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I’m posting about this because it is the worst example of tree vandalism I have personally seen & because of the great actions by Canterbury Council in response.
I was told of the vandalism in Wonga Street Canterbury, so just out of interest we went to have a look. I was unprepared for what I saw. Nine street trees, all mature Brushbox had been poisoned. Large drill holes were evident in all trees. It was like the person/people who did this thought – …..hmmm, looks too obvious – so they poisoned other trees on both sides of Wonga Street perhaps to disperse any finger pointing from both the Council & the community.
Who knows why they poisoned these trees. I don’t like to stress money when talking of trees as they provide many more benefits than money, but when talking about tree vandalism, I think it is worth focusing on property value & profit.
What we do know is that the vandal/s significantly decreased the value of many properties here, though I doubt they realize this. A lot of people don’t understand that the street tree out front has a big impact on their own property.
A friend who is a Real Estate Agent in the Inner West wrote the following to me recently –
When a buyer looks at a house they also look at the street. Time & time again I hear “I don’t like this street, it’s got no trees.” Streetscape makes a huge difference to property values.
Wonga Street is a busy road so the trees collected particulate matter & helped purify the air for the houses along here. The Brushbox trees being mature looked great once. You can tell from looking at the other untouched trees further along the street. In my opinion Brushbox trees have the ability to turn an ordinary street into something that is grand & that translates into money.
What Canterbury Council has done deserves praise. They have attached a sign to all the trees that says in large red letters – “This tree has been vandalized,” or “This tree has been poisoned” & ask people to contact the Council if they have any information.
They did not use nails to attach the signs, instead using a metal tie that makes it very difficult to remove the sign while at the same time protecting the tree. That the trees are dead or dying & they still took care not to use nails impressed me. It sends a clear message to people about respect & care for trees.
Next, they have not removed the dead or dying trees. I was told by a resident that these signs have been in place for around 3-years. Another said 12-months or more, but they were new to the area, so I can’t be sure.
If I were to poison a street tree it would be because I wanted it gone. A few months to one year before it was removed would not concern me. However, if the tree had signage on it & was to remain insitu for an indeterminate number of years, that would act as a massive deterrent.
Canterbury Council also planted some replacement trees. It appears that they will not remove the poisoned Brushbox until the new Brushbox trees have established to a decent size. I love that they planted the same species of tree.
Leaving the ugly vandalized tree insitu & with signage while the new tree grows takes the power back to the Council & removes any reward the vandal may have thought they would be gaining. I think their approach is excellent. But then again, I am hardline when it comes to community owned trees paid for by the tax-payers dollar. I do not believe anyone has the right to vandalise public trees & that includes radical pruning to keep the street tree a bonsai.
I imagine those who live in the leafy end of Wonga Street hate to pass these dead & dying trees, but at the same time appreciate that the Council has taken action to ensure that this doesn’t travel the length of the street. They are the ones who benefited by the shade of the Brushbox over this record-breaking hot summer. They will also benefit by higher property values if they decide to sell. I know. A Real Estate Agent told me so.
“Australians consume drinks in over 12 billion containers a year. Only half of these are recycled, mostly collected via kerbside & much less, away from home (food halls, events, public spaces). The other half are littered or landfilled representing a big waste of resources. A CDS (Container Deposit Scheme) has been proven worldwide to be the best way to increase collection & recycling. South Australia has had a CDS for over 30 years & now the Northern Territory will have one in 2011. It would increase recovery to 80% – over 4 billion extra containers a year.” ~ Boomerang Alliance
We all know that litter in the Cooks River is a massive problem that is impacting on the health of the river & the wildlife that live here.
Local community group the Cooks River Valley Association (CRVA), along with the Total Environment Centre are doing something about this problem. They have organized a great event to highlight the litter along the Cooks River & also to lobby the Environment Ministers to support a nationwide packaging regulation. The regulation will include a Container Deposit Scheme that gives a 10-cent refund on each returned drink bottle & aluminum can. The Environment Ministers will be making a decision about the regulation in June 2012 so now is the time to tell them what we want.
The Ca$h-for-Containers event is supported by both Marrickville Council & the City of Canterbury Council & will be held on –
- Saturday 28th April 2012
- 11am – 2pm
- Steel Park, Illawarra Road Marrickville South
Activities include –
- World’s Biggest Coke Float
- Bev the Bottle
- Put a message in a bottle for the Environment Ministers
- Information & petitions to sign
- Free food & drink – you will need to bring your own reusable cup & plate.
- Prizes for the best model plastic bottle boats. CRVA are asking that you make one at home & bring it along on the day.
- Please start collecting plastic & aluminum beverage bottles & cans & bring them along to the Cooks River Demonstration Recycling Depot at Steel Park to collect your 10-cent cash refunds to experience how the Container Deposit Scheme will work. Let’s create a Cooks Mountain of bottles!
Containers collected at this event & other events, as well as the best of the model plastic bottle boats, will be taken to Canberra for a rally at Parliament House on 23 May 2012. The boats will be sailed on Lake Burley Griffin or on the lawn of Parliament House.
You can find out more about the Container Deposit Scheme at the Boomerang Alliance website here - www.boomerangalliance.org.au You can send an e-letter to Tony Burke, Minister for the Environment here - http://bit.ly/I7Md0P
You can also watch this fabulous video talking about the campaign & showing our Cooks River & the plastic bottle pollution here – http://bit.ly/uUMGx0
If you are interested in helping prepare & promote this event as well as helping on the day please contact Judy - email@example.com 0414 910 816
Every year on 2nd February World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands & hopefully result in more conservation of wetland areas around the world. The first World Wetlands Day was held in 1997. This year’s theme is ‘Wetlands & Tourism.’
From the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities website, “In 2009–10 tourism directly employed over half a million Australians & contributed $34 billion or 2.6 per cent to Australia’s gross domestic product. Many tourism destinations are at wetlands, including iconic sites such as Kakadu National Park. Wetlands also provide local tourism & recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing & bird watching.”
Our closest wetland is Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland managed by Canterbury Council who are having an open day at the wetland on Saturday 17th March 2012 from 10am-1pm.
Canterbury Council run many community environmental activities & don’t mind people from out of their area joining in. If it interests you, a new working group is starting on March 17th & then the third Saturday of each month. Activities will be weeding, planting & maintaining the wetland. Training, tools & equipment is provided. Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland is located at Heynes Reserve, Berna Street Canterbury. For more information contact: Environmental Strategy Team Leader 9789-9422 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I think Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland is a stunning place & visit often taking others for a look. It’s always beautiful & always changing. The Wetland is a huge improvement of what was once a large area of lawn & is a boon for urban wildlife with all sorts of birds, frogs & turtles taking up residence. This whole section of the Cooks River is very beautiful with much variety & bird life so it is a great walk, not too far & mostly flat.
While I was checking details of the open day at Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland I noticed that Canterbury Council had other environmental activities set out in their 6-month calendar for 2012. They will be doing community tree planting in March, April, May & June. Presumably this will continue for the second half of 2012.
- In March 500 native trees, shrubs and grasses will be planted at Karne Street Reserve Riverwood. Native vegetation will be planted at Cup and Saucer Creek Wetland.
- In April 300 native trees, shrubs & grasses will be planted at Heynes Reserve Canterbury.
- In May 200 native trees, shrubs & grasses will be planted at Wiley Park, Wiley Park.
- In June 1,000 native trees, shrubs & grasses will be planted at Salt Pan Creek Reserve Riverwood.
That’s a total of 2,000 native trees, shrubs & grasses. Canterbury Council are happy for anyone to join in on these activities so for more details – http://www.canterbury.nsw.gov.au/www/html/73-whats-on-in-canterbury.asp
While Marrickville Council only do tree planting on National Tree Day, there are other environmental volunteering activities supported by Council. However, there are no tree planting events planned through to April 2012, nor is there 2012 calendar dates set for the other volunteer activities, except for Clean Up Australia Day. I guess you would need to contact Council for information if you were interested in participating in these activities. They are listed here – http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/environment/in_your_community/volunteering.html?s=0
I made a short video of Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYdqqoBpLoA
& later here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJkqDYTZRjg
I saw a little miracle yesterday. It probably happens every year, but this time I was witness to it. After a delightful picnic on the Cooks River we took a friend to see Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland, which by the way, is fully grown & is now a thriving metropolis of birds, turtles, frogs, lizards, dragonflies & other living beings. Walking up the side path that runs alongside the concrete stormwater channel that is Cup & Saucer Creek, our friend called our attention to something happening in the stormwater channel. As we moved to look down into the concrete channel, thousands of small fish flicked in the shallow water & changed direction showing that they were fully aware of our presence.
The concrete stormwater channel looks like all other stormwater channels in the area. It is dry concrete further away from the Cooks River with very shallow water increasing to something that would be perhaps less than 1-metre (39 inches) deep by the time it enters the river. It’s tidal so the depth changes & also when it rains.
In the extremely shallow end, which would be between 8-20 cm deep (3 – 8 inches), were many schools of very small fish turning & swimming as one unit, some turning on their side looking like flashes of sliver light in the murky water. Each school had hundreds of fish.
The fish quickly assessed us as limited threat (or their primal drive was too strong to stop) & continued on with their water dance. It was quite amazing to watch & even more so because this was happening in a concrete environment, not somewhere that one thinks of for a David-Attenborough-type experience.
I have no idea how long it lasts, but if our goldfish are any indication, this probably happens every day for a couple of weeks until the females release all of their eggs. Amazing too that the Herons were absent because food was in abundance.
Canterbury Council who now manage the very beautiful & entirely successful Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland have put up an educational sign that has a photo of what the creek looked like in 1901. The difference could not be more marked. From what was once quite a large creek with small waterfall, ‘modern progress’ has changed it into a concrete stormwater channel. That the spawning of fish still occurs here despite the environmental changes is astounding to me. It also gives me hope of the resilience of nature to adapt to quite radical changes. Many species don’t & so we lose them from areas or they become extinct. Here at Cup & Saucer Creek, we have spawning of fish that was probably observed by other people in 1901 & for thousands of years before.
I made a 3 minute-21 second video of this little urban miracle here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vz95HSoNBSU
The Canterbury Aboriginal Advisory Group, the Cooks River Valley Association & Canterbury Council have organized the Two Valley Trail Reconciliation Walk on Sunday 18th September 2011.
The walk will recognize & celebrate the role that Aboriginal people, past & present, have played in caring for the country of the Cooks River Valley & the Wolli Valley.
The walk is broken into 2 sections of Wolli Creek & 4 sections along the Cooks River allowing people to join any of the sections & leave when they like or participate in the whole walk. This is a great idea as it makes it much easier for people with health or time restrictions to be able to participate.
THE WOLLI VALLEY WALK -
- 1st section meets at 10am at Girrahween Park. To get to the meeting place you need to either enter the car park above the park from St James Avenue or Joy Avenue Earlwood & walk down the steps or walk in from Fauna Street Earlwood.
- 2nd section meets at 11am at Turrella Reserve. The closest street is Finlays Avenue Earlwood.
THE COOKS RIVER WALK –
- 1st section meets at 10.15am at Lees Park. The nearest street is Brighton Avenue Croydon Park.
- 2nd section meets at 10.30am at Mary MacKillop Park. The nearest cross streets are Fore Street & Canterbury Road Canterbury.
- 3rd section meets at 10.45am at Ewen Park. The nearest cross streets are Smith Avenue & Tennent Parade Hurlstone Park.
- 4th section meets at 11.15am at Steele Park. The nearest cross streets are Illawarra Road & Wharf Road Marrickville.
BARBEQUE LUNCH AT GOUGH WHITLAM RESERVE –
- At approximately 11.30am participants from both walks will meet at Gough Whitlam Reserve Bayview Avenue Earlwood for a free barbeque. There will be Indigenous & environmental themed activities for children & families.
- At 12.30pm there will be an Acknowledgement of Country as part of a short official program.
The barbeque & Acknowledgement of Country program is open to everyone, & you do not need to participate on the walks to attend. However, bookings are essential for catering purposes.
Numbers are limited on both walks & bookings are essential. Registration forms are available online on the Cooks River Valley Association website – www.crva.org.au Inquiries phone 0414 910 816 or email email@example.com
Started by the UN in 1972 World Environment Day on the 5th June is a global day for positive environmental action. It’s a day where people are encouraged to increase their knowledge of their local environment & participate in actions that create sustainable & positive change.
It should be a bigger deal than it is in Sydney. I was very disappointed to see how few events were happening. World Environment Day is a day where Local Councils can take the opportunity to spread the message of how important our environment is & do something that involves the community to make our own local environment better in some way.
The schools are probably doing something because many usually take the advantage to use the official days to educate the children about the issue, be it bullying, hunger, poverty or animals. I think this is a good thing & wish it was happening when I was going to school.
As far as I am aware, the only environmentally orientated day Marrickville Council participates in is National Tree Day. I wonder how hard or expensive it would be to be more involved in these major environment days? Say $2,000-$3,000 an event. Plant trees, have a speech, a barbeque, hand out some leaflets.
I assume Council thinks if people are interested, they will join the local environmental volunteers who do regular planting, weeding & cleanups. If you are interested you can be actively volunteering at least twice a month. Canterbury Council doesn’t even require you to be a resident to join in on their environmental activities. However, this is not what I am talking about.
The people who volunteer already understand the importance of trees, plants & creating & maintaining habitat. It’s those in our community who don’t know, or who have only a passing interest who Council needs to encourage. I may be wrong, but I think part of Council’s role is to involve & educate the community. Events like World Environment Day can create a sense of pride & ownership in the community. This translates into (possibly) more volunteering, but more likely less littering & dumping as well as more understanding & care of the environment. Perhaps more private trees will be planted, perhaps a greater appreciation & tolerance of wildlife will be developed. Who knows, but in my opinion, if Council wants the community to stop vandalizing public trees & plant trees on their property for example, then they need to do more community engaging activities concerning the environment. Memorial Day was last week & it passed by without a whimper in this locality. It could have been an event where 1 landmark tree was planted.
There are 3 things happening for World Environment Day that I know of.
1. Sydney City Council is holding a free event at Green Square Library & Customer Service Centre at the Tote. The Aussie Swap, free bike checks, expert green living advice, free plants, a wildlife show & a gold coin donation barbeque. There will be live music & Katrina Griffiths, author of ‘The Wombat Stole My Shoe’ will give a talk. See – http://whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/events/10352-world-environment-day-the-tote
2. The Nature Conservation Council of NSW & GetUp are holding a climate rally – ‘Say Yes to a Price on Pollution’ at Prince Alfred Park, Sydney CBD from 11am on Sunday 5th June 2011. There will be speeches, face-painting, live music & ice-cream for the kids. It’s meant to be a peaceful kid-friendly family day out.
3. Waverley Council is holding ‘Bondi the Beautiful’ fair. There will be free live music, kids entertainment, a kindy farm, face painting, market & food stalls. See – www.waverley.nsw.gov.au
Last January 2011, while on a visit to the lovely Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland, we came across a new park bench. It is a normal looking park bench, except that it has a brass plaque attached with the name of a deceased woman. I was struck by how lovely this was; quiet seat where one could sit & contemplate while looking over Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland. I have been meaning to find a space in which to write about this since then.
Not only is this memorial park bench good for the person or family who organized with Canterbury Council for it to be installed here, but it also is good for other people. A memorial park bench gets transformed into a seat of love. To me this is far nicer than going to a cemetery.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day & we found ourselves again at the Cooks River at Canterbury & passed Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland. This seat was a good respite after a long walk. When we arrived we saw that a sprig of hot pink Bougainvillea flowers had been attached to the bench directly next to the woman’s name. It was a Mother’s Day gift left earlier in the day.
Canterbury Council offer memorial park benches, but don’t have information on their website as yet. Mosman Council offers this as do many other Councils. Newcastle Council’s website says, “The City of Newcastle provides the opportunity for family and/ or friends to remember their loved ones by way of a memorial bench or tree planting in Council parks & open spaces.”
Perhaps Marrickville Council can think about offering this service to the community. According to the Council websites I have seen, the park bench is paid for by the person/family who wants it & they also provide the brass plaque that is attached to the bench. They also get to choose the location of the bench & Council has the final say. Council installs the park bench & affixes the plaque. The people are happy because they get to create a meaningful memorial for their loved one & the community gets a new park bench at a nice location where there are likely to be few or no park benches. How can Marrickville Council lose with this?
Gough Whitlam Park is along the banks of the Cooks River on the Arncliffe side. Canterbury Council has put out a call to the community asking for volunteers who want to work regenerating the saltmarsh.
From the email I received: “The Saltmarsh is a sensitive environment that provides rare habitat for crabs, molluscs, fish & migratory seabirds, & increases the biodiversity of the Cooks River. It has started to suffer & become over-run by weeds, such as couch, other weedy grasses & casuarina trees, which outcompete with the saltmarsh plants.
We need people to help weed (both heavy & light, removal of trees are required), & replant under casuarinas to help prevent weeds from becoming established. There are some working bee dates set in April to do the majority of this work. There will also be a need for monthly regeneration & monitoring after these working bees.”
If you are interested in becoming a member of the new Gough Whitlam Saltmarsh Working Group there is an information session at –
- 5pm – this Thursday March 17th 2011
- Earlwood Senior Citizens Centre, corner Homer Street & Joy Avenue Earlwood
Gough Whitlam Park is in Canterbury LGA & the Saltmarsh Working Group is an initiative of Canterbury Council. The invitation to participate in the care of the saltmarsh is open to anyone regardless of where they live. Any work done along the Cooks River benefits the whole river.
I don’t know the correct name for these viewing platforms. Canterbury Council has quite a number of these along their section of the Cooks River open for the public to use. Theirs are a 5 x 5 metre wooden structure that projects over the river.
The first one I saw had a small brass plaque that said ‘Leo’s Landing’ & I thought Leo had paid to have one built for his own use, but had generously left it open for the public to use. There is a similar one for private use that protrudes over the Dibble Street Waterhole. Then I walked along the other bank further down the Cooks River & came across a couple more.
Sydney Park has at least 2 of these structures & I think they are building more with their new wetland construction. Theirs are more expensive & durable being made of galvanized steel instead of wood & concrete. Still, the wooden ones would last many years, especially as their base is made of concrete.
I like them & think they add to the amenity of the river as they allow a different viewpoint. Marrickville Council has no money for things like this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. One day they may be in a position to build 2-3 of these along our section of the Cooks River.
In August 2010 Energy Australia held a couple of community consultations where they explained the new works they intend to do through Marrickville laying high-voltage cables. See - http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/energy-australia-community-information-display/
They intend to drill under the Cooks River at the bottom of The Warren across to Arncliffe. This has got the community talking. Why not put a bridge across the Cooks River for the cables & make it a pedestrian bridge with the cables encased in the undercarriage of the bridge?
Personally, I think a pedestrian bridge across the river in this location is needed. I have my doubts that Energy Australia will agree to high-voltage cables above the ground because of associated risks by vandalism. However, I do believe that they would have the ability to encase this sort of high-voltage cable if they wanted to & build the bridge in a way that would protect the cables from any vandalism. The issue would be cost as I think they prefer to dig, bury & walk away. A system of above ground cables would need to be checked on at intervals. But it could be done if they wanted to. Point is, would they want to?
Even if Energy Australia was adverse to building a bridge or dividing the costs between Marrickville & Canterbury Councils, a pedestrian bridge should be seriously considered for this location.
There are 4 pedestrian bridges across the Cooks River in the Canterbury Council area & they all are heavily used by cyclists, walkers & joggers. We have spent quite a bit of time along the Cooks River in recent weeks & I have been astounded at the people traffic across these bridges. Everyone I have spoken to about them say they love the bridges & love the ability to do a circuit walk, run or ride. They also love that they have access to both sides of the river.
In South Marrickville there is the Bayview Avenue bridge & the bridge across Illawarra Road. Only the Illawarra Road bridge has a pedestrian lane. A pedestrian bridge in South Marrickville below Richardsons Park would allow people to do a circuit & allow them to get to Gough Whitlam Park without using their car.
It may be seen as a luxury, but it is only copying what has happened elsewhere along the Cooks River. The bridge would encourage more walking & riding & bring a varied experience of the 2 banks. A pedestrian bridge would make this area of the Cooks River better & would improve amenity dramatically.
People have written & spoken to me about this. There is public interest. If built, the bridge will be used. It won’t be a white elephant. I would encourage both Marrickville & Canterbury Councils to talk with Energy Australia to see if a bridge can be built in conjunction with the cable installation. If not, the two Councils can go it alone. It would be money well spent.
If you agree, now is the time to write to our Councillors to get the discussion going. Their contact details can be found on – http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/marrickville-councillor-contact-details/