SUE JACKSON Therapist | Writer | Photographer | Activist

An avid blogger for the last fifteen years, I believe in the power of the word to change the world. I have participated in, and reported on, a range of protests during this period, including the successful East-West Link campaign and, more recently, our wonderful, home-grown Extinction Rebellion (XR). If you believe, like I do, that it is time for ordinary people to rise up in defence of the planet, I encourage you to explore this blog, share it with your networks, and – of course – take action.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

'Could you please ask your surveyors to exit Royal Park?'

Cathy was handed this notice yesterday by the East-West Connect contractors she met in Royal Park. Just in case you can't read it, it says: 'If you have any questions about the East West Link project please call 03 9828 5135'. So, meeting at 6.30 this morning at the park and spotting a group of surveyors already at work, Jill did exactly as requested. Her question was a simple one: 'Could you please ask your surveyors to exit Royal Park?' The somewhat bemused Lendlease employee on the other end of the line said that although she personally did not have the authority, she would certainly pass on the request. Surprisingly, when I left Royal Park for work at 8am, we were still awaiting our reply.

But our wait hadn't been entirely in vain. We decided to take things into our own hands and ask the workers to desist. As you can see, with hardly a murmur, the employees of JAC Land and Engineering Surveyors packed their equipment back into their cars and stopped work.
We talked to them about the Government's lack of mandate for the East-West Link and how unjust it is for work in Royal Park to be commencing in advance of the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing scheduled for 15 December. And some of them at least seemed receptive.

The contractors from JAC and another group, whom we couldn't identify except by their brand new Hilux cars, eventually drove out for coffee or simply waited in their vehicles in the car park. Although they had ceased work, their continued presence made us wonder if they had either called for reinforcements or were simply aiming to out wait us so that they could resume work.
Whatever their intentions, those of us who could, were keen to stay on. Thinking ahead, Pauline had even packed her knitting:

And Fred wasn't going anywhere:

We talked about the possibilities of drawing up a roster for regular contractor-spotting patrols and keeping up a vigil to prevent work resuming. It is terrible that the perfidy of the government and the consortium make these actions necessary, but heartening to think that a mere 10 protestors (including Fred) were able to delay work for a couple of hours at least this morning. And spending time at the beginning of a new day in this beautiful park, right in the middle of the city, smelling the damp grass, breathing in the air and listening to the birds, made me realise all over again why resistance to its destruction is a no-brainer.

The 'lungs of the city' this morning


Blogger Luke C Jackson said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Luke C Jackson said...

Well done to all of you for keeping the faith. Hopefully we'll get a positive result at the State election and finally see the end of this E-W folly once and for all.

6:27 PM  
Blogger MR.GRIM said...

Only a few more sleeps! :D

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Sue Jackson failed to comment on was the battle being fought on the legal front.Yesterday the Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc and the Royal Park Protection Group Inc.sought legal advice and our lawyer wrote to Linking Melbourne Authority and Lend Lease, the company leading the East West Connect consortium. It was pointed out that the Minister for Planning’s decision to approve the first stage of the East West Link project is the subject of judicial review proceedings in the Supreme Court and that we understand that the matter is listed for hearing commencing mid-December 2014. Given that proceedings are imminent, we pointed out that we consider it premature for the contractor to be marking any tree for removal at this time. We asked that Linking Melbourne Authority and Lend Lease undertake that all works in Royal Park will cease pending the outcome of the legal challenge. We have yet to have a reply. The deadline was COB today. Julianne Bell PPL VIC and RPPG. Mobile 0408022408

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be unduly cynical, but it does seem very provocative to send in surveyors at the moment. One asks "who profits?" and if an unruly confrontation occurred, the present government may gain something; but I can't see far enough to guess the motives of Lend Lease. Just testing the waters?

2:58 PM  

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