Bureaucratic waffle and pettifogging on garden

Booker Bay community garden lovers.Booker Bay community garden lovers.

[Forum]We have a Council that can’t deal with any of the crucial issues facing the city but can find time to harass and threaten community-group members trying to make some small environmental improvement in their neighbourhood (Council to close successful community garden, Peninsula News edition 459).

The Council claims that the garden “would cause a danger and impede pedestrians”, but this is plainly bureaucratic waffle. If pedestrians were using the area, the garden could never have been established in the first place, and the supposed danger seems to hinge on the Council’s failure to provide adequate lighting, not on the action of the gardening group. This is all of a piece with Council’s one-time attempt to prevent verge parking in unkerbed streets, on the grounds that it impeded pedestrian access, where, in fact, verges were to uneven for anybody to walk on, and pedestrians had to walk on the street pavement, making verge parking the logical solution to the problem. This pettifogging interpretation of rules not designed to deal with the real-world situation on the Peninsula is apparently based on a complaint from one person, but we are not told the grounds for this complaint.

Did the Council ever think to ask how many people favour the garden, as opposed to the one person who doesn’t like it? Much was made in the election of the intention to be transparent in such matters, but Councillors seem to revert to type as soon as they take office. Let the Council give notice of its intention in this instance and see how much objection/support is engendered. Council also takes advantage of the fact that, once an order has been issued, the only recourse is to the Court, which few private individuals can afford. We badly need a legislative change that would bring such trivial affairs under the jurisdiction of NCAT, thus somewhat levelling the playing field in settling disputes of this kind.

Email, 7 Dec 2018 Bruce Hyland, Woy Woy

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