First sight of the habitat trees from across the lower pond.

First sight of the habitat trees from across the lower pond.

A closer view

A closer view. Both are still very tall trees.

City of Sydney Council has recently created two ‘habitat trees’ in Sydney Park. Both trees are Eucalypts & are located close to the lower pond.   They are surrounded by other tall trees & so would make attractive homes for wildlife.

A significant difference from the ‘habitat tree’ created by Marrickville Council in McNeilly Park is that the branches have not been ring-barked – at least it had not been done when I saw these trees.  It appears that Sydney Council has created more holes in each tree than the one in McNeilly Park.

Showing the damage on one of the trees.

Showing the damage on one of the trees.

Like Marrickville Council, the City of Sydney Council is also using these trees as a demonstration for professionals on to how to create nesting hollows for birds & animals.

I really like this movement to retain trees that would have been removed previously.   The idea is to mimic dead trees found in the bush.

The more I read about dead trees the more I realize how important these old dead trees are to the ecology of the environment.   Standing dead trees in the bush are called snags & stag trees.

Only old trees have hollows & these trees often need to be 100-150 years old before they start creating hollows.  Eucalypts start creating hollows after dropping branches & we know that once branch-dropping starts, the tree is removed for the safety of the human population.

“Australia-wide, 15% of all land birds use hollows. These 114 species include parrots, owls cockatoos & lorikeets, ducks, treecreepers, owls, owlet-nightjar, kingfishers, pardolotes, martins & woodswallows.”  ~ Sourced from Wildlife Notes, Department of Conservation & Management April 2005.

One of the least known characteristics of Australian animals is their high utilisation of tree hollows. For example, the proportion of Australian animals that use tree hollows is three times greater than in North America & twice as great as in South Africa.

About 350 Australian animals use hollows for either roosting or nesting. This includes:


  • half of our small bats,
  • nearly 90% of our parrots,
  • all of our gliders,
  • all but one of our owls
  • all of our tree-creepers.

Nearly 20% of our birds use hollows in some way. For 60% of these, hollows are essential.” http://www.ozbox.net.au/anim&holl.htm

Of the 22 species of bats that have been recorded to utilise tree hollows in NSW, 10 of these are listed as threatened. (Gibbons & Lindenmayer 1997).

Repurposing trees that would have been removed so that they become useful for wildlife is a great idea. Tree hollows in urban environments are very rare.  I look at trees all the time, but only know of three trees on public land in Marrickville LGA that have natural hollows. I applaud this move to help wildlife & improve on biodiversity by both Councils.   It will be interesting to see what wildlife do take up residence in these hollows.

Sign on tree

Educational sign on tree

The back of the nesting hollows.  To show the front would have meant facing the sun,

The back of the nesting hollows. To show the front would have meant photographing into the sun.

Another view.  It's hard to see the hollows, but the more I looked, the more I spotted.  They are on the tips of branches as well as multiple hollows along branches.

Another view. It’s hard to see the hollows, but the more I looked, the more I spotted. They are on the tips of branches as well as multiple hollows along branches.

A hollow has been made at he end of many of the branches.

A hollow has been made at he end of many of the branches.  It’s hard to see, but it is there.

 

From this...

From this…

To this….

To this….

Leaving this...

Leaving this…

To this.

To this.

And finally to this.  I wonder why it was necessary in the first place.

And finally to this. I wonder why it was necessary in the first place.

On 10th April 2014 I posted about the ruination of a very nice & quite different street tree that was a feature the corner of Swain Street & Burrows Avenue Sydenham.  See – http://bit.ly/1hjsbUq   The tree was left unviable after pruning for power lines & was removed.

I was pleased to see that Marrickville Council planted a new tree in this location sometime in the last week.  It looks like a Banksia serrata, which is a great tree, especially for wildlife.

Fabulous idea to put a green wall here.

Fabulous idea to put a green wall here.

The geraniums are doing well.

The geraniums are doing well.

The residents at the corner of Ewart Street & Ewart Lane Dulwich Hill have recently created a green wall. The house is very visible when you drive along Ewart Street towards Marrickville, so a green wall here is a very nice addition to the streetscape.

The green wall structure is made of pockets in geo-textile that has been fixed to the exterior wall.   Each pocket is filled with soil or another growing medium & planted. It appears that they were having some problems with plants surviving in this hot location. However, the geraniums were doing very well & the vibrant red of their flowers is what initially attracted my eye.

My photos were taken around a month ago & it may have been replanted since then.   With trial & error they will find what works & the community will get to benefit from the addition of beauty on what was a bare wall.

The residents have also planted mother-in-law’s tongue in the tiny area between the wall of the house & the kerb of Ewart Lane. These are extremely hardy & are a good choice for this location. Being hemmed in by the building wall & the kerb with the bitumen road beside will stop them spreading.

I was with a friend who was just as happy as I was to see this work. Any addition of green improves the streetscape. Adding the structure on the wall was a great idea & I am sure that this will become very attractive as the plants grow. Well done.

Showing the planting along the side of the house that borders Ewart Lane.  I think this looks great.

Showing the planting along the side of the house that borders Ewart Lane. I think this looks great.

Marrickville Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias.

Marrickville Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias.  Photo from Marrickville Council & used with thanks.

Sad news. Last weekend Marrickville Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias died after a long battle with cancer.  He was 38-years-old & is survived by his wife & two children.

Clr Tsardoulias was willing to devote his time to work for the community on many levels & this is something to be applauded.

He was elected as the Labor Councillor for West Ward (Burraga) & held that position since September 2008. This was his third term as a Councillor.

A Condolence Book will be available for anyone to sign at the Council meeting tomorrow night.  His death is a great loss to the whole community of Marrickville.

You can read Council’s Press Release here – http://bit.ly/1vZY7pw

The Cooks River Valley Garden looking green after the rain.

The Cooks River Valley Garden looking green after the rain.  This is the lower section where the Story Poles will be installed.

The upper section of the The Cooks River Valley Garden

The upper section of the The Cooks River Valley Garden

The plans.

The plans.

I have just come back from a walk around Tempe Reserve. It was good to see that work has started on the Cooks River Valley Garden upgrade. I wrote about the $70,000 upgrade here – http://bit.ly/1zKDjlj

There has been some thinning done. This is not something to be concerned about as many shrubs & trees were dead or nearly dead. The area along the main pathway & outside the toilet block was full of almost dead shrubs. Now that it is cleaned up it looks much better & there is room for new plants.

Many trees have yellow crosses on their trunks indicating that they are for removal. I was pleased to see that the male & female Podocarpus trees were unmarked, so they will be staying. This is good because both these trees offer housing for many birds. Plus they are the tallest trees in this area & they are healthy.

Everything is green after the rain. Even the nearby ‘Ring of Figs’ is doing well after many of the trees lost a lot of leaves last summer. They have sprouted new growth.

It did appear that quite a few trees in the ‘Turpentine forest’ have been chopped down. A number of nearly dead Acacias have also been chopped down in this area, which is beside the ring of Figs.

When I last wrote, the plans for the garden upgrade were not on Council’s website, but they are now & can be viewed at this link – http://bit.ly/1Bplkli

The plans show that 13 large trees will be planted along the section of the garden that faces the picnic kiosks. Two of these will provide shade to a kiosk from the afternoon sun. 8 smaller trees will be planted along the back of the toilet block.

There will be two ‘gathering points.’ One will be an ‘Aboriginal Interpretation Area’ with Story Poles. We have one of these in Steel Park, another between Steel & Mackey Parks & one in Kendrick Park. I like the Story Poles & think these will be a nice addition to this space.

It appears that the grassed area between the kiosks & the Garden will be paved & this will include the tap. I hope some equity happens with the choice of tap.  Something similar to the taps in the parks of Newtown that allow dogs & birds to access fresh water would be good. Paving this area will remove the fresh water to which wildlife has access. This concerns me greatly.  Council needs to provide a suitable replacement.  A shallow pond under the tap would allow fresh water for the birds & other wildlife. It could easy have an overflow, which takes this water to the Garden. I have seen a range of bird species, as well as lizards drink from this area. I have also seen birds come to drink before flying on.

Council will be removing the two bollards at each end of the Cooks River Valley Garden.  They will be putting in a sandstone bollard on the pedestrian pathway near the toilet block to prevent cars driving into the kiosks. While I am really happy about this, I doubt the new bollard will be enough. I believe the cars will simply turn left & access the picnic kiosks by driving through the Ring of Figs. I’ve seen this happen many times. In my opinion, bollards need to be placed at the access from the road.

I hope the proposed solution works because cars in the picnic area cause much damage to the local environment & infrastructure, plus they ruin a peaceful park experience for everyone else, including the wildlife.

The plans show that most of the Garden will be replanted.  The Cooks River Valley Garden will hopefully become a showpiece of plants & trees that grow along the river.  Good planting choice & the Story Poles will have the potential to make it an interesting & lovely place for schools to visit.

There are lots of wildlife that live in this area of Tempe Reserve & the upgrade with new trees, shrubs & plants will help them by offering food, safety & habitat. It will be good for the community because this once glorious place will once again become something that is beautiful & that we can feel proud of.   I am looking forward to seeing the planting choices.

Looking towards the river.  The picnic kiosks are on the left out of view.

Looking towards the river. The picnic kiosks are on the left out of view.

The red dots indicate the two Podocarpus trees.

The red dots indicate the two Podocarpus trees.

Yellow crosses on trees to be removed.  A picnic kiosk is visible in the background.

Yellow crosses on trees to be removed. A picnic kiosk is visible in the background.

The area beside the toile block has been cleared of dead shrubs.

The area beside the toile block has been cleared of dead shrubs.

Yellow crosses for tree removal.

Yellow crosses for tree removal.

Marrickville Raven

Marrickville Raven

This was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting. Absent: Clrs Tsardoulias, Hanna, Brooks & Leary.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

459-463 Illawarra Road Marrickville – extend the trading hours of Woolworths supermarket to 7.30am – 10pm on Saturdays & 8am – 10pm Sundays & public holidays. Council considered that extended trading hours would not have a detrimental effect on the surrounding area & recommended a 12-month trial.

First speaker from Woolworths: Said customers needed to be explained why store closed at 4pm on Sundays. There were 560 signatures on a petition to allow extended trading hours. Woolworths distributed 15,000 leaflets. Said trading to 4pm is inconsistent with other stores & what is proposed is consistent with zoning. There are no proposed changes to the loading dock. The store employs 130 people. Woolworths is a local company owned by hundreds & thousands of Australians. The supermarket sells the essentials of life. The changes make things easier for families to buy essentials when they want to buy them.

Resident 1:  This application is similar to the one in 2011 that Council rejected because it would have a significant impact on the surrounding area. Nothing has changed. It will still generate a high level of traffic, trolley dumping, loitering, noise & litter. The business paper has a perspective that this is a commercial area, but it is a predominantly a residential area. The business paper says approval would be unlikely to result in an increase in traffic & noise. This cannot be correct. Many of the shoppers use cars. If you walk down Renwick Street at 5pm on Sunday, this is the only quiet time in the whole week. The business paper also points out other shops open after 4pm. The figures are wrong. Only eight operate after 8pm. These are boutique shops, not comparable to large Woolworths. The fact is that these small corner stores cater to shoppers past 4pm. Shoppers can also go to Wolli Creek & Metro. Market Town in Leichhardt operates from 10am – 4pm on Sundays. I am asking Council not to reconsider its 2011 decision. If there is a 12-month trial, traffic monitoring of the area is needed. More work needs to be done for pre & post traffic measurement for it to be a meaningful trial.

Resident 2:  We have no objections to extra hours on Saturday & think that 10am – 4pm on Sunday is ample. We encounter daily high traffic, blocked driveway, rubbish everywhere. People sit under the ramp & drink alcohol & urinate. Faeces can be smelt. Alcohol use outside Woolworths has risen ten-fold since the liquor outlet was opened. There has been an increase in robberies & bags stolen from homes. We have a small respite in the week & we would like to keep it. When it is quiet, the street is not packed with cars. We can hear the PA system at 10pm. Woolworths doesn’t need the extra income. Wolli Creek, Metro & Banana Joes is open on Sunday evenings. The residents deserve to keep this small window.

Resident 3:  I will not address the merits of the DA. What I will say is about Council’s conduct. The business paper speaks about Community Consultation. What it does not tell you is that the advertisement that I saw said: “It should be noted that comments received will not be treated confidentially and may be viewed by the applicant.” It is a blanket practice allowing access to identifiers: names, addresses, contact details. No-one has a say as to whether they wish their identifiers not be accessible to DA proponents. This is inconsistent with others Councils.  For example, Sydney Council’s invites subitters to say if they wish their anonymity to be respected.  A similar direction is on the Information and Privacy Commission’s website.  Council’s advertisement is not consistent with its obligations under the GIPA Act.  The GIPA Act does not say that Council must allow access to personal information in DA files. It does not say that Council is permitted to allow access without undertaking the statutory balancing exercise to ascertain if there is an overriding right that makes access inappropriate. The community’s privacy right is such a right. It protects identifiers & contact details.

Allowing access to identifiers creates a chilling effect on the community. It creates a fear that personal information will be available to every developer. You get fewer submissions.  It is not for developers to be checking whether a submission is genuine & who made it. This is Council’s function. Identifiers do not improve a proponent’s capacity to respond to any community comments. People said to me this is not right. I don’t want developers to know who I am, where I live, what my contacts are. This is for Council to know.  A person said I am a silent voter. I will not make any submissions to Council when it allows access to my name & address. Just knowing that identifiers may be accessible is enough to create a chilling effect.

The business paper does not tell you that the Privacy Commissioner is examining Council’s practice & has now written to Council. There have been two Tribunal decisions where developers tried to obtain access to identifiers, which they did not know. Both developers lost.

You may choose to approve the recommendation. But it is the product of a process inconsistent with Council’s privacy obligations. The right thing is a resolution that asks Council to re-advertise the DA, clearly saying what the law is.  That is, identifiers will not be accessible without an opportunity to have a say about privacy & without Council complying with the test that the GIPA Act requires of all government agencies. Your resolution should also include a paragraph that asks Council to write to submitters & clearly inform them if Council allowed access to un-redacted submissions in this case & exactly to whom it allowed access, so that submitters can think about whether they wish to make privacy complaints.

Clr Macri moved the motion to support extended trading hours for Woolworths.

Clr Phillips:  Said he will not support the motion, but was moving two amendments. I used to live in South Marrickville & felt confused when Woolworths shut down at 4pm.   I do think extended hours will support the community. It does affect the residents’ convenience. The headlights shine directly into the lounge room opposite. Council should do something about that issue. Amendment 1: Woolworths to work with Marrickville Council to do streetscape work to stop lights affecting this house. Amendment 2: Recognise this is a residential area & that residents do rely on this respite. 8pm is a reasonable compromise & recognizes residents’ amenity.   He thanked the resident regarding the issue of privacy. I am of a mind to raise a matter arising about how Marrickville Council compares & whether submitter details were passed on to Woolworths.

Staff: The Manager of Governance looks after this. My understanding is that certain details are always redacted. This is not my area, so I cannot comment.

Clr Macri: This is only a 12-month trail, so there is a lot of pressure on Woolworths in how they fit into the community. We are looking at a Plan of Management for that site & environs so they are appropriately managed. They are changing their status quo. Regarding the community safety issues; passive surveillance means there is less crime. With no people, there is a rise in crime. The liquor hours will be staying as they are. I am comfortable with a trial. I am happy to support the amendment regarding the streetscape opposite. I’d like a discussion with residents without first thrusting it upon them. We need to actually allow the full trial with the hours they are asking.

Mayor Haylen:  I appreciate the concerns of residents. Woolworths has an action plan re loitering, litter etc. I am satisfied on this front.  I am looking forward to shopping there on a Sunday. The shops around here told me they are looking forwards to more business too.  134 people are employed & an extra 6-hours allows more kids an employment opportunity.  If Woolworths doesn’t uphold its end of the bargain, they will be back in 12-months. I support amendment 1, but not amendment 2.

Clr Gardiner: I don’t support Amendment 1. It bothers me that an application can be ambushed. What does it mean – Woolworths to work with Marrickville Council? Stop headlight spill – which house? It’s half-baked & not thought through. The amendments should been discussed with staff.

Clr Phillips: Amendment change – That Woolworths work with Marrickville Council & local residents. I have faith that Woolworths want to do the right thing. The wording is vague. I would hope that Marrickville Council works with Woolworths & residents. I’ve driven out the Woolworths driveway 150 times. We are asking for approval for something that will have an impact on these residents. It is not half-baked.

Vote on Amendment 2 – Opening hours Sunday 8am – 8pm – For: Clrs Ellsmore & Phillips. Against: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Macri, Iskandar, Woods, Gardiner & Tyler. Lost.

Vote on Amendment 1 – streetscaping to stop headlight spill into a house – For: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Ellsmore, Phillips & Macri. Against: Clrs Iskandar, Woods, Gardiner & Tyler. Carried with Clr Macri’s casting vote.

Vote to approve the Motion for extended operating hours for Woolworths – For: Mayor Haylen, Clrs Ellsmore, Phillips, Gardiner, Tyler & Macri. Against: Clrs Woods & Iskandar. Carried.

Clr Phillips: Privacy Issue Arising: Motion that Council prepare a report about its consultation practices & personal privacy as to how they compare with other councils & comply with the law. Motion carried unanimously.

NOTE: Resident 3 told me he spoke with Council staff during 3 phone calls in May & after some initial inconsistent advice, he was told that Council does allow developers to view community submissions without concealing identifiers.

Lovely streetscape work next to Camperdown Park on Mallett Street Camperdown

Lovely streetscape work next to Camperdown Park on Mallett Street Camperdown

I was in Mallett Street Camperdown recently & noticed some very nice work Marrickville Council have done either side of a pedestrian crossing next to Camperdown Park.

Both sides have verge gardens with trees, plus there is good quality planting on four traffic islands on both sides of the pedestrian crossing. There was also a line of newly planted trees beside the crossing on the verge alongside the park.

It is a stunning piece of work & adds much to the area.  It would be good if  the southern suburbs of Marrickville municipality could get similar treatment where there are opportunities.

Another view

Another view from across the road.  A row of new street trees have been planted across the road, which will add even more green to the streetscape.

Looks great.

Looks great.

The community benefit from a row of new trees beside the pedestrian crossing.   The new Street Tree Master Plan says Council will no longer plant street trees on the side of a park.

The community benefit from a row of new trees beside the pedestrian crossing. I think they are Maple trees.  The new Street Tree Master Plan says Council will no longer plant street trees on the side of a park.

Notice the floral bunch hanging from the sign casing outside Bespoke & Grind on the corner of Meeks & Marrickville Roads Marrickville

Notice the floral bunch hanging from the sign casing outside Bespoke & Grind on the corner of Meeks & Marrickville Roads Marrickville.

It's a simple thing, but to me it adds a lot that is positive to the streetscape.

It’s a simple thing, but to me it adds something quirky & positive to the streetscape.

There is even a nice verge garden next to the cafe on Meeks Road.

There is even a nice verge garden next to the cafe on Meeks Road.

A couple of months ago there were piles of mulch being laid on the area to be planted.

A couple of months ago there were piles of mulch being laid on the area to be planted.

Marrickville Council will be holding their National Tree Day event this Sunday 10th August from 10.30am – 1.00pm at Tillman Park Sydenham.

Council says the community will be able to participate in “planting local native trees, shrubs, sedges, grasses, ferns & groundcovers.”

I noticed that Council has planted around 7 trees along the railway fence line in the last couple of months.

A couple of new trees

A couple of new trees

Ready to be planted.  This part of Tillman Park is deemed a priority biodiversity area

Ready to be planted. Tillman Park is deemed a priority biodiversity area

 

The Beynon & Hayward building is a highly visible building on Livingstone Road.

The Beynon & Hayward building is a highly visible building on Livingstone Road.  The council car park is visible just behind on the right.

 

The National Trust & the Australian Institute of Architects have criticized Marrickville Council for ignoring “its own report recommending it heritage list a Beynon & Hayward warehouse in Petersham because it might interfere with plans to upgrade a public car park.”

Far too many of our heritage buildings & facades are being lost to modern glass & concrete structures & there seems to be a blitz of destruction happening in recent months.

The Beynon & Hayward building at 6 Livingstone Road Petersham is iconic to the area & much loved by the community.

In a Marrickville Council Meeting in July, the Councillors voted 6 – 6 to refuse heritage protection to the building.  The Greens & Liberal Clr Gardiner voted for heritage protection, which would still allow development to go ahead, but retaining & repurposing the building.

Labor Clr Tsardoulias used his casting vote to deny heritage protection.

A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald said -

“London or New York might salivate at the prospect of reviving an inner-city heritage landmark, but in Sydney it seems we’d still just as readily swap character for a car park.

Marrickville Council is under heavy fire from heritage experts, who fear “ill-informed” decision makers are repeating Sydney’s errors of last century in the race to redevelop increasingly valuable inner-city space.”   Sydney Morning Herald article here – http://bit.ly/1k8JINc

This issue is coming back to Council in August. Please sign this petition started by Greens Clr Phillips & let the Marrickville Councillors know that you want the Beynon & Hayward building heritage protected to retain this iconic building of Petersham. This issue is beyond political parties & has to be if we are to save heritage buildings.

You can sign the petition here – http://chn.ge/1s1hDiV

The view of the Beynon & Hayward building traveling south.

The view of the Beynon & Hayward building traveling south.  It would be a huge loss to lose this just to park a line of cars.

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