Mullumbimby Action Group -> latestnews -> woolworths_fallout

Does Family Planning in NSW equal Corporations in bed with Government?

Does Family Planning  in NSW equal Corporations in bed with Government?

A big happy family? corporations and government?

When do the dealings between a Development Applicant and the Assessing Authority go from being a process of negotiation to collusion?

Last week our Councillors 6-1 refused Woolworths ‘sewer on a bog’. How the NSW Department of Planning approved that ludicrous onsite sewage management proposal really makes one wonder.

Together with that refusal, our Councillors resolved to also put to bed concerns that some of the Council’s own reports included material that was ‘ a get out of jail free’ card should Woolworths challenge that refusal in the Land and Environment Court. Good on you Councillors.

At that Council meeting our Director of Planning, Ray Darney,  tabled a letter from Woolworths which he said was asking Councillors not to refuse Woolworths application so that they would have more time to discuss possible design changes.  Our Director then  told Councillors that Woolworths new wastewater consultant, Daniel Martens, would be re designing the system. Was this a last minute bid by our Planner on behalf of Woolworths?  Is this appropriate? To that meeting the Woolworths representative personally requested that Woolworths be able to continue negotiations with Council staff .

However the plot thickens! The letter from Woolworths written by Mr Graeme Jones, senior development manager for Woolworths certainly requests council not to refuse the S68 application and continues

"In this regard, we note that our consultant has, as recently as Friday 26 June 2009, discussed with the Council’s consultant Tim Fitzroy, possible design modifications to the proposed system including reducing the daily flow rates from the toilet system by recycling water." No mention of a new consultant!!

This alone  would weaken Woolworths chances of a successful challenge in the Land and Environment Court. Are they admitting  their sewerage system is unsatisfactory, and it needs redesigning?

 So where does Mr Darney get Mr Daniel Martens, and a redesigning of the system  from?

Review of video footage of the meeting shows that the first mention of Mr Daniel Martens is by Ray Darney.

And again on NBN television last Friday night Mr Darney is there  telling Woolworths how they could get approval by acquiring more land !!

When an applicant like Woolworths  engages Council staff during an assessment period, how much time can staff give them and still be fair to ratepayers?   Do staff have clear guidelines as to when to close the door on an applicants desire to ‘negotiate’?   When does a ‘fair thing’ become an unfair amount of ratepayers money spent on ‘assisting’ the applicant to get what they want?  When does it become collusion?


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