Some great things happened over the weekend regarding Newcastle’s iconic Laman Street Fig trees –
- A tent embassy was erected at Civic Park over the weekend to protest the removal of the Laman Street Fig trees. There were around 10 tents with residents sleeping overnight in the park.
- On Sunday night, Lord Mayor John Tate served papers on Newcastle Council’s General manager saying that, “there was concern that proper procedure had not been followed leading up to the order to cut the trees down, & two councillors missed last Thursday’s meeting.” – so the trees are still standing.
- About 250 people came to Civic Park at 5.30am this morning to form a picket line to prevent the trees from being chopped down.
I find it interesting that the rest of us mortals cannot start any building or noisy work before 7am & 8am on Sundays, but Newcastle Council could have trees chopped down at 6am. They probably thought the community would not attend at such an early hour, not suspecting that such a large crowd would arrive even earlier & on a Monday. http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/laman-street-figs-get-last-minute-reprieve/2272790.aspx
Community group Save Our Figs say that the independent assessment could be done for a cost of $20,000 of which they would pay half & that the reported cost of $70,000 was “wildly exaggerated.” Once again, the community is prepared to pay thousands of dollars to ensure an unbiased decision is made because they do not trust Newcastle Council.
Newcastle Council has even refused the offer of local businessman Roman Fidyk of the company MyFleet who offered to pay for the dynamic testing of the trees. (about $35,000). Mr Fidyk “… was amazed at the council’s lack of interest in his offer.”
I don’t understand why the Council does not take up either of these options. To do anything else, when both the community & the Lord Mayor, are advocating more examinations, leaves the impression that the Council has something to hide. Even the urgency to cut the trees today is a mirage, because the insurance company extended the deadline until the end of October 2011. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-29/figs-reprieve/2860094/?site=newcastle
My last post on the Laman Street Figs is here - http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/the-laman-street-figs-next-life-will-be-mulch/