Tonight Marrickvile Council will be chopping down an old Melaleuca that is about 20-25 metres tall because a water pipe broke underneath the tree.  Apparently the roots of the tree broke the pipe cutting off water supply to houses along one side of the bottom of Cary Street.

It appears that the roots of the tree were severed during exploratory excavation.  Sydney Water workers said that Marrickville Council decided that the tree was dangerous & was to be cut down tonight.

I went down there & had a look in the hole. Yes, roots near the surface had been cut, but I could see no thick roots at all.    To me they looked like thin surface roots, but I am not an expert.

The community had some questions –

  1. Could the new pipe, which is quite small, have been fed through the roots under the tree & be reconnected on either side, therefore keeping the tree?
  2. Could they create a by-pass pipe around the tree like the telephone company does with big trees?
  3. Could the tree not be braced while any needed roots grew back?  A Fig tree that fell over on the Bradfield Park North Sydney was craned upright, propped & is standing free, alive & healthy 5-years later.
  4. Could a temporary water pipe be installed to run along the footpath as what happened for a few weeks in 2011 so no house has to go without water?  This would allow the situation to be reassessed during the day where the outcome may be different.

The local community did not understand why the tree needed to be chopped down.  They felt that removing the tree was the most expedient way for Council to manage the situation & that there could very well be other alternatives that allow for this magnificent tree to be saved that may be cheaper than chopping a tree down at night.  There was a belief that this would not have happened in other municipalities.  The Sydney Water workers were not worried about it falling saying that Council decided to remove it.  I don’t know.  I’m just reporting the news.

Showing one side of the excavation – it’s a big tree.

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