National Court grants NCDC leave to seek judicial review on Unagi Park

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THE National Court last week granted the National Capital District Commission (NCDC) leave to apply for a judicial review over the Unagi Park.
The way is clear for the NCDC to seek to restore to the city and the public certain portions of this reserve land which has been rezoned as commercial lease, sub-divided and individual leases having been granted to two businesses.
As can be adduced from the PAC inquiry findings presented on this page, this piece of land – parts of which have already been sub-divided and given away and which do not form this particular contest in  court – has never had its reserve listing revoked.
Neither has the appointment of the members of the NCDC board as trustees of this reserve or open space land ever been revoked.
The NCD seeks a judicial review of the decision of the Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, Sir Puka Temu, to rezone section 122, lot 14 and 15 from open space to commercial.
The minister’s decision, which was gazetted last May 6, is itself strange since he had earlier stood by a PNG Physical Planning Appeals Tribunal decision recommending against rezoning.
City Hall is seeking to quash the minister’s decision in court and remove it from the gazettal of May 6.
The NCDC physical planning board last Jan 26 deliberated an application before it by Virgo No.65 for the commercial development of allotment 14, section 122.
That board refused the application on the basis that it was contrary to the NCD Zoning Plan; that the existing park area ought to be retained for its zoned purpose and developed as a public amenity; that Port Moresby needed a good quality and quantity  of public open spaces; and that public spaces are community assets that should be maintained in the interest of future generations.
Subsequent to this another application was made by Virgo to the NCD which was heard on April 30 for “non conforming use” of the land to build a supermarket.
The meeting, under a different chairman agreed to rezone lot 14 from open space to commercial and granted Virgo its application.
As mentioned although Sir Puka earlier agreed with the NCDC physical planning board, he changed his mind last May.
The rest remains the subject of the court case of foot.