Court dismisses Unagi park claims

National, Normal


AN attempt by two companies, Virgo No.65 Ltd and Fairhaven No.72 Ltd, to challenge a judgment obtained by the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) regarding some portion of the Unagi Oval was dismissed by the Waigani National Court last Friday.
A peace of land currently used as a public park at the Gordon area was originally contained in section 122, allotment 13.
The place was a zoned open space for public purpose by the PNG town planning board in a meeting held in 1918, and later gazetted in 1985.
Subsequently, the land was subdivided into two allotments – allotment 14 and allotment 15.
Separate registered State leases for commercial purposes were issued to the two companies, appellants in the proceedings, between 2002 and 2003.
Allotment 14 was given to Virgo No.65 and allotment 15 to Fairhaven No.72.
The court was told that on Jan 26, 2006, Virgo No.65 applied to the NCDC physical planning board seeking approval for allotment 14 to be developed commercially, however, it was rejected.
On April 24, 2006, Virgo No.65 lodged an appeal under section 94 of the physical planning Act to the PNG physical planning appeals tribunal.
Whilst the appeal was pending, Virgo No.65 made a similar application to the board.
This time Fairhaven No.72 made a similar application to claim allotment 15.
On April 30, 2007, the board considered the application and decided to rezone the allotments from open spaces to commercial.
But NCDC lodged an appeal against the decision with the PNG physical planning appeals tribunal.
On Sept 26, 2007, the tribunal upheld the appeal and rejected the April 30, 2007, decision by the board.
A recommendation to that effect was made to the Minister for Lands under section 97(2) of the Physical Planning Act.
In separate decisions, the minister rejected the tribunal’s recommendations in both matters.
Virgo No.65 sought leave from the National Court to review the April 30 decision of the board as well as the minister’s decision of last May 6.
Last Friday, Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, while going through the review, found that NCDC had sufficient interest in the subject matter and did not see any apparent or patent error on the finding.
He said the appellants’ arguments were clearly without merit and had their application dismissed.