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1. Last night the Newcastle Councillors voted 7-5 to chop down the Laman Street Fig trees. From the Herald, “Newcastle councillors were still debating the future of Laman Street last night when council staff moved in & began preparations to cut down the street’s iconic fig trees. Councillors eventually voted seven to five in favour of removing & replacing the trees ‘‘as soon as practical.” By the time the decision was made, council staff had moved safety barriers & were planning to start the chainsaws as early as this morning. The council’s liveable city director Frank Cordingley admitted during a heated debate that preparations were under way to remove the trees, despite the council not having voted at the time.” Save Our Figs has written about the Council Meeting & decision. The video covers the history of the fight to save these trees. It’s well worth watching. – http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/more-breaking-news-20-7-2011/#more-3718
2. Liverpool Council has negotiated with power company Endeavour Energy to remove & replace street trees in 4 locations after being accused by the community of “butchering scores of trees on Liverpool’s streets.” Liverpool Council’s General Manager said, “Changes to operations were needed to avoid hatchet jobs in the future.” http://liverpool-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/energy-company-bows-to-pressure-on-butchered-trees/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
3. Northern Territory residents are concerned that trees on the Significant Tree Register are not protected form Council workers who come to prune the trees. One worker was unaware that the tree was registered as significant. http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2011/06/11/239661_ntnews.html
4. The community failed to save 3 Fig trees in Main Avenue, Windsor, a suburb of Brisbane despite doing a tree sit. Brisbane City Council recently lifted a 15-year-old protection order so the trees could be chopped down to allow development. “The 60-year-old figs, which stand on the prestigious Eldon Hill in Windsor, are visible from as far away as Mt Gravatt & Mt Coot-tha.” The owner of the land is required to plant 3 native trees as replacements. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/protesters-climb-doomed-fig-trees-20110620-1gakh.html 2 possums were found in the trees. The community clashed with security unhappy with the attempts to catch the possums. The possums were not caught. http://www.couriermail.com.au/life/homesproperty/street-protest-to-try-and-save-fig-trees-at-eildon-hillwindsor-after-council-axes-protection-order/story-e6frequ6-1226078211300 One of the residents said, ‘‘We can’t trust our elected representatives when they tell us something is protected … until there is some sort of economic benefit that someone is going to get out of it.’’ There is a short video of the trees & the protest here -
5. The founder of travel clothing group Kathmandu Jan Cameron & travel entrepreneur Graeme Wood bought Gunns timber mill for $10 million paying $6 million less than a rival bidder. Gunns will operate for a while before being made into an eco tourism destination. http://www.theage.com.au/national/greenies-buy-woodchip-mill-20110713-1he6h.html
6. City of Sydney Council is planning to increase the street tree canopy of the CBD by 50% by planting 2,000 trees over the next 20 years. They say this will reduce the urban heat island effect by up to 2 degrees. 69 species of tree will be used. Allergy sufferers in the community are concerned that some of these will be Plane trees. “Cowper Wharf Road at Woolloomooloo would get a row of Sydney red gums, City Road at Broadway a line of brush box trees, Bridge Street a collection of Celtis, & Elizabeth Street a group of plane trees.” While I think the extra trees is wonderful, I’d be interested to know why it will take 20 years to complete. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/a-city-brought-to-its-sneeze-20110709-1h7to.html
7. Congratulations to the residents of Wilga Avenue Dulwich Hill who recently won Origin Energy’s Australia-wide Sustainability Drive Competition. They were only one of 4 streets across Australia that were chosen to get $250,000 of solar panels, hot water systems & other energy saving equipment. As I understand, their energy saving progress will be monitored & over the next year so we are bound to hear more about Wilga Avenue. It’s great to see a street in Marrickville LGA represented with sustainable living, including veggie gardens on the verge.
8. Willoughby City Council was the winner of the ‘Excellence in Overall Environmental Management’ award (Local Government Awards category) at the recent World Environment Day Awards held by the United Nations Association of Australia. Willoughby Council has met their greenhouse gas reduction target of 50% from 1999 levels. They are using a cogeneration plant at the Willoughby Leisure Centre, estimated to cut power usage form the grid by 50%. They are also using solar power at council buildings & aim to be the first ‘halogen free’ council. http://www.sustainablecouncils.com.au/news/willoughby_city_council_wins_un_sustainability_award/061353/