New battles

December 17th, 2011

This web site had been allowed to languish, as our personal battle with Go Ape/Adventure Forest is over for the moment. When the domain name and hosting service came up for renewal, I almost let them lapse. However, I thought the information here could be useful to other groups, so I renewed the site for another year, even though it hadn’t been updated for a very long time. As it turned out, two local issues have recently been brought to my attention.

Cumberland State Forest

In December 2010, Adventure Forest (our Go Ape friends) moved their attention to Cumberland State Forest: Forests NSW named them as the preferred proponent to develop a “treetop adventure trail” there.

Adventure Forest seem to be distancing themselves from the “Go Ape” brand, but Adventure Forest and Go Ape are the same people in Australia. The Go Ape Australia web site still says, “… maybe you just want to be Tarzan and swing through the trees shouting, ‘arrrh-a-arrrh-a-arrrhhhh!’ We’re fine with that too.”

Hill Road Reserve, West Pennant Hills

Residents there are most concerned about a proposal which involves the removal of existing Blue Gum High Forest.

In response to these issues, I have updated our Action page this weekend to offer the best advice I can for groups concerned about developments in bushland in their area.

If you know of other sites or contacts, or have other advice, please leave a comment here.

Draft Plan of Management for Bidjigal Reserve

November 22nd, 2010

Community comments are invited on the draft plan of management for Bidjigal Reserve. The exhibition period is from 19 November 2010 – 16 December 2010.

You can download the documents from:

Copies of the draft plan can also be viewed during the Exhibition Period at:

  • LPMA Parramatta Office – Level 12, 10 Valentine Avenue, Parramatta between 8.30 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday (phone 8836 5300).
  • The Darug Research and Information Centre – 71 Seven Hills Road, Seven Hills during opening hours: Mon, Wed & Fri 9.00am – 2.00pm, Sat & Sun 9.00am – 3.00pm (phone 9622 4081).

Community feedback is now invited on the draft plan and written submissions should be addressed to:

Bidjigal Reserve Plan of Management

Ecological Australia Pty Ltd,

PO Box 12 Sutherland NSW 1499

or emailed to:

bidjigal@ecoaus.com.au

Submissions will be received up to close of business on Friday 17 December 2010.

Also keep your eye on the Bidjigal Reserve Trust web site.

Bidjigal Reserve Trust newletter and website

November 22nd, 2010

The Bidjigal Reserve Trust website has grown and now includes:

as well as information for volunteers. There is also news on the Draft Plan of Management (more on that in the next post).

Well worth keeping an eye on.

Well done & thanks!

February 5th, 2010

Go-Ape DA refused by Hills Shire Council.

Go-Ape DA refused by Hills Shire Council.

Go-Ape DA refused by Hills Shire Council.

I know it’s been written before but I just like typing it and reading it over and over.

Well done to everyone involved, so many people who supported the fight, and as Di said, delivered leaflets, wrote to Council, sent ideas, attended meetings and provided input and support along the way.

To those who brought this to the attention of all of us in the first place, to those who assisted with the presentations and the presenters themselves, to a few (who will remain un-named) who used their political clout and nous to bring influence to bear, to The Hills Shire Council for having in place a system which allowed us to have input into the process and for the consideration shown, to Di for her superb website which has held all of this together and to everyone else involved a massive……

THANK YOU!


Whilst Go-Ape has the option of going to the NSW Land & Environment Court I’m sure that this DA will be treated as it deserves – stay tuned!

Finally I’d like to share something that someone told me about a week ago and on reflection I believe is true and probably sums up our biggest achievement.

“this fight against the Go-Ape DA has brought the whole community together…..”

Michael

Stage Two Update – and thank you everyone!

February 4th, 2010

Many, many thanks to the hundreds of people who supported us in our efforts to have this totally inappropriate development thrown out! Council received 242 submissions, with 230 of them being objections and only 12 in favour.

Those of you who lodged objections should get a letter from Council advising you of the decision. Next week’s local papers should also carry a notice of the refusal of consent for DA 36/2010/HA.

The Go Ape application was Item 4 on the agenda of the Development Assessment Unit meeting held on 2 February 2010. I have extracted just Item 4 so you can read Council’s report on the Go Ape DA as it appears in the agenda (pdf – 1.6Mb). This is a lot easier than wading through the pdf on Council’s website which includes all the other DAs considered that night. Gotta love the words “Does not comply”!

As we thought, the applicant has twelve months to lodge an appeal with the Land and Environment Court. Should this happen, we will update this site and email everyone on our list.

Di

Stage Two – DAU decision stands

February 4th, 2010

We’ve won this battle, though the war may still be simmering.

No Councillors notified Council that they wished to have the Go Ape application determined by a full Council meeting. Consequently, the Development Assessment Unit’s decision stands, and consent for the Go Ape development has been refused by the Hill Shire Council.

Council will now write to Go Ape, and to those who made submissions, notifying them formally that consent for the development has been refused.

However, Go Ape may still lodge an appeal with the Land and Environment Court. I have a feeling they have twelve months! to do this, but I will confirm that when I find out.

Stage One – DAU refuses Go Ape application!

February 3rd, 2010

Council’s Development Assessment Unit met last night (Tuesday) to consider the report on the Go Ape proposal. We have been advised that the DAU accepted the report and, accordingly, refused the Go Ape application.

Councillors now have until 5.00pm tonight to “make written notification to have the matter determined by a full Council meeting”. If at least three Councillors do this, then the DAU decision will be put aside and the matter will, instead, be decided at a full Council meeting.

More news tomorrow!

Decision Time!

January 29th, 2010

It’s been a long wait, but things are finally moving again.

If you attended the reconciliation meeting in September, you should have received a letter from Council this week. In it, they advise that a report on the Go Ape proposal has been prepared and is to go before the Council’s Development Assessment Unit on Tuesday night, 2 February 2010.

The DAU meeting is a staff meeting and is not open to the public. The agenda, containing the full report, is now available from:

DAU Agenda – 2 February 2010

The report recommends that the application be refused on many grounds. It’s very difficult to envisage the DAU doing anything other than refusing the application. Having said that, the possible scenarios are (I think):

  1. The application is refused, and three Councillors do not make written notification to have the matter determined by a full Council meeting. Go Ape could then go to the Land and Environment Court.
  2. The application is refused, but at least three Councillors do make written notification to have the matter determined by a full Council meeting (i.e. there are three councillors who are in favour of Go Ape and want to argue the DAU decision in a full meeting of council). If that happens, we will need to mobilise again – full lobbying regalia will be required! We will know if this has happened on Thursday morning.
  3. Despite the recommendation to refuse the application, the DAU approves it (possibly with conditions attached). If this happens, we will need to phone or email councillors promptly to ask them to have the matter taken to a full Council meeting. They only have until 5pm that day (Wednesday). If it goes to a full meeting, we would, of course, be back in fully lobbying mode.
  4. The DAU could, perhaps, refer the matter to a full Council meeting without making a decision. Again, we would go on a war footing!

As soon as we have any news, we will report it here on the web site. If we do need to start lobbying again, email will be quickest means of getting in touch with people. If you haven’t already sent us your email address, please use the Contact page to get in touch.

Di

Still waiting

December 3rd, 2009

It looks like it will be the new year before we hear any concrete news from Council on the Go Ape application. We’re told Patience is a virtue.

In other happenings, Go Ape have a Q & A forum for their proposed development in Itchen Valley Country Park in the UK. It includes this interesting exchange:

Q: The Friends of Lever park claim that you applied to cut down 3 trees, but you actually felled 21 with no felling license, before you were stopped by objections. Is this true? Have you applied to fell more? Have you applied for an extra zip wire there? Is this what we can expect at IVCP? A few questions, please answer them all. Thank-you

Submitted by J on
19 November 2009

A: You are correct, there were more trees cut down than we had planned at Lever Park.  This was a mistake, and not intentional and we can assure you that this mistake will not be made again. In the initial design for the course at Lever Park, we planned for a zip wire on site 4, however this would have meant further trees being felled so we did not proceed with this plan. As a result, we have been running with a solution of a down ladder. This has reduced course flow, and so results in more people on the ground and a long walk to the next site, which is less than satisfactory for us and for other park users. We have recently worked out a slightly different design to allow for the planned zip wire which will not require further felling. We can assure you that our application for Itchen Valley will remain as it is and there will be no further additions to the course.

Submitted by Go Ape on
23 November 2009

Cutting down 7 times more trees than you have permission for is a pretty big ‘mistake’.

Making sure our fight against Go Ape is not forgotten

November 23rd, 2009

Michael features in this week’s Hills Shire Times again. This time he is drawing attention to the drumming workshops in the UK – typical of the disruptive, high-noise activities favoured by Go Ape.