Monday, 28 May 2018

Office of Environment and Heritage v Clarence Valley Council (2018)

Clarence Valley Local Government Area covers approximately 10,441 square kilometres with nine heritage conservation precincts and official heritage listings as long as your arm.

It processes up to $100.5 million worth of development applications in a financial year.

With so much environmentally sensitive land, so many nature reserves, large swathes of native title, state forests and national parks, ancient cultural sites, unlisted historical burials, heritage buildings/bridges/cemetaries, quarries and a good many planning decisions to make, there is also a possibility that something will go awry.

This entry in the NSW Online Registry - Court Lists indicates that all is not well:

Land and Environment Court, Sydney
Justice T Moore
Office of Environment and Heritage v Clarence Valley Council
Case Number: 2018/00119684
Jurisdiction: Criminal
Class 5 Directions Hearing on 25 May 2018.

According the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website; Proceedings in Class 5 involve summary criminal enforcement proceedings, usually by government authorities prosecuting offences against planning or environmental laws and Class 5 prosecutions are heard by a judge without a jury.

This matter probably began its journey through the court in mid-April 2018 (or perhaps earlier) but it is unlikely council will tell the Clarence Valley electorate what event led to this court case anytime soon, as even a minimum degree of transparency concerning litigation is often missing in action.

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