Dave Pyett, Chair of Friends of Malabar Headland (FoMH), has issued a media release about the destruction of a whole avenue of mature trees along Alison Rd, Centennial Park, the Public Land grab that allowed the destruction of the trees, and the wider implications of this activity for special places like Malabar Headland.

My name is David Pyett, I am the Chair of Friends of Malabar Headland.

Last Friday and Saturday 48 mature, large, heritage and other trees growing along Alison Rd Randwick were destroyed by the Baird Government, for development of the Light Rail and a station for the Race Course on what was formerly Public Land on the Southern edge of Centennial Park.

The shady bike path along the Alison Road boundary of Centennial Park, taken from corner of Alison and Darley Roads, Friday 8th January 2016. © Claire Bettington

The shady bike path along the Alison Road boundary of Centennial Park, taken from corner of Alison and Darley Roads, Friday 8th January 2016. © Claire Bettington

The trees were destroyed in a lightning fast operation which went on day and night over a 48 hr period.

Same viewpoint, Monday 11 January 2016. Trees pulped and chips spread on ground,  Of 50 trees marked for destruction, only the two Hills Weeping Figs on the right remain (for now) because they were further set back from the road.  © Claire Bettington

Same viewpoint, Monday 11 January 2016. Trees pulped and chips spread on ground. Of 50 trees marked for destruction, only the two Hills Weeping Figs on the right remain (for now) because they were set back further from the road. © Claire Bettington

This morning (Monday 11 January) I attended a “funeral for the trees” at the intersection of Alison Road and Darley Road, with Randwick resident, FoMH member and protester Claire Bettington, and Randwick City Councillor Murray Matson.

Whilst it is too late to save the trees and the land, it is not too late to warn people that the Baird Government has:

(1) Taken Public Open Space land for this section of the Light Rail and the Race Course Station, with no plausible logic, when a better alternative was obvious and already agreed to;

(2) Destroyed dozens of our living heritage trees, again with no plausible logic, when a better alternative was obvious and already agreed to;

(3) Changed the agreed to plans by a substantial amendment, exhibited just before Christmas 2014, a time of the year when hardly anyone was aware or available to comment.

I regard this as a manipulation of the Planning Laws and processes so that environmental and social concerns can be ignored, Public Land can be taken at will for any purpose the government deems fit and awarded to those in the private sector who may or may not be financial donors to the Liberal Party.

The message for us is clear: if the Baird Government can do this quite blatantly to the residents of Sydney and Randwick, then they can do it to Malabar Headland!

The implications for the impending handover to the State Government of the Eastern Section of bush on Malabar Headland are enormous, and if we are not careful, there will be no guarantee of the same protection for the Eastern Section as there is for the Western Section, now a National Park.

We remain ever vigilant for the future of Malabar Headland.

Kind regards

Dave Pyett
Chair, Friends of Malabar Headland
Mob: 0419 498 378

Please feel free to circulate, quote from and publish this media release in whole or part

Dear All

A film maker came along to the tree battleground on Alison Road and documented the efforts of protestors to stop the carnage – watch “Chainsaw Mike” on YouTube

Less than 48 hrs later, 48 trees had been reduced to woodchips, for no reason at all. Only two trees survived. The Light Rail should have been built on the Randwick racecourse side of Alison Road, as originally agreed.

Please share widely, and let Premier “Chainsaw Mike” Baird and Minister for Transport Andrew Constance know how you feel about the destruction.

These were our trees on our Public Land.

With thanks,

Claire Bettington

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