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Here is a chance to be inspired by local sustainable urban gardening for food production using permaculture techniques. Local permaculture gardener Michele Margolis is holding an Open Day at her Inner West home with tours of her highly productive food garden. There will also be free workshops by Diego Bonetto, Jane Mowbray, Steve Webb & Michele herself.
- Sunday 5th May 2013
- 6 Browns Avenue Enmore
- 10am – 4pm
- Bring a small plate to share.
Today is Earth Day 2013. This year’s focus is climate change & its effects on people, animals, wildlife & the environment. I was sent these beautiful words spoken by Aboriginal senior elder Bill Neidjie & wanted to share here. I think many people think of trees as living beings not too different from us. Bill Neidjie’s words are food for thought.
“Tree same thing. E watching you.
You look tree you say… ‘Oh’
That tree e listen to you, what you!
E got no finger, e can’t speak
But that leaf, e pumping his.
Way e grow in the night while you sleeping
E grow with your body, your feeling
When you feeling tree, e work with you tree.
You cut im little bit, you got water coming out
Well that tree same as you. If you feel sore
‘Oh, I’m my body sore!’
Well that means somebody killing tree
Because your body on that tree or earth.” ~ Bill Neidjie
From Wiki – Big Bill Neidjie (c. 1920 – 23 May 2002) was the last surviving speaker of the Gaagudju language, an indigenous language northern Kakadu after which the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park is named. He was a senior elder of Kakadu National Park & a traditional owner of the Bunitj estate in northern Kakadu, perhaps the most spectacular National Park in Australia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bill_Neidjie
Marrickville Council’s Draft Recreation & Policy Strategy is available on their website. This comprehensive 35-page document is open for community consultation until tomorrow 14th April. I’ve highlighted a number of points that interested me.
- Provide seating & shade along walking routes, in parks & open spaces.
- Investigate lighting upgrades along the Cooks River for evening safety.
- Develop new off-leash areas in Enmore Park, Henson Park, Johnson Park, Mahoney Reserve, McNeilly Park, Marrickville Park, Petersham Park & Simpson Park.
- Signage to protect areas of local biodiversity.
- Undertake a feasibility study to cover 2 playing fields at Tempe Reserve with Synthetic turf.
- Upgrade fields at Marrickville Park, Steel Park, Camdenville Park, Tempe Reserve & Mahoney Reserve similar to what was done at Mackey Park.
- Investigate options for using pocket parks as biodiversity enhancement areas, urban forests or community gardens.
- Investigate using permeable pavements.
- Investigate using green roofs on park buildings.
- Engage the community in major & local park upgrades with view to creating ongoing stewardship.
- Promote adoption of trees or sponsorship of greening streets by community groups, schools, businesses & industry.
- Implement a place-making pilot program in pocket parks.
- Prepare a Green Streets Strategy to enhance connection to community hubs, public transport, parks & open space.
- Develop Village Centre Park/Plaza space in 4 urban villages with public art, outdoor seating, landscaping & special paving.
- Investigate under-used pocket parks to create additional recreational services.
- Work with existing volunteer landcare, tree planting & community gardening programs & provide ongoing support.
- Investigate Wi-Fi in selected parks & open space.
- Provide outdoor exercise stations in 2-3 large parks.
- Review the need for the 2 crochet clubs.
- Review leased spaces such as tennis & bowling.
- Undertake feasibility planning to develop one or two new indoor sports courts with options to extend Debbie & Abbey Borgia Centre or Robyn Webster Centre.
- Explore opportunities for using vacant buildings & shop fronts for start-up social enterprises.
I’ve rushed writing this because of tomorrow’s deadline. Personally, I hate that synthetic turf is being considered for Tempe Reserve. I believe it is a serious environmental hazard, totally inappropriate in this location with the Alexandra Canal & Cooks River on either side, & deprives valuable wildlife of feeding habitat, which is already scarce.
I was also disappointed to see that fishing was not mentioned in the document. This sport is booming along the Cooks River & with it comes some serious hazards to wildlife & the environment.
However, there are many things in the draft document that I think are wonderful – shaded seating, evening lighting along the river & every point that I have listed under ‘Environment.’
If you have time, send in a quick submission. You only need focus on what you want or don’t want as this will help Marrickville Council meet the community’s needs.
The document can be downloaded here – http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/getinvolved/consultations/recreationpolicyandstrategy.html?s=706673351
You can comment on the link above or send an email to Council at – email@example.com
I recommend watching this video called – ‘How the Kid’s Saved the Park.’ You will hear young people use terms like ‘mobile media action team’ & how they embarked on a self-initiated lengthy campaign to save the park, earmarked for closure due to state budget cuts.
Around 30 young children from Grass Valley Charter School in Nevada County, California campaigned for months to save the Yuba River National Park in California. They saw Californian state politicians on two occasions, spoke at their local council meeting & collected 10,000 signature petition as well as speaking on television & radio.
One girl said, “Anybody can make a difference.”
What I found particularly beautiful was that the children were aware that they were saving the park for future generations. Well done & thank you to the children. http://vimeo.com/61025491
Sutherland Shire Council excels when it comes to free public gardens that offer food & family-friendly things to do while you visit. We recently visited the EG Waterhouse National Camellia Garden in Caringbah (see – http://bit.ly/13Xb2qF ) & after I posted about this, many people asked whether I had visited Hazelhurst. I had not, so with some friends headed down to Gymea in the Sutherland Shire to see the place. I’m glad I did.
The land that comprises Hazelhurst is a 1.4 hectare property that was donated to Sutherland Shire Council by Ben & Hazel Broadhurst who purchased the land in 1945. Sutherland Shire Council opened Hazelhurst as a regional gallery, community gallery, arts centre, cafe & garden in 2000. The house of Ben & Hazel Broadhurst is now the home of the artist-in-residence.
From Sutherland Shire Council’s website – “The Broadhursts loved gardening & practised recycling & organic farming. They kept goats, horses, a cow & 200 chooks. They also had a mini dairy making cheeses & butter & an orchard of pears, peaches, apples & strawberries. Apart from their farming interests, the Broadhursts were successful business people, managing a shirt-making factory in Rockdale for more than 40 years. On retiring, Ben & Hazel gave their time to charities & worthy causes & became more involved with their interests in spiritualism. They had a fascination with numerology, astrology, extra-sensory perception & other psychic phenomena. Ben was president of the Sydney Centre for Psychic Research for some time in the 1950s.”
The first thing that stuck me when we drove into the car park was the wall of trees & a Fig tree that was the tallest I have ever seen. Some of the trees must be more than 100-years-old. If you like very tall trees with massive trunks, you will like the gardens at Hazelhurst.
Inside it was filled with people. There were two art exhibitions happening – one a group exhibition of works in wire of dogs & painting & drawings of trees. The other was ‘After Five: Fashion from the Darnell Collection.’ This was an exhibition of exquisite hand-made couture dresses & hats from the 1920s onwards. It was of the quality that you find in the Powerhouse Museum & such an unexpected bonus. Because it is a local high quality gallery, many in the community visit to see the exhibitions. 150,000 people visited in 2011.
Under a roof of opened shutters & a large outdoor patio with a large Golden Robinia cascading & creating dappled shade was a large crowd eating all-day breakfast & lunch or high tea in the Hazelhurst Cafe. Many like us, returned for afternoon tea. The food was great & the service excellent.
The gardens were what I wanted to see & it is lovely. It is very different from the Camelia Gardens in that there is a lot of open space. Children were tossing sand out of the sandpit, playing games on the lawn or exploring the pockets of the garden. It was a perfect place for kids to experience nature while remaining safe. Because the garden is contained, they can run free. There were artworks scattered throughout the garden that the children could touch adding an extra dimension to their play.
Everywhere was gorgeous dappled shade from the massive trees as well as lots of birds, especially Ravens who have obviously made their home here. A waterfall & a shallow man-made creek filled with golf fish runs through the garden & is great for wildlife.
Did I like Hazelhurst? Yes, very much so. If I were local I would come here often to eat, see an exhibition & wander the garden. I might come only just to lie on the lawn in the shade of the trees to read a book. Hazelhurst is like this. It’s not a restaurant with a garden, it’s the garden & you can take part in other activities if you like. Lots of older people had gathered to sit on comfy lounges inside with a view over the gardens so I imagine it is a popular venue for this age group too.
Hazelhurst also has seven studio rooms for all kinds of community art workshops & they have a school holiday program. There is also a film club as well as public talks. I think it must be a community hub as it offers so much.
I love that Sutherland Shire Council did not sell off the land when it was bequeathed to them, but made it into something that offers great benefit to the local community as well as others like us from outside the LGA. Ben & Hazel Broadhurst would be very happy that their generosity has culminated in something that benefits all ages, as well as wildlife. I loved the place & everything about it. You should go one day.
Located at 782 Kingsway, Gymea about a 40-minute drive from Sydney’s CBD. Admission is free. The Gallery is open from 10am – 5pm. The Cafe is open 7 days a week from 9am – 4pm. The Arts Centre is open Monday to Thursday 9am – 9:30pm & on Friday to Sunday 9am – 5pm. Closed New Years Day, Good Friday, Christmas & Boxing Day.
Local resident Gavin Gatenby from EcoTransit has made the first of a series of videos about WestConnex. EcoTransit thinks WestConnex will be a waste of time & money, that is, if it ever gets built. This is an intelligent video with seriously detailed information.
“This video explains how per-capita vehicle use has fallen to the level of 20 years ago & total vehicle kilometres travelled have been virtually flatlining for nine years, while demand for public transport has surged beyond peak-period capacity. In this situation it’s possible, with projects & policies far cheaper than WestConnex, to dramatically reduce road traffic & build a more liveable, sustainable, Sydney. Future installments will look at the project’s impacts, the politics & personalities & the alternatives.”
WestConnex will have a massive impact on Marrickville LGA so it is worth keeping alert to any discussion about it. You can watch the video here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdvqt0ZsCvI&feature=youtu.be
When SoT started in 2009 Marrickville Council posted removal notifications on their website with a period of 3-weeks for the community to send in any submissions, with their views either in favour or against the proposal. What was important is that the community could have a say.
Then around a year or perhaps 18-months ago Council reduced the consultation period to 10-working days. This usually meant 14 calendar days because weekends intervened. I was concerned about the loss of one week knowing how time-poor most people are & how this may have a likely impact on people making the submission deadline.
Since then Council has been inconsistent, some times allowing 2 other times 3 weeks.
Sometime last week Marrickville Council removed deadlines altogether. They now say, “If you wish to discuss this matter please call Council’s Tree Asset Officer, (name) on 8595 2434 during normal office hours.”
This is not good. I cannot count the number of people who have contacted me because they did not feel confident contacting Council directly. I’ve written posts on issues because the community requested me, solely because people often tell me they do not feel comfortable discussing their opposition with the very person who made the decision. Even I have telephoned a Council staff member only twice since starting this blog. Why? Because it can feel intimidating. Because it sets up an adversarial event. Because we know that if a decision-maker has said a tree has to go, phoning them to say I don’t want you to remove the tree is not going to have much of an impact.
The most important issue is transparency & accountability. If you phone someone, you have no way of knowing that there will be a record of this, or, that any notes that may be kept will accurately & fully describe your views. If you email Council, you get a return email saying they have received your email & will process it. If an issue requires reports to senior managers or to the Councillors, having a system of written submissions, enables the report to correctly record the number of submissions received, how many agreed or disagreed & what issues they raised.
Accountability is very important. There would be few in the community who would not worry that their phone call has been dismissed, whereas an email has a record somewhere.
A community engagement system that relies on a unilateral decision by the decision maker to record or not record, or, how to interpret what you tell them on the phone is not consistent with the principles of open government, transparency & accountability. It gives a signal to the community that Council wants to be the sole arbiter of its decisions about public trees & the sole arbiter of disclosing whether there has been opposition to its decisions.
The people with whom I discussed this new process were not at all impressed with the latest changes.
14th February 2013 – Good news. Marrickville Council has posted a comment stating that their consultation process has not changed & that an administrative error occurred, which omitted to include the deadline date & email address for written submissions. As per usual, submissions can be sent to Marrickville Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Tree Asset Officer on 8595 2434. See Council’s comment below.
The Nick Scali store in O’Riordan Street Alexandria has extensive & very attractive landscaping in front of their store. This in itself is wonderful & I wish more businesses took care to landscape their street frontage. It was their landscaping that made us stop the car & have a look. It was then that we discovered the stormwater canal beside the store & had a walk along it.
The storm water canal travels underneath O’Riordan Street on both sides. Sydney Water has planted both sides of the stormwater canal with native plants & trees, effectively creating a wildlife corridor. For what they had to work with, it is very good. They also left an area of lawn making it a perfect place for local employees to have somewhere natural & away from the traffic to spend their lunch break. I didn’t see any housing, but I am sure the local children know about this place.
Banksia & Acacia trees lined both sides of the canal, as well as an understory of Grevillias & native grasses & other shrubs that I couldn’t identify. There were also quite a few Lilly Pilly trees bursting with fruit along the pathway. This was not something I expected to find in this industrial/retail area. The pathway is probably a bicycle route & a shortcut for pedestrians though I do not know how far the path travels.
The flora along this stormwater canal is a boon for wildlife in the area, especially as there are lots of native food-producing plants & trees. It showed me that these usually quite ugly areas can be transformed into something beautiful & immensely beneficial for urban wildlife, even where there is not much space. Often the only fresh water the birds have to drink is the water that dribbles down these canals.
I wonder why these areas are not naturalized more often. Probably because it costs money, but many of these areas beside stormwater canals across Sydney could be naturalized for just the cost of clearing & the plants by holding regular community planting events. These places are perfect for improving on biodiversity.
I’ve only seen one other naturalized stormwater canal & that one is opposite Marrickville Metro. The Sydney Water has planted native plants to see if they can control weeds. I’d say it has been a resounding success. Even though you can’t see much from the street, it looks great. There are Gum trees & many plants, mostly native grasses. These plants will not only offer habitat & perhaps food for urban wildlife, the plants also cool the area down & make it much more pleasant for the local neighbourhood.
There are two substantial areas beside stormwater canals in Marrickville South between Renwick & Cary Streets & a very large area in Mackey Park. Both have large areas of lawn & seem like wasted space to me. The one in Mackey Park appears to be owned by Council. It would be great if this space could be naturalized. I have never seen anyone walk there.
Well-done Sydney Water. The O’Riordan Street stormwater canal looks great. I’ll post photos of the canal opposite Marrickville Metro soon.
Last year on Clean Up Australia Day, some of the community came to Tempe Reserve & cleaned up the point, the western area & the car park next to the Jets Sports Club. This year we are going to do it again.
Just one hour is all that is needed to collect a vast amount of garbage that makes the park look ugly & importantly, causes much harm & suffering to wildlife. Like last year, we will not be cleaning the rocks around the riverbank as this could cause injury.
DATE: Sunday 3rd March 2013
TIME: 10am -11am
WHERE: Tempe Recreation Reserve. Meet at the picnic kiosks on the western side of Tempe Reserve. Park at the first car park on your right beside the Jets Sports Club as you drive down Holbeach Avenue from the Princes Highway. Then follow the row of Fig trees beside the water for about 100-metres until you reach the picnic kiosks on your left-hand side. There will be signs to guide you.
Please wear suitable clothing, sunscreen & closed shoes. Gardening gloves would be good if you have them, but plastic disposable gloves will be available as well. Garbage bags will be provided.
There will be cold drinks & some morning tea food for those who want to stay around for a while. Kids are welcome as long as an adult accompanies them.
Please spread the word. I hope to see you there. Jacqueline :-)
If you never use your Yellow Pages or White Pages telephone books, you can choose to opt out from receiving them. You need to do this every 3-years, but Sensis say they send you an email asking whether you want to opt out again when the three years are up.
The time to do it is now. I know two people who have to wait 3-years to opt out because the time period for their area has passed. I was successful in opting out a couple of days ago.
You can cancel them via the net here – https://www.directoryselect.com.au/action/home
If you are a business call – 1800 008 292