Last Thursday 10 July 2008, after some agitating here by SAM's editor, the Land & Environment Court staff found the famous missing Green Folder belonging to Margaret Pontifix, secretary of the Mangrove Mountain District Community Group Inc, and science teacher some 40 years.
The folder was given to Commissioner Tim Moore in the Sept 2005 proceedings No.10429 in the course of the respected owner giving evidence. Then at the end of the case the Green Folder was reportedly given to council's solicitor by mistake by registry staff. Then it has turned up again in the archive of the LEC but mis-filed separate to the other case materials possibly because it had no official exhibit tag on it. Cie la vie?
A cynic might think it ought to have been returned by someone to the owner Pontifix back in 2005 as per the addresses on documents. (Notice a reference to the Green Folder documents dated 10-04-06 below at a court arranged site inspection in later litigation.) As we will see the Green Folder is important in litigation in 2008 against Coca Cola Amatil just as it could have helped inform the so called Trigger Case of 2006 about what level to automatically cut off pumping groundwater.
(This issue of extraction of water for bottling to the exclusion of other uses is nothing if not a hot topic in Gosford-Wyong farming community.)
In the 2005 case Moore C who did order a 2 year trial period on Coca Cola Amatil reportedly said of the evidence of Pontifix (when requesting use of her folder), words to the effect of:
'Your community evidence makes me concerned/hesitant to approve this without a trial. I'll have to think about this some more.'
Commissioner Tim Moore, from the bench in the hearing of David Kettle Consulting [agent for Coca Cola Amatil] v Gosford City Council and Azzopardi et al 10429 of 2005
So what is in that Green Folder that is so pursuasive or probitive to Moore C such that it should now be submitted to the Court Appointed Expert, Anthony Lane, in the current proceedings in 2008?
Well there is this diagram (2nd one below) to the Pontifix court submission signed by Council's own Water Authority Headworks Co-ordinator - a whistleblower in fact. It shows the controversial Peats Ridge 'Springs' [actually now a bare paddock with bores and not a spring at all] as centrally locted on the Gosford-Wyong water supply catchment on the Plateau.
Then there is the study by Pontifix, a science teacher for 40 years, of the disappearance of groundwater dependent ecological markers, that is disappearing springs in the district. To quote the good teacher:
"Over 30 years ago I marked fern beds on maps to indicate my observations of serious reductions in crop areas. I can also give similar information re waratahs christmas bells and sprenglia, from generations of observation. This information has been ignored, except by aborginal groups. (Maps examples see Attachment E).":
Margaret Pontifix, Secretary Mangrove Mountain District Community Group Inc in her submission to Commissioner Tim Moore at the hearing in Sept 2005 of David Kettle Consulting [agent for Coca Cola Amatil] v Gosford City Council and Azzopardi et al 10429 of 2005
Here are those maps mentioned above, which the intervenor/objector in the current Neville Diamond, whom we act for as pro bono agent, says must go to Anthony Lane the court appointed expert. Lane is due to report by next Monday 21st July afer 2 postponements of his report already: The first one is the lost flora over 20 years presumably from excessive water extraction:
Here below is the Gosford Wyong Water Authority map leaked to Pontifix in 2005 for the court hearing:
The speaking notes of veteran school teacher Pontifix are also instructive:
Teacher Pontifix has been getting advice about the groundwater aquifer at Peats Ridge from some serious experts as per this note from now hydro geologist Dr Brian Marshall of UTS now retried, also in the controversial Green Folder, referring to a younger academic Dr Noel Merrick. Here is Dr Marshall here:
To be fair Merrick et al went on to produce a much bigger 170 page study in November 2006 - which has now been added into the evidence to CAE Lane (as a direct result of the SAM editor/Mr Diamond's agitating). Dr Marshall told the SAM editor a few weeks ago he regards Merrick et al's work as the best that is available to date, which is curious given it was omitted from evidence by Coca Cola Amatil and Gosford City Council.
That's a worry. Also a worry that GCC and CCA so far oppose inclusion of Dr Brian Marshall's published article (not in the Green Folder) on the 2 year trial ordered by Commissioner Moore - which is the subject of dispute before the LEC right now in 2008 over whether the trail should continue. Dr Marshall's article is provocatively titled, and he makes some strong scientific critique too:
Mangrove Mountain Groundwater Decision, Suck it and see is alive and well! (November, 2005) By Brian Marshall
We extract the full article as it appears to be offline these days:
This is all very revealing because according to local authority figure Margaret Pontifix's contemporaneous handwritten notes [again not in the Green Folder] of comments by Court Appointed Expert Anthony Lane on site inspection of the same water bottling operation in a separate 2006 litigation, also CAE in this 2008 case, he said 10 April 2006:
The Green Folder does indeed include the aerial photographs over 25 years with samples here below, and compare the same spring/creek line in the NSW Govt topographical map above:
The Green Folder has other scientific information too like the monthly rainfall figures for "Gosford (Narara Research Station) AWS" 1916-2005, and "Wyong Bowling Club" 1885 to 2005, which apparently have plummeted over the last 20 years putting pressure on all water users on the Central Coast. These rainfall tables for late 19th to 21C are posted here.
Also of great local interest is this example in the Green Folder documents of apparent favouritism by the State Govt to Coca Cola Amatil which was happily granted an increase from 26ML/YR to 66 ML/Yr as big business versus little players in the local area who are refused increased water allocations. One rule for CCA, another for the little folks who don't make big political donations?
Lastly we include yet another article written by Dr Marshall on the evidence before the court in the 2005 case which instituted the 2 year trial, which is sought to be deleted now by CCA, and which the locals say was never properly implemented. Dr Marshall wrote his scientific analysis dated 5th September 2005 (to be posted in due course):