As part of the ongoing lobbying by community group The Phillip & Gladstone Street Pride Group, Marrickville Council has agreed to plant up to 10 street trees in the places along Phillip Street where there is room for a street tree. There is a proviso though – Council wants the residents whose house each tree will be planted outside to give their written consent.
If the residents of 10 houses agree, the street will get 10 street trees. If 6 residents say no, then 6 spaces will be left empty.
I had two reactions when I heard this. I thought it was great that Council will be planting more street trees in an area that needs it. Then I wondered why Council was stipulating that the residents needed to give their permission for new street trees to be planted.
I’ve not heard of such an action by Council before. By doing this Council are, in my opinion, allowing an individual’s preference to come ahead of the collective interest in space that is owned by Council.
I understand that some people don’t want trees or even a garden on their property, but to be given the choice whether to have a street tree on public land means they have an inordinate impact on all of their neighbours & ultimately the whole community. It is equal to allowing residents to remove existing trees that they don’t like without any penalty.
Why is this location treated differently where Council has a general tree-planting program that does not involve taking each individual’s opinions into account?