Rumours scotched that CAWB tent is set to disappear

Rumours that the Community Action for Windsor Bridge (CAWB) occupation of Thompson Square will disappear early this year have been scotched by the group’s president.

The rumours, circulated on social media, said the group’s application to continue its protest would be refused when it is due for renewal in February.

Flashback: Opposition leader Bill Shorten signs CAWB's petition at Thompsons Square last year. CAWB plans to renew its application for the tent in January. Picture: Geoff Jones.

Flashback: Opposition leader Bill Shorten signs CAWB's petition at Thompsons Square last year. CAWB plans to renew its application for the tent in January. Picture: Geoff Jones.

However, CAWB president Harry Terry said it had no plans to stop the protest and blamed a small group of opponents for circulating the rumours.

“On occasions, and especially when an election is in the offing, rumours abound about the impending closure of the occupation, predominantly on Facebook pages,” he said. “On each occasion these rumours appear to have emanated from the same small group which does not let knowledge and truth get in the way of its intentions.

“Every six months CAWB submits a Schedule 1 form to the Hawkesbury Local Area Police Command. It is understood the decision to approve the occupation is made by the police regional area command.

“The current  Schedule 1 expires on February 28, 2019. A new Schedule 1 will be submitted in January 2019. There is no reason to believe the existing arrangements will not be renewed. It is clear it is the police who regulate the occupation and thus confirm its legality. It is also obvious the Hawkesbury City Council is not the approving agency, as is so often claimed.”

A meeting with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) had revealed the CAWB tent would have to be moved temporarily while a nearby tree was felled, Mr Terry said.

“At a recent meeting with RMS and contract staff from the Windsor Bridge replacement project, CAWB was advised the tent would have to be moved for safety reasons when the large Silky Oak which overhangs the tent was to be chainsawed and mulched,” he stated. “There was no indication for this to occur in the near future.”

RMS salvaged convict-era bricks from box drains in Thompson Square in September for storage in a “heritage storage facility”, and earthworks for the replacement bridge began soon afterwards. CAWB has maintained its fight for “competent asset management and competent planning for a long term effective traffic solution across the Hawkesbury in the vicinity of Windsor” throughout, and planned to continue bringing the issue to the attention of the public in the future, Mr Terry said. 

“One of CAWB’s many activities is the occupation of a small corner of Thompson Square, to bring to the attention of the community the manifest failure of the planned work to meet its project objectives.”