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There is considerable disquiet in the Dulwich Hill community regarding the installation of synthetic turf at Arlington Recreation Reserve. Marrickville Councillors debated the issue on 20th November 2012. See – http://bit.ly/TnDEX5 The issue returned to the Council Meeting on 6th December 2012 with a unanimous vote for a report presenting all the facts to be prepared & return to Council in February 2013.
to go ahead with installing synthetic turf. There was large representation at these Council Meetings – from the clubs who wanted synthetic turf & from the community who didn’t. See – http://bit.ly/TICPY1 On 19th February 2013, the issue was again debated in the Council Meeting. The vote was 6 for – 6 against, with Mayor Macri, who raised the motion, using his casting vote to carry the motion.
The ‘Save Arlington Reserve Group,’ formed by residents in 2009 is continuing their campaign to stop synthetic turf from being installed, this time at the budgetary decision level.
Marrickville Council plans to spend $1,055 million on Arlington Recreation Reserve, which alarmingly totals 31% of the total yearly budget for parks for the entire Marrickville municipality. That is – almost one third of spending money will be used on Arlington Recreational Reserve. $1,435,172 has already been spent on Arlington Recreation Reserve from 2009 – 2013.
Save Arlington Reserve Group has other concerns about the use of synthetic turf at this location. You can read more here – http://on.fb.me/18N0NbP. If you can help with the campaign contact – email@example.com. This post on the Save Arlington Reserve website goes into detail regarding their concerns & objections about the cost of installing synthetic turf – http://bit.ly/14rBp8b. This page also has a link to where you can send a submission to Marrickville Council. The deadline for submissions is Monday 27th May 2013.
There are strong concerns for the Brush Box, Gum trees & the row of Jacaranda trees growing close to the paying field. All add significantly to the beauty of this Reserve. It is known that leaves that fall on synthetic turf cause the surface to rot & the playing field will need to be vacuumed regularly to prevent this from happening. All these trees drop copious amounts of leaves & the Jacarandas are deciduous. They also drop thousands of purple flowers. It is felt that the cost of removing leaves & flowers will be seen as prohibitive & will result in tree removal later on.
I would imagine that a barrier would need to be constructed to stop the mulch around the Jacarandas & some of the Gums from coming onto the playing field. That or concrete the mulched area.
Williams Parade, which runs alongside the Reserve, is lined with tall London Plane trees & it looks fabulous. However, these trees are also deciduous & the wind brings many of these leaves into Arlington Recreation Reserve. It makes sense that some of these will blow onto the synthetic playing field adding to the natural material that will need to be removed.
Council has also said that if tree roots encroach on the synthetic turf playing field, the trees will need to be removed.
Synthetic turf is made from petroleum products & frequently contains heavy metals such as lead, aluminum, zinc, chromium, copper & sulphur. Heavy metals will never break down & they will enter the soil & the local environment.
Biodiversity does not just concern that which lives or grows above the ground. Playing fields are great places for birds to source food, both above & below the ground. Last week I watched numerous native birds hunting for food on the playing field, including four Kookaburras & I don’t see these birds often. If the playing field is covered with synthetic turf, it is highly likely that the territorial birds will not survive.
Marrickville Council has acknowledged that the Urban Habitat Mosaic needs to be increased. It does not make sense to cover one of our few areas of biodiversity with plastic grass.
Detergents & chemicals will be used on a regular basis to clean the synthetic turf. All this liquid will have to go somewhere. If it goes into the ground around the playing field it will likely affect the trees & also make its way down to the Cooks River. It was Marrickville Council who taught me that suburbs that appear a long way from the Cooks River actually do bring stormwater & whatever comes with it to the river. The artificial turf will also need to be sprayed with weed killer.
Despite some Marrickville Councillors giving assurances that the Reserve will be kept open for the community to use, it is usually locked, except when there is a game on. Therefore the community will be paying almost one third of the budget for parks for a green space that they cannot access unless there is a game on. The community wants to be able to use this green space when it is quiet as well. It is closed off from the road, something that is rare in Marrickville LGA. Should the community be losing green space when Marrickville LGA already has the least green space in Australia?
Something that concerned me is the use of geo-textile material on the large area of garden beds. I presume the geo-textile has been used to prevent soil erosion & prevent weed growth. I imagine it will do this successfully.
My concerns are that the geo-textile acts as a barrier for birds, insects, lizards, Bandicoots & other ground-feeding creatures to access food from the garden area. The geo-textile also has a string webbing through it & I am concerned that as it breaks down the string will get caught around the toes & feet of birds causing potentially serious injuries & for many, a slow death. Perhaps this won’t happen because the wildlife will quickly learn that accessing food sources from the soil is impossible here. Either way, another green area has been lost as a foraging area for wildlife.
Council has planted new trees to replace the ones they removed. These were drooping last week. They have also planted Ivy & Hibbertia scandens, a native vine with yellow flowers that is used in the municipality as ground cover. My friend who came with me asked why Council did not try to hide the ugly perimeter wall by planting Grevillias & other attractive shrubs that would provide cover & be a food source for birds. I could only agree.
Last week I had a wonderful experience. I was invited for afternoon tea & to see a Jacaranda tree living in a Dulwich Hill back garden. I expected to see a beautiful tree & I did, except it was ten times more beautiful that I imagined it would be. I literally held my breath for a moment when I first set eyes on it.
It stood, two separate trunks of the one tree towards the back left of the around 200-square-metre back garden. Thick undulating boughs spread to cover almost all of the garden area – a rolling mountainous wave of lacy vibrant green.
In springtime it is covered in blue-purple coloured flowers & when they drop they form a carpet on the lawn. I can’t wait to see that & the good thing is, they will let me visit again so I can post an update photo or two.
The tree is 130-years-old, so it would have been planted around 1882-1883. That is quite something if you think about it, especially as European settlement only happened in 1788.
The tree lives in what was once the Gelding Estate. The Dictionary of Sydney says – “Until the early years of the twentieth century, Dulwich Hill was mainly an area of orchards, market gardens & nurseries. Gelding’s Victoria Nursery on Old Canterbury Road was one of the largest until it was subdivided in the 1890s for housing.” See - http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/dulwich_hill
Nothing is known about the tree, except for its age, though it doesn’t take too much to assume that this tree was originally part of Gelding’s Victoria Nursery & retained when housing was built.
The tree has had only two owners before the current ones since the area became housing & the last owner lived here for 90-years. Longevity of ownership certainly helps keep trees.
I have never seen such a beautiful tree outside of a Botanical Garden or somewhere like Centennial Park. It was certainly not the kind of tree I expected to see in an Inner West property. Incredibly, the Jacaranda is not visible from the street & it would be quite a pleasant shock if you walked out their back door not expecting to see such an amazing tree.
The owners are enormously fortunate & they know it, which is wonderful & heart-warming to a tree-lover like myself. I heard not a single complaint about their tree. The owners love their tree & want to do everything possible to keep it well & healthy. Already they have employed an Arborist to assess the tree’s health & current needs & intend to do such health checkups in the future.
Fortunately their neighbours also love & appreciate the tree. It could have been very different as a couple of branches cascade over their fence shading part of their back garden. Many would not tolerate this & would have quietly dealt with the situation by poisoning the tree or forcing them to the Land & Environment Court seeking its removal. What a tragedy that would be.
Apart from the tree’s astounding beauty & age, there were a couple of things that struck me about living with a tree whose canopy covers more than three-quarters of the garden.
1. You can grow vegetables. They have a vegetable garden situated near the tree at the back of the property. Initially there was some concern that they would not be able to grow herbs & vegetables because of the shade, but this has proven not to be a problem. Their vegetables & herbs looked great, but I was told this is the beginning of a new crop & the plot can look far more lush & leafy. I have used a photo taken at the end of last seasons growing.
In fact, their vegetable garden is growing better than my neighbour’s garden, which receives full sun. My neighbour was growing 95% of her vegetables & herbs for the past 45-years, but over the last three years is having trouble. She says the heat & weather changes are burning her plants, especially the young seedlings & limiting what she can grow. The plants also require more water & daily to remain alive. So perhaps climate change is having an impact on the way we grow vegetables & dappled shade is no longer an obstacle.
2. Like the vegetable garden, the lawn is not suffering at all either & we know lawns can be highly temperamental.
Seeing this tree had me wondering – how many other old & significant trees do we have growing in private gardens across the eleven suburbs that make up Marrickville municipality? I have no idea, but I would love to find out.
If you have a significant tree, can you send me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org - & let me know. I’d love to see it.
I was sent photos of a tree that had been vandalised in Victoria & later, a sign attached to the tree by Latrobe City Council. The sign reads –
“This tree has been severely vandalized. Trees are significant & valuable assets & belong to the whole community. Every incident of tree vandalism is a direct cost to ratepayers.” It then invites people who may have information to contact the Council.
I love this sign, especially the acknowledgement that public trees belong to the whole community, not just to the person whose house the tree is outside of or the street it is growing in. I think an enormous percentage of the community incorrectly think that the street tree outside is theirs to do what they like with.
I visited the website of Latrobe City Council & found that they also write up incidents of tree vandalism. Here is one from October 2012. The use of ‘bold’ is my emphasis.
“Trees replaced in Church Street, Morwell.
Latrobe City Council’s manager infrastructure operations, Jody O’Kane, said that the trees were damaged late last week.
“The young trees were broken off in a deliberate attack. Officers from the depot replaced the vandalised trees with new trees & the streetscape looks as it should again.
“We appreciate residents reporting incidents of vandalism of Council assets.
Pride in the community is important & the vast majority of citizens respect their environment & feel aggrieved when damage is deliberately inflicted.
We do respond to reports of vandalism in as short a time frame as possible & will continue to maintain the street trees in our community,” Mr O’Kane concluded.”
Latrobe City Council’s approach is one that educates the community that tree vandalism is not acceptable & also is about changing the culture to one that respects trees. If any Council ignores the vandalism incident & rewards by removing the tree, then others in the community know that this is how they can have a street tree removed too.
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.
Now it has been transformed into this!
A couple of days ago I cycled over to Arthur Street Marrickville to see whether the large traffic island on the corner of Ann Street was indeed being transformed into a garden. What I saw was very pleasing.
Marrickville Council has done some great work here & I am sure that the local residents are happy about this. From being a very large traffic island covered with bitumen with a stunning Gum tree somehow managing to survive, it has been transformed into a garden that will soon support wildlife.
Twelve Lilly Pillies have been planted around two sides. I assume these will create a small hedge. Ground covering Grevillias have been planted in the remaining space. On the other side of the tree that has been released from bondage, are five Bird’s Nest ferns. I have never seen Council plant Bird’s Nest ferns on traffic islands before. They look good now & will be stunning when grown. Fingers crossed that they are not pilfered in the night.
Council have also painted the surrounds & added a chain link fence to protect pedestrians from falling into the gutter.
This corner of Arthur & Ann Streets has a number of lovely qualities. The house next to the traffic island has a water feature in the front garden & the sound of falling water is audible from the street. Across the road are large trees where Ravens, Currawongs & Magpies can always be found. There is also minimal traffic.
As I stood there looking at the new plants & the other work done by Council I became aware of the dappled shade from the Gum tree, the sound of birdcall & of falling water & thought – this is how streets can offer spaces of green & respite.
It may be that you only stop here for a couple of minutes to take a breather on your way home from work or the shops, but you will certainly benefit if you do so.
As we have so few parks in Marrickville LGA, our streets are defacto green spaces. Many people walk for recreation & the greener our streets become with verge gardens & better street trees, the more the community will benefit.
I often take a slow walk along David Street Marrickville because doing so makes me feel good. The houses are nice, many of the front gardens are green & interesting, the street trees are spectacular & the cool dappled shade wonderful to be in. Plus, I don’t have to battle litter, barbeque smoke & blaring car radios like I do in some of our parks.
I can get the emotional benefit of being in a park if I walk or cycle down the right streets & I know I am not alone from the people I have spoken with who also choose to walk these streets for the same reasons as I do.
What Marrickville Council has done here in Arthur Street is create a space that can nurture people’s need for peaceful green space. It also increases biodiversity so is good for urban wildlife. If every area of concrete or bitumen could be greened our municipality would become cooler & nicer.
Research scientists say the payoff is a happier & healthier community so I think more work like this is a priority. Thank you Marrickville Council. This is great work.
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
This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine. Note: MC = Marrickville Council.
The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR: Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS: Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South. LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT: Macri/Central, Hanna/South.
Notice of Motion by Clr Leary – Community request for park – High Street & Ruby Street, Marrickville – One resident spoke: The proposal is to remove the road reservation restriction. Because of the restriction MC hasn’t put much into this space & it’s become weed infested. Because of MC’s support, residents are weeding this area & we have started to get to know each other. I think it’s important to be taken to the community. Names I am suggesting are: Four Sisters Park – after Ruby, Harriet, Charlotte & Myrtle or Quarry Park. Making it a park will improve the amenity of the area.
Clr Leary: One of the staff’s suggestions is the need for a report. I don’t think we need a report, just to give staff direction. No way a road will be built here. It’s a steep cliff with stairs. I think we could get on with it. Motion – for designation of community land with a Plan of Management. Clr Woods: I endorse Clr Leary’s comments. There will be no road down there. It will become a fantastic little park because it has been neglected.
Clr Hanna: I’m voting for it, but we are taking the consultation out of it. We are not asking those next to it. To do something without telling the residents is not something we have done before. Staff: We would normally do community consultation, but it’s up to the Councillors whether they go ahead. Clr Leary: I am always happy with community consultation. My drafting didn’t reflect that. Vote: unanimous.
Removal of street tree outside 3/195 Wardell Road
Petersham (I think the tree is in Dulwich Hill. No suburb name was given in the papers)– From Council’s report: “The Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad Leaved Paperbark) tree is considered to be in good condition & health with no visible structural issues. It is located under powerlines & has been continuously lopped by Ausgrid. This has affected the trees shape & habit, but it still provides good canopy & contributes to the overall landscape amenity of the area. Damage to the front brick wall of 195 Wardell Road is evident, as is some lifting of the footpath, but the footpath damage is not considered excessive & could be reasonably repaired and/or made safe. It is considered that the single skin low brick wall (which appears to have been constructed on a substandard single brick footing) is not a “significant” structure & that it can be repaired by reasonable & practical means enabling a healthy & viable street tree to be retained.”
One resident spoke: 3 residents want his tree removed. For the last 10-years we have wanted to repair the heritage fence, but two builders say it can’t be done. Two criteria are met – high damage to a significant structure of private property & front wall is damaged by roots & preventing owners from doing important underpinning work. The staff say the damage is not excessive. The footpath is damaged & hundreds of people walk here. It’s inevitable that this tree will be removed because it has grown above the powerline. The residents are prepared to pay $2,800 to remove the trees & replant another tree.
Clr Tsardoulias: This tree is inappropriate & causing significant damage to the building & footpath. It’s evident that the footpath has lifted & cracked. We could be liable for damage to this property. This is about getting the basic infrastructure right & moving on.
Clr Ellsmore: I understood last year we talked passionately about retaining trees when they damage the footpath. Staff: It’s impossible to gauge future damage. We can repair the footpath, but it will be ongoing. Has staff investigated the footpath? Staff: No. Cutting the root will destabilize the tree.
Clr Brooks: When we had a council workshop we were told that damage is caused by younger trees & that older trees have stopped growing. Staff: In similar circumstances we provide reconstruction of the footpath. Clr Gardener: The speaker says damage is caused inside the building. Do you have evidence? Staff: No. It would change my view.
Clr Phillips: I foreshadow that we get that information from staff. This is a healthy, significant tree doing minor damage. The crack in the fence could be fixed. This is a significant tree & a valuable asset for the community. I don’t believe MC should remove it unless sure that it is causing more damage. We should take the staff’s advice & the report.
Mayor Macri: This is a significant issue. Ausgrid has been hacking it. Once the crown reaches the powerline, the less tree you have. It has a large canopy. The roots reach out to the dripline. It’s a renewal issue. We should replace with a number of trees. Managing risk is when people start coming with claims.
Clr Hanna: I support taking the tree out. I always put myself in the same position. I’ve been saying 10-years ago that MC has been planting the wrong trees.
Clr Ellsmore: I would change my opinion if I could see a report on the damage [to the building]. Other Councils find innovative ways to retain their trees. One month will not make a difference. The tree is healthy.
Vote: to remove the tree – Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Haylen, Woods, Hanna & Tyler. Against – Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks, Ellsmore & Gardiner. The tree will be removed.