Marrickville Town Hall. Photo taken 2011. The units on the right have been completed.

Marrickville Town Hall. Photo taken 2011. The units on the right have been completed.

Removal of these trees is a negative impact on the outlook of the Town Hall in my opinion.

Removal of these trees is a negative impact on the outlook of the Town Hall in my opinion.

Clr Phillips first brought the refurbishment of Marrickville Town Hall to Council in July 2011 as a Notice of Motion. See – http://bit.ly/1fmiFLL   A refurbishment plan was brought to the Council Meeting in November 2011. See – http://bit.ly/1jGIkkQ

The refurbishment was again on the agenda at last Tuesday’s Council meeting, 15th April 2014.

Mayor Haylen & Clrs Phillips, Leary & Iskandar were absent, so it was a 2:2:2:2 vote – 2 Labour, 2 Liberals, 2 Independents & 2 Greens who voted to remove all of the trees in the front & all but one tree along the Petersham Road side of Marrickville Town Hall.   Not surprising to me, but at the same time, quite distressing.

In November 2011 I wrote, ALL the trees will be removed & 3 ‘suitable’ street trees will be planted as replacements along the side of the Town Hall.  My guess these will probably be Ornamental Cherry trees to match what has been planted on both sides of Marrickville Road to the corner of Livingstone Road.  They are cheap to buy & absolutely useless to wildlife. 

The current trees along the exterior wall of the Town Hall building are 7 mature Pencil pines, 2 mature Cocas palms & 2 small Cocas palms & 1 mature Norfolk Island palm.  These trees, especially the Pencil pines, add to the grandness of the building & considerably soften the façade.

At dusk take a seat outside the library & listen. Literally thousands of small birds live in these trees & the sound of them settling down for the night is wonderful.  I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t like it.  Remove these trees & there will be an environmental impact, though I don’t know whether this has been taken into account in the environmental impact assessment. Certainly Council doesn’t care.

There are 2 mature, but small stature Pine trees in the front forecourt connected to the War Memorial & one 5-6 metre Pine tree in a planter box.  One of these Pines leans towards the pedestrian footpath, but doesn’t block pedestrian thoroughfare.  

This is a total of 15 trees to be removed & the replacement with 3 as yet unspecified species.  You can bet any money that these will be small stature trees that will not obscure the view of the building & probably deciduous.  The community will be left with a sterile box. A grand box, but sterile none-the-less.”

So what has changed 3-years later?   According to the business paper, arrangements are presently underway for a new Winged Victory statue to be made & placed on the war memorial column at the front of the Town Hall.”   Winged Victory herself was donated to the Australian War Memorial in late 2013.   Personally, I would have liked Winged Victory to be on permanent display inside the new Marrickville Library, especially as the ceiling of the building is so high & the front is to be mostly glass. She would have been spectacular in a safe place inside the entrance foyer & visible from the street. C’est la vie.

Winged Victory when it was at the War Memorial outside Marrickville Town Hall.  Now she is going to Canberra.

Winged Victory when it was at the War Memorial outside Marrickville Town Hall. Now she is going to Canberra.

A media release dated 22nd April 2014 says Marrickville Council will hold “an information session & presentation to update local residents & citizens on the future of the Winged Victory statue.”  

This is to be held on Thursday 1st May 2014, 6pm – 7pm at the Function Room 3, Council’s Administration Centre, 2-14 Fisher Street Petersham.

 

Stage 1 of the refurbishment of the Town Hall will cost $75,000 for the design & $500,000 for the works, which are –

  1. Repaving the forecourt - Matching paving will also be installed in front of the car park behind the Library, at the Library entrance & in the two car spaces, all located at the Petersham Road side of the Town Hall building. [The Petersham Road side already has ornamental brick paving].
  1. Furniture, including new seating. [I cannot find any furniture other than 8 new bench seats in the plans.]
  1. Relocating the bus stop to “improve sight lines.”
  1. Refurbishment of the War Memorial column & re-gilding of the honour roll names. [Great.  This is an important war memorial to many.]
  1. Landscaping comprised of -

–      Star Jasmine (native to E & SE Asia)to be used as a ground cover.

–      Hedges of Box Hedge (native to either England, Holland, Japan or Korea depending on the species used), Indian Hawthorn (native to Southern China) & Viburnum suspensum (native to Japan). [This combination of Indian Hawthorn, Box & Star Jasmine is already being used as the main landscaping feature.]

–      Two Tibouchina trees (native to SE Brazil) are planned for the back wall of the car park at the rear.

Can Council not use Australian native plants?

  1. And lastly removal of the “old conifers” – [that is to remove 13 mature trees]. One Phoenix palm will be retained. Another Phoenix palm will be transplanted to match the other. One tree fern will also be retained.
The plants in the garden will be the same as shown, but this Camelia will be removed.

The plants in the garden will be the same as shown, but this Camelia will be removed.

In 2011 Council planned to plant 3 street trees alongside the Library side on Petersham Road. The current plans have upped this to 6 street trees. There is no mention of what species the trees will be.

Two Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ conifers will be planted beside the War Memorial. These ultra-slow-growing conifers grow to around 3-metres tall with a 1.5-metre base in a tear drop shape.  I personally think Conifers are important trees to have around a War Memorial because of their deep symbolism.  However, two slender 3-metre conifers will not make much of a green impact for either the memorial or the forecourt.  There will be no shade.

While I have long considered the forecourt of the Town Hall to be an ugly mess, I cannot believe that part of the answer towards improvement is to remove the trees.

None of the trees growing beside the walls of the Town Hall touch the building. Neither have they created any visible damage to the building in the decades that they have been there.

This area will also be paved as well as in front of the car park.

This area will also be repaved as well as in front of the car park.

Only one tree causes a problem & that is the small conifer beside the War Memorial & next to the footpath. This tree leans towards the footpath, which although very wide in this section, is starting to be an obstruction. Pruning this tree is a simple job & will remove any obstruction.

I can see no reason other than someone with design powers has a personal preference to get rid of the trees.  One should ask whether this is a good enough reason to remove trees & habitat in these days of global warming, especially as the main feature of the refurbishment will be hard cold paving that will be used as an unofficial car park anyway. The proposed removal of the bollards will further assist car parking.

It is important to note that all work for the Petersham Road side of the Town Hall building is Stage 2 & is “subject to further allocations of funds, should Council decide.” In other words, the trees will be removed & we may wait years for the paving & ground level landscaping.  Since the community has waited years for work to be done on this important war memorial & for Winged Victory to be returned on two occasions, it is not unfair or unrealistic to think this may take a long time to eventuate or not happen at all.

Without funds being immediately available for the whole project, this may end up being like the avenue of trees from Sydenham Station along Marrickville Road to the Marrickville shopping strip that was promised by a Council vote in 2010, but still remains invisible.

Two Tibouchina trees will be planted at the back wall

Two Tibouchina trees will be planted at the back wall

To me this design will pretty up the floor of the site, while removing all the beauty & importantly, habitat. What will happen to the thousands of birds that sleep in these trees? They will have to go somewhere else, to fight out to the death over territories.

Biodiversity is a word Council uses that is cool when they want to do something good for the environment & to be fair, they have done very good things. However, one does not improve biodiversity by removing habitat & replacing it with paving & low hedges.

The only way the tree removal can be stopped is through a rescission motion.

Here is a short video I made of the Town Hall forecourt in 2011.  Nothing has changed, including the empty garden beds. See – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFbCp6o0gs8

The red line shows how the tree can be pruned & return space to the footpath, instead of Council's choice to remove the tree.

The red line shows how the tree can be pruned & return space to the footpath, instead of Council’s choice to remove the tree.

Unofficial car park.  I counted 13 cars, & there were more parked on the footpath beside the building on Petersham Road.

Unofficial car park. I counted 13 cars, & there were more parked on the footpath beside the building on Petersham Road.  How much will it cost to pave this?

Unofficial car park.  Bollards will be removed offering more space.

Unofficial car park. Bollards will be removed offering more space.  

All these trees to go, except one Phoenix Palm.  None of the trees touch or have created visible damage to the building.

All these trees to go, except one Phoenix Palm. None of the trees touch or have created visible damage to the building.

Marrickville Council has given notice of the intention to remove a White Cedar (Melia azedarach) from “inside” Petersham Park, Petersham.

Council gave the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree is in a state of decline with extensive internal decay and damage from borer.
  • Tree has recently dropped large branches and poses a risk to public safety.”

They say they will replace with a Cape Chestnut (Calodendrum capense), but not when they will do this. 

Marrickville Council has given notice of the intention to remove a Cedar Wattle (Acacia elata) “inside” Camperdown Memorial Rest Park Newtown.

Council gave the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree is in a state of decline with significant dieback, decay and damage from borer.
  • Tree is leaning and poses a risk to public safety.”

They say they will replace with a Rough-barked apple (Angophora floribunda), but not when they will do this.

The deadline for any submissions is Monday 28th April 2014.

 

 

From this...

From this…

To this….

To this….

Paying money to get rid of healthy tree assets.

To finally this.   

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

Well, now the evidence has disappeared completely. Today, which just happens to be Earth Day, I drove past & saw that this tree has been removed.  Beauty gone for good.  It made me feel quite sad.  I bet it made the residents near this tree even sadder.

I predict grasses or a small hedge will be planted here. Let’s see if I am wrong. I’ll keep an eye out & let you know.

 Paying money to get rid of healthy tree assets.

Paying money to get rid of healthy tree assets.

Once there was a beautiful healthy landmark tree living here.  Now there is nothing.

Once there was a beautiful healthy landmark tree living here. Now there is nothing.

After the rain

After the rain

Today is Earth Day – an international event to raise awareness & appreciation for our fragile planet, especially the environment.   I can think of nothing better than sharing this visually stunning short film about trees, the Earth & our place on it from a Native American Indian perspective.

When you cut down a tree, you don’t just destroy a tree, you destroy a whole community.”

See – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWtVTu6S51M

Welcome to the park

Welcome to the park

This was Tempe Reserve at 4.30pm yesterday after a community festival was held here last Easter Saturday. Words fail me. This is not okay for the community who did this, or for the people who come to relax in the park & it is definitely not okay for the wildlife & the Cooks River where a lot of this garbage ends up.

I do not understand how they could have walked away leaving such a mess. Nor do I understand why communities are allowed to hire this area when they leave such a mess & put the river at a huge risk.   Surely it is reasonable to expect respectful use of the space & that it be left in the condition it was given to them.

As a minimum, organizations that hire our public spaces & disrespect them should be made to pay an upfront fee in order to cover the cost of cleaning up after them.

It was not a place suitable for community use yesterday – on a sunny Easter weekend when it is expected that a lot of people will go to the park.  We don’t go to the park to sit or play amidst other people’s litter.

Tomorrow is Earth Day  where we celebrate this great planet that we live on & the environment.  It’s obvious that there is still a long way to go in terms of some people respecting the environment.

I made a short video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKHi2TT9jbc

Plastic sheet on its way to the Cooks River 100-metres away

Plastic sheet on its way to the Cooks River 100-metres away

The photos do not show the extent of the mess

My photos do not show the extent of the mess

 

 

It seems that 10-metres to the disposal bin too far for anglers to walk.  The damage this line does to wildlife goes mostly unseen, but what is seen is causing gross suffering.  This suffering is entirely preventable.

3 of 4 bundles of fishing line lying at the low tide mark at Tempe.

3 of 4 bundles of fishing line lying in a 10-metre stretch at the low tide mark at Tempe.

The fishing fishing line we collected on the stone wall at Tempe.

The fishing fishing line we collected & placed on the stone wall at Tempe.  It was easily 40 metres of line.

Imagine these planted out. It can look very beautiful.

Imagine these planted out. It could look very beautiful.  The consistency & size of gardens looks better to my eyes, even without plants.  

Marrickville Council created some new verge gardens in Albion Street Marrickville & they look wonderful. They are uniform in size & placed regularly along the street. They also provided a decent amount of room for the street trees. I imagine that once planted these gardens will look terrific & increase livability in this street.

The benefits of verge gardens are vast & the benefits change with the type of plants used. At the very least verge gardens mean less concrete, which means a lowering of the urban heat island effect.  Heat collected by concrete during the day releases somewhat during the night & this keeps nighttime temperatures higher than normal. We all know how hard it is to sleep on a hot night. Managing the urban heat island effect can mean lower power bills.

Cooler streets also result in a nicer environment to be in, whether it be in your house, in the front garden or walking the footpath.

Verge gardens that are native or contain some native plants have a profound benefit to wildlife as food & shelter is available for birds, butterflies, other insects & lizards. Native plants at regular intervals provides a corridor of food, which is extremely important if you want birds & other wildlife to be part of your environment.

Without exaggeration the birdlife increased ten-fold after we created our verge garden. Not all the plants are native, but most are. The other 10% were chosen because they would not be stolen & because they were bee attracting. It went from Currawongs & Indian Mynas being the dominant species to many different species of native birds, including little birds, visiting everyday. It sounds different now & can be quite raucous when a flock arrives to eat.

Other benefits of verge gardens include a softening of the landscape, which is very good for the human spirit.  The trees & plants collect particulate matter from passing traffic & therefore improve the air quality.  Verge gardens help to collect storm water & filter this water through the ground cleaning it before it enters the Cooks River. I remember reading in a Council document that the drains in Marrickville LGA have reached capacity, so any water that is collected naturally via the ground helps lessen the load of our drains & prevent flooding.

Well-tended verge gardens raise property values in that street because of the beauty they add. They also reduce graffiti & increase safety because of passive surveillance of people out in the street.

To me it is wonderful to walk along a street with verge gardens. It can look great, provide interest to the eye & I am always looking for beauty. It’s a way to learn about plants, what they are & what works well.  It’s also a way to connect with nature without going to the park.

Verge gardens can improve your mood to & from work, be a nice route to take your dog for a walk & it is always a great way to meet your neighbours.  People are always happy to talk about gardens & plants.  I know that the community, not just one’s neighbours, appreciates good verge gardens.

The footpaths of Marrickville LGA could be utterly transformed in ten years or so & we as a whole community would be much better off for this work.

Azaleas

Azaleas

Another section

Another section 

 

Looking good.  The end of Shepherd Street that connects with Addison Road.

Looking good. The end of Shepherd Street that connects with Addison Road.

We went to look at the new verge gardens created by Marrickville Council in Shepherd Street Marrickville.  Because the footpaths have not been replaced I assume this work was done on the request of residents.

Planting has already started for some of the verge gardens & it looks terrific. Well done to everyone involved.  We all benefit from this work.

Spider plants

Spider plants

There is room for a small street tree

There is room for a small street tree

Someone has worked to improve the soil. This is a very nice large space to garden.

Someone has worked to improve the soil. This is a very nice large space to garden.

The potential for this section with soil on both sides of the footpath is great.

The potential for this section with soil on both sides of the footpath is great.

Marrickville Council recently replaced the footpaths in Myrtle Street Marrickville South leaving space for verge gardens. This is a wide footpath & the verge gardens will, in my opinion, greatly improve on the streetscape.

I love this approach by Council to leave verge gardens when replacing footpaths. I have no idea how long it will take to replace the footpaths of the whole of the municipality, but one day every street where this can happen will be transformed & what a positive difference it will make.

I don't know why the verge garden in this section was made thinner

I don’t know why the verge garden in this section was made thinner

Further up Myrtle Street

Further up Myrtle Street

 

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