RSL sub-branch needs help to save Gosford’s water supply

Mangrove Mountain tip – what we know.pg8

Money for land was donated by Lt Colonel Taylor DSO, a well decorated war hero, to be held in trust for the future benefit of the community by the local RSL sub branch.

A small portion of the land was given, for a nominal fee, to the Mangrove Mountain Memorial Club along with a substantial loan.

After an 18-hole golf course had been established, the Memorial Club asked to lease it, requesting permission to put in 250,000 tonnes of clean soil and rock, with a set finish date of four years later.

There is now a massive hole containing well over one million tonnes of rubbish, much of it thought to be contaminated. It is dug into the bed of Hallards Creek which feeds into Ourimbah Creek.

Ourimbah creek feeds Mardi Dam and is pumped to Mangrove Dam. The hole penetrates the underground aquifer.

It may take a few years, but ultimately, the entire Central Coast water supply will be affected.

When the local community complained, Chris Holstein, representing both Gosford Council and State Government at the time, attended a community meeting and informed those present that council had met with representatives of Bingo, along with Verde Terra, (both related tenants responsible for control of the land fill), the Memorial Club and the owners of the land.

The owners then identified themselves, informing us that they had not been informed about, nor invited to, the meeting.

To this day we don’t know who was claiming to be the owners (at that secret meeting). For the tip to have been allowed, Gosford Council had to give consent.

It is illegal to do so without either consent or consultation with the owners. So what facilitated this injustice, with no notifi cation to the owners or the local community? For two years, our sub branch has been in court, as Gosford Council subpoenaed them to be there.

It has cost the sub branch and the individuals a great deal of money and stress, yet council has already admitted that the RSL sub branch has done nothing wrong.

Council has now signed consent orders to allow a further 1.3 million cubic metres of rubbish plus 1.1 million cubic metres of other material, and allowed the tip to extend over the entire land area, i. e. the whole golf course, including Lt Colonel Taylors’ ashes.

This allows an average of 55 trucks in each day, meaning that the extra trucks, with their bogie trailers, can be brought in to make up for public holidays.

This will be reviewed every three years and altered as Gosford Council and Verde Terra see fit, meaning we could see rubbish being deposited into the catchment for many more years.

At a public meeting, we were told it was intended to be for at least 40 years.

Because the owners did not agree, the remaining “conspirators” have got the NSW RSL on side and the NSWRSL are taking the sub branch to the Supreme Court in an attempt to force them to hand over the deeds so that they can sell the land to Verde Terra for a fraction of its real value.

They (NSW RSL) will pocket the money. Having already frozen the sub branch’s assets, they have left them with no fighting funds.

We know they have already advised the sub branches to put legacy as a last preference to donate to. That demonstrates the NSW RSL’s attitude to our servicemen and their families.

I am reliably informed that it is not uncommon for the NSW RSL to appropriate the entire assets of a sub branch. For what purpose? To build massive investment properties in the Sydney CBD.

Legal advice is that the sub branch could/should win the Supreme Court case, however, short of putting their homes in jeopardy, they will not be able to fight on.

They will need $100,000 per day to defend their rights.

I feel disgusted and very angry that these men who fought for freedom and democracy are being treated so unjustly.

The sub branch served their country, their community, and even RSL NSW, for 97 years and now NSWRSL demand the land be given over.

I am horrified that integrity in council appears to have been sold to the highest bidder. I am extremely saddened that the entire water supply will be contaminated because a few with either the money or the power can place greed over the safety of people.

Forever in the minds of those who actually do care, the Memorial Club at Mangrove will be known as the “tip and betrayal club”.

The tip companies seem to be totally devoid of integrity.

As for Gosford Council, are they spineless or corrupt backstabbers? What worries me the most is that our justice system appears to be structured in such a way that the wealthy can boast: ‘I will win because I have the funds to drag out the case until you have nothing left, not even a home’, (as was threatened by the owner of the company raking in tipping fees).

Where is the justice or democracy in that? I would like to think that there are about 50,000 people willing to give between $2 and $5, the price of a cup of coffee, to give a fair go and fighting chance to our diggers.

What is proposed is, I believe, contrary to the constitution of the RSL.

However, the NSW RSL appear to be counting on the sub branch members not being able to defend their case in the supreme court.

What’s more, if they do, they can be seen as bringing the RSL into disrepute and, as a result, become automatically deregistered as members and the subbranch dissolved as a result.

Who will help them?

Letter, 28 July, 2014.
Clara Jones, Kulnura