Fig.1 ~ View across the Crown land in Ross that we have applied to purchase, from 47 Bridge Street, to 45 Bridge Street.
Application to Purchase Crown Land in Ross
Fig.2 ~ The location of the Crown land in Ross that we have applied to purchase.
Fig.3 ~ Aerial photo of the Crown land between our properties showing there is no road or access trail, where the fences vanished many decades ago.
Fig.4 ~ Email from the chairman of the Ross Local District Committee refusing any and all communication, as the committee was being commissioned by the Council to undertake community consultation with our application to purchase Crown land.
Fig.5 ~ The poster for the site inspection that we arranged, that no member of the Ross Local Committee attended.
Fig.6 ~ An old plan from 1866 of the road grid in Ross.
Fig.7 ~ A 1947 Aerial photo of Ross.
Fig.8 ~ There are approximately 12 km of unmade road reserve in Ross, with nearly all being 30 metres wide, which makes about 36 hectares, or 89 acres ..... the size of a small farm.
Fig.9 ~ A "No Trespassing" on public land in Ross.
Fig.10 ~ Kim Peart's proposal for a Walk Around Ross along the Crown land road reserves.
Fig.11 ~ A people gate installed by Kim Peart on the Crown land road reserve of Bridge Street, providing public access to public land. Three more gates like this have been built by Kim Peart in Ross.
Fig.12 ~ The old Ross School, which was a gift to the people of Ross by the Tasmanian Government, but was sold for no good reason by the Northern Midlands Council.
Fig.13 ~ Students at the Ross School in the 1930s.
Fig.14 ~ The last students at the Ross School in 1999.
Fig.15 ~ The Money from the sale of the old Ross School was used to buy more land in Ross, for a new town park, which has absolutely nothing to do with the history or heritage of Ross.
Fig.16 ~ There was enough public land with the old Ross School oval for a town park, next to the Town Hall, and next the the main public toilets in Ross. A better location for a public park in Ross would have been on council owned land near the Ross Bridge, to compliment the heritage of the Ross Bridge.
Fig.17 ~ A heritage park near the Ross Bridge would have been where the main heritage attractions are located in Ross.
Fig.18 ~ The 2003 Ross Bridge Conservation Plan calls for a public car park in Ross, but Ross has no plan to guide heritage preservation and development.
Fig.19 ~ The Ross Bridge, unique in the world, with 186 convict made carvings.
Fig.20 ~ The convict stables near the Ross Bridge, which would be part of a heritage park on public land.
Fig.21 ~ Public land where a heritage park can be developed in Ross.
Fig.22 ~ View from the public land that could be developed into a heritage park, looking out across the Macquarie River, where walking trails can be developed along the river-side.
Fig.23 ~ Torres Vedras Road in Ross, which is now part of Church Street, but could be revived as a name, as the southern section of Church Street is not connected.
Fig.24 ~ By 1833 the name Torres Vedras Road had shrunk to Torres Road.
Fig.25 ~ By 1866 Torres Vedras Road had vanished from the map of Ross.
Fig.26 ~ The letter from Mr Des Jennings, the General Manager of the Northern Midlands Council, informing that the matter of Torres Vedras Road would be on the next agenda of the Ross Local District Committee. It wasn't, and has never been included subsequently. See Fig.39 below for an explanation of this letter, as this matter has never appeared on the agenda of the Ross Local District Committee, and I'd like to know why.
Fig.27 ~ Council Agenda.
Fig.28 ~ Council Agenda.
Fig.29 ~ Council Agenda.
Fig.30 ~ Council Agenda.
Fig.31 ~ Council Agenda
Fig.32 ~ Council Agenda.
Fig.33 ~ Council Agenda.
Fig.34 ~ Council Agenda.
Fig.35 ~ Council Agenda.
Presentation to Northern Midlands Council meeting
Jennifer Bolton, Ross
Mayor Knowles and Councillors
Application to purchase road reserve: Trafalgar Street, Ross
In June 2016 we applied to purchase a section of Crown land road reserve that runs between our properties in Ross as seen in the attached maps. We own 45 Bridge Street, 50 High Street and 47 Bridge Street, Ross. Part of the Trafalgar Street unmade road reserve runs between these properties. This is the only part of the road reserve that we have applied to purchase. No other landowners adjoin this section of Trafalgar Street.
Trafalgar Street is not a road anywhere along its length and has never been a road. No made roads connect to the section of Trafalgar Street we have applied to purchase and it is not used as an access to any other properties.
The Crown does not manage this parcel of land and neither does the Council. We have no choice but to manage this land as part of our property. With this in mind we felt it was appropriate to formalise this arrangement by applying to purchase the land.
Crown Land Services determined that if the land was sold it should be adhered to our land at 47 Bridge Street. They then referred the matter to the Northern Midlands Council for comment and the Council has referred it to the Ross Local District Committee, twice.
The Ross Local District Committee has not spoken with us about our purchase application. Instead, the committee has produced a document to detail their opposition to the sale of this section of unmade road reserve. Many of the points they raise are irrelevant or spurious.
They raise the question of access to land held by other landowners in the vicinity. Those landowners do not use the Trafalgar Street unmade road reserve now as they have much easier access available by other routes. Why would they want to drive straight up a hill across a paddock strewn with rocks when they can use existing tracks across flat terrain?
They have also suggested we may apply to purchase part of Fitzroy Street in the future which is simply not true. This is blatant scaremongering designed to shore up support for the committee’s opinion.
Council officers have prepared four reports for Council on this matter over the past three years. Each time they have determined that this section of road reserve is not required for a future road or access to other properties and no other property owner would be affected should it be sold.
The Ross Local District Committee also raised the heritage of the original street plan as an issue. The historic street plan will still exist in the original maps of Ross even if this section of Trafalgar Street is sold. There are many examples of how the Ross town plan has been altered over the years such as by the construction of New Street and the railway line, the loss of Park Street south of Wellington Street and the building of the weir that has changed the course of the Macquarie River causing the relocation of Esplanade. If heritage is a genuine concern perhaps Council should commission a report from a heritage consultant.
I am happy to answer questions from the Council.
Address to the Northern Midlands Council meeting
Monday 19 August 2019
Mayor Knowles and Councillors,
I address our application to purchase an area of Crown land in Ross.
The original Council decision is under a form of appeal, at the direction of the Minister for Crown Land Services.
This matter was recently sent to the Ross Local District Committee, again, as an extended part of community consultation.
The Minister will judge if this consultation has been run appropriately, and if a fair decision is made.
Two years ago I proposed a solution for the Crown land problem in Ross.
Decide which roads should be kept open for the public land, and which can be leased or sold.
Did the Council consider my proposal?
There are 12 kilometres of 30 metre wide unmade Crown land road reserves in Ross, which adds up to 36 hectares, or 89 acres.
That is a small farm.
The Ross Local District Committee has now woken up to the detail that there is quite a lot of public land around Ross.
Who will manage this land?
I have proposed to Crown Land Services that we need a landcare plan for this land, which would include the Walk Around Ross.
Would the Council support a landcare plan for Ross?
I have recently written to the Council proposing that a committee be formed to look at a heritage plan for Ross, to include consideration of the next National Heritage List application, which I suggest needs to cover all the convict heritage of Ross, including the Ross Bridge.
There are convict sites in Ross that are not yet on the Tasmanian heritage register, and this must happen, if they are to be included in a National Heritage application.
We now know that a National Heritage List application is a huge and serious challenge, with years of preparation ahead.
This committee could also look at a plan for the fate and future of the Crown land road reserves in Ross, and be run openly for the whole community.
A conference in Ross in 2021, as part of the town’s bicentenary, could serve as a progress report on Ross heritage.
Has the Council considered my proposal on this?
We need a plan for the remaining public land in Ross.
Selling the old Ross School, public land, was a huge mistake.
It was a gift to the people of Ross by the Tasmanian Government.
It was a natural Town Park, and with toilets by the Town Hall.
We need a heritage plan for Ross.
Report on the Community Consultation Process
Re: Application to Purchase Crown Land in Ross
Att: Mr Des Jennings
Cc: Mayor Mary Knowles, Deputy Mayor & Councillors
Dear Mr Jennings,
Has the community consultation over our application to purchase Crown land in Ross been run in accordance with Council and Tasmanian government standards?
If not, then the consultation will be faulty, and if the Minister for Crown Land Services agrees that it is faulty, the matter would remain open and return to the Council.
Points of concern …..
The Ross Local District Committee (RLDC) would not communicate with us, and preferred to run with wild assumptions than know the truth.
We held a site inspection on 29 June, with a poster in the shop, but not one member of the RLDC came to that.
The RLDC held their own site inspection, from Bridge Street, invited a selected number of Ross residents, but specifically excluded us.
We only knew about this secret inspection meeting, because one of the Ross residents present told us about it afterwards, who was very concerned about all the bizarre things being said, including one quite slanderous comment.
When we attended the RLDC July meeting, we were not permitted to speak, and were not asked any questions, so the committee chose to rumble along with assumptions and unfounded imaginings.
The RLDC looks like a mob running an agenda, seeking to shape views to fit that agenda.
Is that the standard of community consultation that the Council seeks and accepts?
We see a long report in the Agenda from the RLDC, prepared without talking to us, and including derogatory language and assumption about our views.
We appear to have no right of reply to this document.
We see a claim that all the people present at the last RLDC meeting opposed the sale, but one of those people spoke to us later, who does not object to the sale.
We read in the Council Agenda of Core Strategies, where ~ "Councillors represent honestly with integrity."
Can this be the case if Councillors accept a position from the RLDC, which does not reflect honestly the reality in Ross?
Suggesting that the Trafalgar Street road reserve would be needed for a road to an industrial park, is so far from reality, it is absolute fantasy.
There could be an industrial park in Ross one day, and if on land in the southeast of the town, there are other road reserves already used that would provide access, including Bridge Street and Nivelle Street.
Is Ross the best location for a light industrial park in the central Midlands?
Campbell Town would be a more likely location, if it is needed.
The most sensible consideration in this matter from the RLDC, is that the Crown land road reserves are part of the heritage of Ross.
I see a RLDC motion calling for the preservation of all Crown land in Ross.
If the Council accepts this as a reason for not agreeing to the sale, will a heritage consultant be engaged to advise the Council on this?
An examination of The List Map shows there are roughly 12 kilometres of unmade Crown land road reserve in Ross, each 30 metres wide.
This adds up to 36 hectares (89 acres) of public land in Ross, with the old road reserves which the RLDC would like to see preserved.
Is the Council willing to take this land on and manage it?
Two years ago we proposed that the Council look at the Crown land road reserves in Ross, and decide if they would all need to be kept public, or whether some of this land could be sold to neighbouring properties.
A case in point is Cross Street, which has been fenced off by the neighbouring property (see photo and map below).
Would Cross Street ever be needed for a road?
Or should Cross Street be opened for public access?
We propose that the Council work with the Tasmanian government to identify the Crown land road reserves that will be preserved and kept open.
This could be all of them, if that is the decision, and the road reserves opened, as they once were.
If some of the Crown land is sold, our proposed Walk Around Ross would indicate the road reserves that need to be preserved (see map below).
Defining a long-term plan for this 36 hectares of currently public land, can be combined with developing a heritage plan for Ross, and working toward the next application for National Heritage listing in Ross.
This project could be combined with the 2021 bicentenary event, and a conference in Ross, as the way is opened to improving the heritage of Ross.
Fig.39 ~Concern about how the Ross Local District Committee and the Council operate
Re: What in the hell is going on in the Northern Midlands?
Att: Mr Des Jennings, General Manager
Cc: Mayor Mary Knowles, Deputy Mayor and Councillors
Dear Mr Jennings,
When we found that there had once been a street in Ross called Torres Vedras Road, we wrote to you about this, and you said it would be on the agenda of the next meeting of the Ross Local District Committee (RLDC).
I include your letter below.
Torres Vedras was a town in Portugal, where the British were active during the Napoleonic Wars.
We attended that meeting of February 2018, but the item was not on the agenda.
We had raised it with the chairperson of the RLDC at the time, Mrs Christine Robinson, and she was willing to discuss the matter, and suggested that it be added and discussed.
It was Mr Arthur Thorpe who pointed out that the matter was not on the agenda, and therefore could not be discussed.
Mr Thorpe made pains to point out that the RLDC did not control the meeting agenda.
So very interesting.
We alerted you to the missing agenda item, but, Torres Vedras Road has been missing in action at every RLDC meeting agenda since.
And even more fascinating, the RLDC has never pursued the matter with us, ever.
What in the hell is going on here between the RLDC and the Council?
We put the matter of Torres Vedras Road aside, to return to later, which could be part of a bicentenary event in Ross.
Is Mr Thorpe correct to say that the RLDC has no control over agenda items for their meetings?
We were at the June Council meeting, where Councillor Michael Polley announced that he had received an Email from Mr. Arthur Thorpe, as chairman of the RLDC, calling on the matter of our Crown land purchase being sent to the RLDC for their consideration, and the offering of advice.
How much of this goes on, with Mr Thorpe telling the Council what should be on the RLDC meeting agenda, and what cannot be included?
Having just been through a really horrible two months in Ross, with Mr Thorpe and the Ross mob spinning yarns about our purchase application like there was a tornado going through the town, holding secret meetings that only selected members of the community were invited to, and preparing a list of objections to our purchase application which wafts off into a world of fantasy, and not once consulting us about the accuracy of the content, we are left wondering if we are dealing with a godfather in this town.
Do we get a right of reply to that list, or are we to stand bludgeoned by the Ross mob?
Is this how the Council likes matters to be run in Ross, including community consultation on behalf of the Council?
When we attended the RLDC meeting in July, a couple of the members were willing to discuss the matter, but Mr Thorpe, as Chairman, said it was not on the agenda, and therefore could not be discussed.
Just like Torres Vedras Road, eh?
We dare to suggest that we were silenced at the July RLDC meeting, because Mr Thorpe wanted another month of spinning the tornado against us, so that when we appeared at the August RLDC meeting, nothing we said would be heard.
We would have been effectively silenced.
We were at my brother’s funeral, and maybe that was a damn good divine intervention.
If the RLDC were interested in facts and truth, you would think that we would be the first people to speak to, and ask about our application.
What kind of community consultation is being run in Ross, on behalf of the Northern Midlands Council?
It looks more like a tornado of vengeance, and a sham.
We will be at the Council meeing on Monday 19th of August, and will be available to answer any questions about our experience of the RLDC.
We would love to get an expanation of why and how the matter of Torres Vedras Road has never made it onto a RLDC agenda, ever.
Right now we see a repeating pattern, and it is not looking good for the Council.
Is this the way Australian democracy should work?
View across an old never made Crown land road reserve in Ross, from land we own to land we own.
Media ~ A Bizarre Reversal of Justice ~ application to purchase Crown land in Ross
Tuesday 20 August 2019
Media contact ~ Kim Peart ~ 0400 856 523
39A Bridge Street, Ross
The running of Council meetings may seem like a trip down a rabbit hole into wonderland, where time can be reversed.
Last night we attended a meeting of the Northern Midlands Council, and wondered if we had landed in the realm of the Red Queen.
We had no idea that time was running backwards, and the Councillors were living in a different universe.
We looked around in wonder at this strange land.
The order of the night had business until six, then the dinner break, and back to business at seven, when there would be statements from the public.
We were there to hear the decision on our application to purchase Crown land in Ross, with an old road reserve, where no road had ever run.
The fences along this road reserve had vanished many decades in the past, and it was now an open paddock with our land on either side.
To legalise this state of the land, we had applied to Crown land to purchase three years ago, at a cost of $500.
The Tasmanian Government was prepared to sell this unwanted land.
Four reports from Council officers over three years found no problem with the sale.
It was now over to the Council to decide.
We came to the meeting armed to speak, having spent many hours preparing our presentations for the Councillors, to assist with their decision (included below).
As the dinner bell was just about ringing, the hungry Councillors were asked to deal with our application.
The Mayor offered to wait until after dinner to deal with our case, and after public statements.
The General Manager said ….. “No”.
The hungry Councillors made a decision in the negative on our application, before vanishing to the dinner plates.
We still spoke at seven, with bitter hearts in this bizarre chamber, and wondered if time had really been reversed.
This was the first time we have spoken to a Council meeting about our purchase application.
Were the Councillors able to hear our statements in the future, to assist with their decision in the past?
It may seem odd, strange, and bizarre, but time reversal is the order of governance at the Northern Midlands Council.
We will now present our case to the Tasmanian Government, who own the land, to see how the Minister for Crown Land Services looks upon this bizarre reversal of justice.
Over the previous two months the Council had farmed out community consultation to an unelected special committee of Council in Ross, but they refused to speak with us, holding at least one secret meeting, that some members of the Ross community were invited to, but we were not.
The subsequent report from the Ross Special Committee to the Council was also bizarre, filled with assumptions, fantasies and fear-mongering.
Should we have been given a right of reply to that document, and this reply also included in the Council agenda?
That the Northern Midlands Council should publish a list of assumptions and fantasies in their meeting agenda, is truly bizarre.
Maybe this is all a really bad dream, and we will awaken in a land of justice with a fair go for all.
If we are not dreaming, do we have grounds to appeal?