The Judgment from our case in March 2014 will be handed down next Monday at 4pm in the Land and Environment Court.
This is, if not the culmination of a four year struggle, will at least be a hall mark event, which will not only affect the future of King Edward Park but the security of Crown Land Reserves throughout the State.
For those of you who have not followed events, in February 2012 Friends of King Edward Park Inc. challenged the Newcastle City Council decision to allow the development of a 450 seat function with car parking on the King Edward Headland Reserve. The Reserve, which had been the site of a small bowling club, was dedicated for public recreation and was originally part of King Edward Park, gifted to the people in 1863. It is of enormous historical importance in both European and Aboriginal history and is closely linked to the historical development of Newcastle. The site was being appropriated for the exclusive use of those attending the function centre.
Our challenge had several points of claim but significant among them was the claim that an additional purpose could not be added that was contrary to the dedication of the land.
There have been many challenges along the way. In April 2012 the Newcastle City Council brought a security of costs case against the Friends claiming that the case was not in the public interest.
Our bona fides as a community group acting in the public interest were tested and we won on all counts.
Our credentials were established and the significance of the case to the people of NSW was confirmed when
Biscoe J stated:
- “A purpose cannot be an additional purpose within the meaning of S112A if it is inconsistent with, contradicts or negates the purpose (declared purpose) for which the land is reserved.
- Conference centres, or commercial centres are inconsistent with the declared purpose of the Reserve for public recreation.
- This point, if good is important because it affects every public reserve in NSW because it constrains the use of public reserves in a very significant way.”