Monday, August 22, 2011

Council to decide fate of religious zone 

A SEVEN-YEAR battle to erect a symbolic spiritual boundary in St Ives could literally come down to the wire tonight - as well as some of the poles needed to connect it.

Ku-ring-gai Council staff have recommended it reject a key section of the Jewish eruv, which could spell the end of the controversial proposal.

An eruv is an enclosed area that allows Orthodox Jews to push and carry objects such as prams out of doors on the Sabbath.

Although most of the 20-kilometre perimeter is already in place in the form of electric cables, 36 poles and adjoining wires are needed to establish one in the upper north shore suburb.

A council report recommends that 27 structures on private land be approved on planning grounds when councillors meet tonight. But a second report considering nine poles needed on road reserves, recommends they be rejected due to community opposition.

''[Given the majority opposition] it is considered that there is no significant benefit to council and the community arising from this proposal,'' the council's director of operations, Greg Piconi, wrote.

Mr Piconi's report acknowledged that without council consent to build this section, the eruv would not link and, therefore, could not function.

A petition from 1229 residents opposing the eruv, on grounds including its potential to turn the area into ''a religious enclave'', will be presented to the council. A spokesman for the Northern Eruv Inc, David Guth, said options would be explored if councillors voted it down.

A council spokeswoman said although an appeal was before the Land and Environment Court, there was no avenue for appeal if the section under the Roads Act was not approved.


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