crag newsletter - november 1996

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Canal Land Still Not Ours to Use
(crag 0596)

Canal Land is Unsafe...

Recent newspaper reports have highlighted the dangers present in the Prospect Lower Canal Reserve.

Lack of maintenance since Sydney Water drained the canal in June 1995 has contributed to these dangers, as have the broken / cut fences and gates that have been left open.

The canal is approximately 4 metres deep and it is likely that anyone falling in will be severely injured. Grass regrowth along the canal edges is effectively screening it from view, increasing the danger.

Whilst the natural bush regrowth is welcomed, it becomes a hazard near neighbours properties, especially with the fires that have been deliberately lit recently. Sydney Water has ceased all maintenance as ownership has passed to the State Government.

More and more people, including school children, are using the area as a thoroughfare and recreation area despite the dangers. Some children are using the canal as a walkway risking serious injury should one of the concrete wall panels come away. These panels have begun lifting in many places and eucalypt regrowth close to the edge is also pushing some panels away.

Whilst the State Minister for the Environment, Pam Allan, has now written to CRAG assuring us that the issues are being actively pursued, a press release issued by the same minister highlights that there is an impasse between the State Government and Holroyd City Council that is effectively keeping the land in limbo.

The impasse has resulted because Holroyd City Council does not have funds to make the reserve safe and is therefore loathe to assume responsibility for the land (it must be remembered that for Council to accept these risks, all of us as ratepayers would be footing the bill for injury / damage claims and repatriation).

It is CRAG's contention that Sydney Water should repatriate the land from the multi-million windfall payment it has received from the State Government for the land. Then, and only then, can Holroyd City Council be expected to accept responsibility.

Until the reserve is opened for use as a passive recreation area we can't be sure that developers won't be lobbying to gain control of the land.

Tell the State Government that you are unhappy with this situation and that you want Sydney Water to make the reserve safe for your use.

Please Note: Until the Canal Reserve is made safe for passive recreation it should not be used.

Sydney Water did not pay for the canal land. It has been owned by the people of NSW all the time.

Show you care...

Please write to the following State Government Ministers asking when funding will be made available to make the land safe.

Mr Craig Knowles
Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning
Level 33,Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrer Place
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 9228 4499
Fax: 9228 3717

Mr Bob Carr
Premier of New South Wales
GPO Box 5341
Sydney NSW 2001
Phone: 9228 5239
Fax: 9228 3935

Ms Pam Allan
Minister for the Environment
Level 9, St James Centre
111 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 9239 4044
Fax: 9233 3617

Mr Carl Sculley
State Member for Smithfield
PO Box 86
Fairfield NSW 2165
Phone: 9726 8668
Fax: 9728 4824

Write to the Ministers - TODAY! We need the land to be made safe.

If you can assist CRAG with ideas or leg power and enthusiasm (to help deliver leaflets) or if you are interested in more information please contact one of the CRAG Executive Committee member.

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