culture of secrets has led to long time affiliates and/or tenancies orchestating irregular lease deals. It has meant two categories of tenants with a great many artists and small tenants having no voting franchise at the AGM in a ruthless gerrymander. It has resulted in one large gallery space collecting private rent and making private sales with no financial reportage while using this public building for 4 years.

Picture: 15 months later and the ALP fix at the ARC is shattered just like this old slab of concrete in the course of this writer's gardening duties: Take a year of frustration at systemic bullying by a dishonest board, one sledge hammer .....

Posted by editor at 12:04 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 1 March 2009 1:22 PM EADT
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Bikie club explosion a day after, pedestrians beware cars and bombs!
Topic: local news

We went down to the Hells Angels building on Crystal street roughly 30 hours after the dramatic event early 4th Feb. After the police had gone, the street re-opened, the big media done and dusted. A couple of mild mannered sight see-ers even at 6 am. And a sad sorry neighbouring small business owner arriving early for work, the day after their world went boom.

Some reflective images here:

Posted by editor at 5:04 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 5:41 AM EADT
Curious case of imploding Board at Addison Rd Community Centre as 3 resign, special meeting 25 Feb
Topic: local news

Picture: A written circular to all tenants, not emailed, perhaps so that the document will not then appear on the SAM local news website. A noticeable absentee is board member and local ALP mayor Sam Iskander. Also notable is abstention of John Reynolds of radical left group Art Resistance, who himself has been the subject of allegations of bullying (by this writer in fact, editor of SAM as ex ARC employee 2003-2007).


As we understand, as a former employee and ongoing friend of the ARC, the president Narelle Mantle and 2 others resigned last Wednesday 4th February 2009. It may be a gender thing as they are all women we are advised.

Given the general manager Yvette Andrews is a famous feminist writer with Meredith Burgmann of The Ernies, also former staffer to Burgmann, we wonder if the age old gender war has resurfaced at the ARC.

Or perhaps as a source writes below it is "amid allegations of nepotism, mismanagement and bad behaviour"

Readers of SAM may recall our regular updates regarding;

- most recently allegation of mild assault of a previous president Don Mamouney;

- Mamouney credited with achieving a 50 year community lease of the 4 ha site in 2003 losing his Australia Council grant funding recently at Sidetrack Theatre;

- strange failure to implement open employment procedures for Yvette Andrews, and allegations of nepotism with employment of her spouse John Blair;

- strange failure to openly tender the huge gallery building to the non profit sector, with current tenant sometimes offering works at $30,000 a pop;

- almost complete absence of financial reporting of various senior tenancies to the public regarding the public land;

- no circulation of board minutes to tenants let alone the surrounding Marrickville community,

- of long time ALP co-option allegations with the current ALP Mayor Sam Iskander on the board.

- bad faith in dealing with grievances over bullying at the ARC;

- effective but controversial previous manager jumped before he was pushed

Even allowing for the usual argy bargy in any community organisation where competing philosophies, level of focus, and differential skills and talent roam free, this is indeed fractious.

One current respected Greens Councilor told us recently they "hate the place".

What indeed is going on, other than tedious, ineffective, sleazy politics? As we always say, transparency is the key to a better future at the ARC. Such a simple concept but amazingly influential.

Transparency - not for shaming or embarrassment or revenge, but for better capacity building, co-operation and unexpected synergy. In short of healthy democracy.

In our 15 years in the sector we know the community sector is an amazing pool of talent. The people already there at the ARC also have immense talents but they are being sabotaged by their own baulkanisation. And that's a systemic thing to maintain an existing power structure. The local ALP in reality. In many cases that existing power structure involves self serving and arguable sweet heart deals for the long term tenants themselves.

There is no guarantee that what comes after will be any different given the precedent set.

Who indeed are the innocent players of good faith here? Transparency is the key.

It's small wonder the ALP got a 10% swing against them at the last local council election. They can blame it on state wide reaction to Wollongong scandal but some new ALP councilors for instance at Leichhardt bucked the trend. So we don't really buy that. We think the voters are well informed on local concerns in the age of the internet and voting accordingly.

For instance it defies belief why Meredith Burgmann is a rump of 1 for the ALP on the Sydney City Council. A source tells us Burgmann presents as bewildered at her council meetings "because she doesn't have anyone to do things for her anymore".


Latest developments

So now we understand last Wednesday 4th February 2009 the Board met and 3 of the 7 members resigned.

The 3 we understand are Narelle Mantle (president ARC, general manager Reverse Garbage), Laurel Draffen (a ring in "community member" from a govt dept: NSW Federation of Housing Associations "Laurel Draffen, Manager - Good Practice Unit"), and Emma Synott ("Emma Synnott, Senior Sustainability Consultant. Arup, Sydney Office"). Arup is a developer.

As one source writes yesterday:

Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009 11:22 PM
Subject: ARC
There is to be a Special General Meeting of the ARC on 25 February. The President and the two community reps have resigned from the board leaving Andrews floundering amid allegations of nepotism, mismanagement and bad behaviour generally at the Centre. An opportunity for some transparency and democracy.

Indeed another source - it's called stock standard democracy folks - forwarded this series of emails about this special general meeting (from most recent, to oldest):

# 1 .............................

Subject: Re: ARC Special General Meeting
Date: Fri, 06 Feb 2009 14:36:50 +1100

Dear Vivi: Thanks for your concern. In calling this meeting
we are hoping to provide an opportunity for all members to
have a say in the development of ARC. As you know I was
instrumental in setting up a Board structure for Addison
Road. The reason I was such a strong advocate of replacing
the old 35 member management committee and executive that
was our governing body until the early 90s was that, among
other things, it was an outmoded and inefficient instrument
that often became bogged down in trivialities and was open
to the kind of corruption that led to the loss of more than
a million dollars in funding and eventually threatened the
Head Lease. Having said that I am not advocating a return to
the older system but I am concerned to ensure that there is
a balance between the necessary executive powers of the
board and that of the membership. Essentially my feeling is
that the Board is there to serve the membership. When we
elect a board we have a reasonable expectation that they
will act on our behalf and in the best interests of the
Centre and that their actions should be accountable and
transparent and that they will employ best practice
particularly in relation to employment practices. Clearly
in recent times these expectations have often been ignored.
We have begun to be addressed and treated as "tenants" ,
minutes have not been circulated and in fact the minutes
have not even been placed in the minute book. (this was
true less than 2 weeks ago). In the last couple of months I
have raised some major concerns with the board and with the
manager which eventually led to me being injured and later
drunkenly abused in a board meeting. This is not the ARC
that we have struggled to build and nor does it represent
the best of what we do here. Following the last board
meeting we have a greatly depleted BOD. We need to get
behind the remaining directors who have the task of
rebuilding the board. This SGM can help. The necessity of
such a process is now more urgent than ever. We need to
restore trust, safety, and good governance and we need to
do so with a generosity of spirit. In calling this SGM, I
think I can speak for the other signatories by saying the
meeting has been called, in a way that we can put negativity
behind us and work openly and creatively towards the future
of ARC. I hope you and all other members will engage with
the process to make it enjoyable, optimistic and



# 2 ......................................

Vivi Koutsounadis wrote:
> Dear Don
> Thanks for the clarification but did members approach the
BOD > requesting a meeting and they refused to hold one. I
think it would > be better if we request them to call a
meeting and if they refuse we > go ahead with the members
meeting. In my view I think we need to > follow a process
of resolving an issues first altogether before > members
calling special meeting. >
> Regards
> Vivi

# 3 ............................................

> ----- Original Message ----- From: "don mamouney"
Sent: Friday, February 06, 2009
12:09 PM > Subject: Re: ARC Special General Meeting
>> Thanks also Vivi: Under section 9.4. Members may call a
sgm provided >> they meet the cost of holding the meeting
>> Regards
>> Don
>>> Dear Don,
>>> Thank you for your message. I am a bit confused about
the process >>> and the the notice you sent for a Special
General Meeting. As I >>> understand it members sign a
requisition for an >>> Extraordinary/Special General
meeting to be held and direct this to >>> the Board of
Directors of the organisation to call the meeting. If >>>
they do not call a meeting within the specified time, then
the >>> members call the meeting themselves. Have members
requested the BOD >>> to hold such a meeting and they did
not? Can you please clarify. >>>
>>> Regards
>>> Vivi Germanos-Koutsounadis
>>> Executive Director, ECCFCSC.

# 4 ..................................................

>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Sidetrack"
>>> To: "Don Mamouney"
>>> Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 4:19 PM
>>> Subject: ARC Special General Meeting
>>>> Dear Members: As I indicated in my last email here is a
>>>> requisition for a special general meeting of ARC. The
signed copy >>>> of this was put into your pidgeon hole at
ARC today. Let's make >>>> this meeting an opportunity to
imagine and plan a new ARC. Let's >>>> break out of this
cycle of mistrust, fear and negativity, Let's >>>> talk,
lets imagine new possibilities for ARC in the future. If you
>>>> have any questions please feel free to contact me.

>>>> The best email and number to get me on are as follows
>>>> Regards
>>>> Don Mamouney

# 5............................ (attachment to # 4)

>>>> We the undersigned members of ARC call a Special
General Meeting >>>> of the Addison Road Centre for arts,
culture community and >>>> environment Ltd under 9.4.1 of
the constitution >>>>
>>>> Date and Time 6pm Wednesday February 25
>>>> Place: The Addison Gallery
>>>> Name: Don Mamouney [ principal Sidetrack Theatre, former president ARC and father of new Board structure and constitution: SAM editor]
>>>> Name: Geoff Hague [principal Ultimo Project artist studios: SAM editor]
>>>> Name: Ridvan Manov [principal Turkish Welfare, martial arts expert/teacher, tenant 20 years plus: SAM editor]
>>>> Purpose of Meeting: To pass resolutions towards a new
Strategic >>>> Plan for ARC
>>>> Preamble: It is now many years since ARC went through a
thorough >>>> planning process. The underlying intention of
calling this meeting >>>> is to set in motion a process
through which all ARC members, >>>> including associate
members and members of Centre groups will be >>>> able to
contribute to the future development and direction of the
>>>> Centre through the creation of new Five Year Strategic
Plan. >>>>
>>>> We would like to see a plan emerge from the process
which is able >>>> to provide a management framework
through which ARC can better >>>> serve the membership and
the broader community through improved >>>> management and
communication practices; and a planned process of >>>>
development and maintenance of the grounds buildings and
activities >>>> of the Centre.
>>>> Motion
>>>> 1.1 That ARC develop a new Five Year Strategic Plan.
>>>> 1.2 The new strategic plan should include all aspects
of the Centre >>>> including but not limited to our
Cultural and Community mission, >>>> aims and objectives;
grounds planning, traffic management and >>>> buildings
maintenance and development; management and staffing >>>>
needs, employment procedures and principles, leasing policy,
>>>> sustainability and environmental practices; governance
issues, >>>> budgeting and financial reporting and the
rights and >>>> responsibilities of members.
>>>> 1.3 And that the process of creating the plan include
the >>>> employment of an independent Facilitator to
assist the process and >>>> presentation of the new plan.
>>>> 1.4 And that this meeting approves a budget of up to
$30,000 >>>> towards the planning process
>>>> 1.5 And that the Five Year Plan must be approved by the
full >>>> membership in a specially called meeting or
meetings. >>>>
>>>> 1.6 And that this meeting elect an organising sub
committee to >>>> oversee the development of the plan and
that the subcommittee be >>>> made up of 2 ARC member group
board members, 3 members, not >>>> currently board members
, and 1 associate member. >>>>
>>>> Access
>>>> 1.7 And that should the Strategic plan subcommittee or
the >>>> facilitator need access or copies of any papers,
contracts, >>>> budgets, financial records or documents for
the purposes of >>>> reviewing current and past practices
of the company that access and >>>> copies be freely
provided. >>>>
>>>> Costing and Prioritising
>>>> 1.8 And that in order that development and planning
instruments can >>>> be prioritised within the Centre's
budget frame work that all >>>> agreed to development
proposals be fully costed. >>>>
>>>> 1.9 And that development, planning instruments and
policies be >>>> prioritised
>>>> Time Frame
>>>> 1.10 And that this meeting adopts the following
time-frame >>>> guidance for the completion of the plan
noting that the final >>>> time-frame will be influenced
by the availability and methodology >>>> of the
Facilitator. >>>>
>>>> March/09: Organising sub committee Call for expressions
of interest >>>> from prospective Facilitators, shortlist,
interview and contract a >>>> Facilitator
>>>> May/June/09: Facilitator conducts a series of planning
meetings >>>> with the Centre membership. With a draft plan
sent to members by >>>> June 30. Members feed back on draft
plan >>>>
>>>> July/09: Special General meeting of membership to
approve plan >>>>
>>>> Moved by... Don Mamouney
>>>> Seconded by... Geoff Hague

Posted by editor at 3:25 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 7 February 2009 5:02 AM EADT
Saturday, 31 January 2009
Norman Lee father of Ben Lee, a nasty bald headed political raptor expelled by the local ALP
Topic: local news

Some historical 'clarifications' are needed of the Ben Lee cover story in the Good Weekend supplement to the Sydney Morning Herald today regarding his political father Norman Lee. It doesn't behove well to speak ill of the dead especially given one's own alcoholic father was just buried yesterday in Melbourne. But the true nature of Norman Lee the local council politician should be recorded. The truth - not rose tinted. This might also help his son Ben Lee unscramble a bit.

Here's our campaign photo, skinny and hairy, in 1995 with Rosie (medical student) and Lexy (actor) on the successful ticket with about 15 others competing for the last councilor position in Bondi Ward behind Labor and Liberal.

This writer sat 2 seats from Norman Lee for 4 years 1995 to 1999, Cr Peter Moscat (ALP) thankfully between us. That was every Tuesday evening till late and one Saturday a month for 4 years. You knew these people like family members loved or not. Lee was the most loathsome of the 12 councilors plus senior staff around the chamber, not least because of his skills at niggling and undermining of a personal not policy nature. He was an independent for the Dover Heights, Rose Bay, Vaucluse end of Waverley Council. His constituency was in particular the Jewish vote up there.

No problem with that, a significant demographic with an inherent need for democratic cultural representation. He was for most of the next 4 years always an independent aligned personally to Armitage as Mayor for 2 of those years. Apparently he had been booted out of the ALP caucus peviously as unmanageable.

Contrary to the sanitised version in the press today possibly sourced to then mayor Barbara Armitage via journo John Huxley, Norman was an aggressive prick and this was well understood by most councilors.

His clashes with youthful fellow Jewish councilor George Newhouse (in the ALP proper) were often and at times serious. At one point we intervened Gandhi style to prevent a sincere threat of defamation proceedings by Newhouse on Lee over the latter's rumour mongering in their common social networks. This would have infected the reputation of the council and increase friction at meetings already demanding enough. This was not normal politiking, ALP to Liberal or my own Green Party at that time. Lee was a brute and a dinosaur.

From the very first in 1995 Lee took a set against this writer possibly for being a bright eyed idealistic successful Green Party councilor. In reality on many discretionary decisions outside party platforms councilors could chop and change to make shifting and creative alliances. But Lee always spoke against and voted against the Green position if at all possible. It became cliche for to speak in opposition to us far more than any Labor or Liberal councilor cared to or needed to. Indeed he was instrumental in attempting to orchestrate a referral of this writer to the Dept of Local Govt to have us expelled from council for campaigning against the Waterloo Incinerator. Just another example of political bullying.

Some, but by no means all of this conflict with Lee might be explained as normal policy clashes over closure of that facility spewing dioxins. Lee and the ALP under Armitage but not so much now MP, then Cr, Paul Pearce wanted to rebuild it, not closure. It was the closure decision in 1997 by the NSW State Government that saw Paul Pearce take over Armitage's role as leader of the ALP group, the mayoralty and fast track to Ernie Page's seat in Parliament.

Fact is Norman Lee was a nasty little man at Waverley Council 95-99. We always put his abrasiveness down to our position being one of true independence, as an honest broker between the two major parties in a well to do part of the city. By contrast Lee was independent in name only as the crucial last vote keeping Barbara Armitage in power. Never was a mayor more happy than to see Norman return after a serious heart attack late 1997 or so.

True Lee senior was always associated with Norman Andrews House charity for the homeless, and his turf was chair of the Traffic Committee which he did competently. But these were the exception not the rule. More generally he was a brawler and contrarian on his last legs.

A change in tone eventually transpried when he linked arms at a Port Botany picket line against the Patricks Howard Govt takeover of industrial relations. Norman was heard to call the federal Government "fascist" in the council chamber which was surprising given his constant negative attitude to the Greens. He was re admitted to membership of the ALP in his last years of life, possibly on the strength of this renewed loyalty.

Lee made it easier in the end for the Green Party to make a decision to sell off vacant public land for house blocks in Dover Heights - Norman's turf - in order to transfer the income for construction of the new Waverley Library in Bondi Junction. Norman wanted them to be tennis courts to promote outdoor sports, which meant in effect no library. And intrusive floodlights and noisy balls going bop, bop, bop all day or night in a built up area. Ironic therefore to see his name and ours on the same plaque (below). A travesty really of history albeit good unity politics by the Labor machine.

It's true Norman Lee was proud of his son Ben, explaining how he played music from the youngest age at BeeBees bar and lounge when it was on Curlewis St Bondi , now a phone shop if memory serves. To paraphrase John Lee Hooker when a kid has the boogie woogie in him it has to come out.

True Lee senior was entertaining at times, recalling the Liberal Mayor of the 1980ies at a Red Cross charity dinner going from table to table at the end of the function and finishing every leftover half glass of wine. He was an alcoholic and said to be a Force of Darkness for the developer lobby. This was the time of ICAC corruption finding against then director of planning Don Stait pursued to the end by Armitage and Lee providing the muscle for her protection.

For these achievements of throwing out the spiv white shoe brigade at Waverley in the 1980ies when it counted the community can and should be grateful but the vicious grip on power afterwards late 90ies was unhealthy. In 1999 the Green Councilor numbers tripled from 1 to 3, though this writer stepped down for other interests. Richard Davidson as leader of the Liberal Group including now Mayor Sally Betts told us in 1999 if only we had stayed "you would have been mayor" with 3 Green and Liberal votes. A position he of course really aspired to. Ah yes Richard, but then possibly only to end up like Norman Lee.

And how pray tell would that help save the forests?

Posted by editor at 9:29 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 1 February 2009 10:33 AM EADT
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Skinny turns 40
Mood:  party time!
Topic: local news

Funny man Adam Spencer, ABC Sydney Radio is 40 today apparently. Which usually means packing on the lard but in his case the guy is a whippet confessing on air he lost 35 kg. Gutsy!

Here's a card funny man:

Posted by editor at 3:43 PM EADT

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