Jan Barham’s belated ecology-based offensive against the bypass has its uses – including embarrassing the pretenders that have trashed the Greens’ credibility – but it’s a bit like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. The crucial vote to go ahead with the bypass occurred in December 2017 and by that time over $1m had already been spent on legals, development application (DA) preparation and staff time etc Jan was M.I.A.
The only councillor who’s taken an active step to change the situation was Councillor Spooner, who a couple of years ago moved to get a costing on using the rail corridor; he was unsuccessful. Basil wouldn’t let go of his vote-winning fantasy that trains would return. If he hadn’t opposed the use of the rail corridor we might now have had a bypass we could live with.
Jan missed two important points in relation to ecology. Firstly, if the ‘biobanking’ process allows the use of already-protected wetlands as an offset against destroying other wetlands, then biobanking is clearly fraudulent. However, it may be Council that is using a credible process fraudulently; I don’t know enough to decide.
The second is that once-respected ecologist Dailan Pugh is on record saying that compensatory wetlands should be contiguous, not separate parcels as currently proposed for the bypass.
Jan says Council hasn’t released proof that the bypass environmental consent conditions have been met. In public access a few months ago I asked Ralph James if he was prepared to release documents proving that the council’s requirements have been met. His ‘reply’ waffled on about documents Council had filed in the court case. My question related to what documents Council possessed in relation to events after the court case had ended, that is, regarding the consent conditions imposed by said court.
My take on this reluctance is that no way do the council staff intend to properly fulfil said consent conditions – it’s too expensive and RMS funding is limited. Releasing proof of the shortfall would only invite a local challenge.