'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|