Fast Buck$, Coorabell
Recently I have become aware of a document called a ‘Construction Environment Management Plan’ (CEMP). This plan is meant to set out the bypass contractors’ proposals for dealing with various potential threats that might arise during the construction process such as flooding, sedimentation, acid sulphate soils, leaching, traffic etc.
One of the conditions imposed by the Land and Environment Court clearly states that this document must be publicly accessible and a copy kept at all times at the site office. This must be done ‘prior to the commencement of construction’ and it must be ‘approved by Council’.
So last week I went to the contractor’s site office in Somerset Street, Byron Bay seeking access. Yes, they did have a copy dated March 2019, which they then waved before my eyes. Unfortunately to actually look inside it I would have to go to Council’s site office. While searching for it I ran into Council’s bypass liaison officer Joshua Winter. Without argument he offered to run me a copy that I could collect at Council’s front desk the next morning.
‘Could it really be that easy?’ Thinks I.
Of course not. I get to the front desk at Council next morning and instead of a CEMP there’s an email from Mr Winter instructing staff to inform me that there’s a problem because Council is currently in ‘discussion’ with the (federal) Environment and Energy Department over ‘representations’ made to it by ‘members of the public’.
These discussions no doubt concern the endangered wetland snail as raised by Jan Barham. But if those discussions potentially negate some unspecified aspect of the CEMP, doesn’t that mean that construction must stop until it’s sorted out?
I then asked for a hard copy of the email sent by Mr Winter. After feverish backroom activity I was told to fill in an FOI form! Later I was asked to fill in a similar form for the CEMP by Ralph James, which I refused to do; why would I consign my hopes to the arcane bowels of FOI