Edward Mandla
Reg Bartley Oval

Published On: 23/06/2014

On the 18th of March 2013, Councillors unanimously resolved three key outcomes for Item 7 for the Environment Committee.

The first was a DA for the Reg Bartley Oval Lighting and Fencing Upgrade.

The second was to upgrade lights to meet Australian standards.

The third was to replace the existing timber fence with a new timber fence.

What is actually going on, beggars belief.

Staff decide a DA isn’t required dispute Councillors voting unanimously for it.

Who’s elected here staff or Councillors?

This is breakdown in governance.

Under no circumstance is it acceptable for staff to go against a Council resolution.

I don’t care what technical loophole is found.

The fact that Councillors are defied is made worse that the result is to deprive citizens of having a say.

This item starts and stops on this point – the vote can only be “No”.

But it get’s worse. The benign upgrade of lights to meet Australian standards hid an out of scale and out of character change of lighting strategy.

The current lights are standing at 12 Meters. It’s just a number and it doesn’t mean much. Go out to Reg Bartley Oval and you realise 12 Meters towers into the sky. You then imagine the increase in height to 21 Meters and you are staggered. Immediately, you can see that the residents won’t need lights in their own home for dinner.

On inspecting the fence, I noticed that metal pickets have already been introduced (on the gate and for repairs) with incorrectly matching tops in some sort a do-it-yourself style.

So the idea to sneak in metal has clearly been running for a while and Councillors resolving to replace the existing timber fence with a new timber fence have been again ignored.

There’s been a lack of transparency on the metal fence and Councillor concerns seemed to be brushed aside last week.

I’d like to point out that The NSW Government Environment and Heritage website says:

“There has been a fenced cricket oval within the park since 1885. The timber pickets around the oval is a distinctive feature of the park.”

With regard to Recommended Management, the page directs that “Any replacement of the existing fencing to the oval is to be with timber pickets in keeping with the original.”

Had staff simply followed the Councillors resolutions we wouldn’t be in this mess and the community wouldn’t be in uproar.

The only decent thing to do is vote “No” to this tender, halt works and start the DA process as directed.

Edward Mandla
June 2014

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