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Early November 2012 I posted about a small verge garden in Waverley that had been given an eviction order by Waverley Council. See - http://bit.ly/QlTNfX
Five years ago Nicolette Boaz planted a verge garden on her adjoining neighbour’s side nature strip on Simpson Street Waverley. According to the interview in the Wentworth Courier, she said the verge, “wasn’t being used & resembled a sandy wasteland.”
Unfortunately I forgot to post a link to the newspaper article that had a photo of the verge garden until later after this was brought to my attention. So here it is - http://bit.ly/SUeCh0 It is worth having a look as a picture tells more than words can.
Today Nicolette Boaz the creator of the verge garden left a comment on SoT. She wrote, “The Council has since hurriedly backed down- muttering’ er- review of verge gardens – um — is in order. They were stunned by the outcry which appears to have gone international. Not bad for a tiny little footpath garden. Well done for noticing everyone!”
I love a good news story. Well done Waverley Council for recognizing that our city needs as many well kept verge gardens as we can have to lower the urban heat island effect & add beauty to our streetscapes. That Ms Boaz grows food that she generously shares with the community is an added benefit. Congratulations to Ms Boaz for choosing to fight the eviction.
FIVE YEARS AGO Nicolette Boaz planted a verge garden on her adjoining neighbour’s side nature strip on Simpson Street Waverley. According to the interview in the Wentworth Courier, she said the verge, “wasn’t being used & resembled a “sandy wasteland.”
So she planted veggies & herbs & allowed anyone to take what they wanted. As what tends to happen with verge gardens, people came & told her how great the garden looked – because verge gardens improve the streetscape.
Two weeks ago Ms Boaz received an order from Waverley Council to remove the verge garden because she did not get approval.
“The neighbour must give consent. In this case, the neighbour has complained & brought the matter to council’s attention requesting removal of the garden.”
This is a wide verge with a small garden planted. The garden has been here for 5-years. It brings beauty to the street. It doesn’t appear to obstruct anyone’s use of the land, including the person who complained.
Obviously, if people started planting trees in front of other people’s homes without permission it may be a problem. Same if they decided to hold a garage sale on someone else’s verge it may be a problem. But a small veggie patch & to insist that it be removed? I find this very sad.
Ms Boaz was doing something that was beneficial to the community on public land & the community was responding positively. What hope do we have for the future with this idea that the area outside one’s land is also theirs to do with what they wish, even if it is to leave it as a sandy wasteland?
“Ms Boaz said it was important to keep community gardens. “(It’s) not just for me … It represents a way that I think we’ll all have to head towards, otherwise we’ll be in crisis.”
To read the article & see a photo of the verge garden - http://bit.ly/SUeCh0
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
There is an article in last week’s Inner West Courier about Ian Moss, Cold Chisel guitarist & Annandale resident, “saddened by the loss of an 80-year-old tree he dubbed the “queen of the block” in Pritchard Lane after it was poisoned & had to be cut down last week.” The 28-metre (91.8 feet) Eucalypt was growing in the back garden of a nearby property so someone had to sneak in to someone else’s private property to poison the tree. I find this appalling & slightly scary. Imagine not knowing who of your neighbours poisoned your tree. I imagine it would erode any trust or friendship.
According to the article in the Inner West Courier, vandalism to trees has been growing in the Inner West. The article was also posted on FaceBook, which is where I saw it. After leaving a comment I received the following reply.
“According to Marrickville Council there have been 9 requests to Council to investigate reports of tree poisoning in the last 12 months. There have been 19 requests to Council to investigate reports of tree poisoning in the 12 months prior. Marrickville Council also said it does not consider tree poisoning to be a major issue in the area. I thank the Inner West Courier for sharing this information.
I was shocked when I read this. How can Marrickville Council not consider the poisoning of 28 trees across Marrickville LGA to be a major issue? Is it because they think the numbers are low or because they have greater issues regarding trees to deal with?
How many other trees were poisoned, but not reported? Quite a few people will not be prepared to report on their neighbour. I am presuming that the 28 trees poisoned were large trees. Large trees can be worth thousands of dollars to Councils in green infrastructure. Many Councils consider trees to be major assets & even give them a dollar value.
When people refer to the ‘Leafy Suburbs,’ they are connecting an environment that has a significant green canopy to big money & financial affluence. People with money like to live in areas that are beautiful & trees provide this. Areas with few trees are regarded as poorer, less desirable places to live. Any real estate agent will say the same thing.
Taking this into consideration & the fact that it takes decades for a tree to grow to a significant size & provide the most use to the community & the environment in terms of stormwater uptake, erosion management, carbon sequestration, pollution capture, oxygen production & other things, how can the loss of any tree by vandalism not be regarded as a major issue? Any tree lost is a loss to the community. Some mature trees do have to go because of disease & decline, but a healthy tree to be secretly poisoned is unnecessary loss caused solely by the selfishness of one to another.
Ian Moss is grieving for a tree that was not on his property. He could only see the tree. This shows that people connect to trees in the street, in the gardens of others & on the horizon. If you are like me you will have favourite trees that you always look at when you drive past even thought the tree is far away from your home. In this house we often say that we are almost home because of the trees that we pass. The vandal did not improve things for anyone else, but themselves.
Back in February 2011 Waverley Council took a man to court because they could prove that he vandalized a tree. He received a hefty $19,000 fine. I can bet that almost everyone in Waverley LGA knows that they take on a huge risk if they damage trees. This is the same for Leichhardt LGA where a friend repeatedly says, “You wouldn’t get permission to remove that tree here.” Yet, here in Marrickville LGA, by Council’s own admission, 95% of requests to remove a tree are processed with a tick, even when it is significant, historic streetscape & habitat for a critically endangered native animal. In Leichhardt LGA trees are not removed if they drop branches. They often are in Marrickville LGA.
1. The community lost its fight to retain a children’s tree house in a very beautiful street tree on Narelle Avenue in North Bondi last week. Waverley Council said the tree house was unsafe & they would “build a compliant play area in a nearby park.” The community is upset, especially the children who used to play in the tree house. http://wentworth-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/north-bondi-treehouse-removed/
2. Wahroonga Council planned a new park & playground at Water Street Reserve, Wahroonga. To do this they would need to remove 400 square metres of shrubs & grasses in an endangered Blue gum high forest. Council said no trees would need to be removed. The community protested so the Councillors have asked for a report, including “funding & restoration options.” http://north-shore-times.whereilive.com.au/news/story/council-cant-see-good-for-the-trees-residents/
3. Bardon Park Coogee is used by the Coogee Dolphins Rugby Club to practice, but the community say it is a small park that is meant for use by the residents & not the sporting clubs. Randwick Council had intended to returf the park. http://southern-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/feud-over-park-continues/
4. Lot 4711 Bambara Road, Kariong zoned Conservation & Scenic Protection (Conservation) was allegedly cleared without permission from Gosford Council. The Department of Environment, Climate Change & Water is investigating. http://express-advocate-gosford.whereilive.com.au/news/story/investigation-into-land-clearing-at-bambara-road/
5. A vandal has damaged or destroyed new street trees on Walnut Street Carnegie on 6 occasions over the past 18 months. The residents are upset & want the trees replaced. Glen Eira Council said they probably wont replace the trees immediately – so the vandal gets exactly what they want despite living on a street where the residents do want new street trees. http://caulfield-glen-eira-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/carnegie-tree-killer-strikes-six-times/
6. In a fantastic move, Tweed Shire Council passed a new Tree Preservation Order that extends Koala habitat in the region. Another 1,870 hectares of land in the Tweed will now be protected. This is great as we are seriously in danger of losing wild Koala populations due to habitat loss. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/02/17/3141055.htm?site=northcoast§ion=news&date=(none)
7. Elm beetles & cedar moth caterpillars have stripped the leaves of scores of Elm & Cedar trees in Wagga Wagga. Wagga City Council say they have 500 Golden elms as street trees which they intend to progressively replace over the next 10-years though they don’t say why. They do however, say that the affected trees won’t die as a result of the insect damage & their leaves will grow back . http://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/general/wagga-trees-under-attack-from-insects/2079055.aspx
8. Shepparton Council intends to remove 63 mature London Planes trees in Corio Street Shepparton. The residents are campaigning to retain the trees. The Greater Shepparton City Council said some of the trees were dangerous while others were dying. The trees are 80-years old. http://www.sheppnews.com/members/login.aspx?noaccess=1&from=/article.aspx?id=1202303
9. Conservationists protesting logging at Rats Head Road in the Bodalla State Forest Narooma successfully stopped work by suspending a platform 10 metres above
the ground from a tree with the rope attached to logging equipment. However, during last Tuesday night, an unknown person cut the ropes that supported the platform while a protester was up in the platform. “South East Forest Rescue (SEFR) representatives presented Forests NSW & the logging contractors with a ‘Statement of Guarantee.’ The statement set out terms & conditions requiring Forests NSW to guarantee there will be no impacts on the environment as a result of the logging & ‘to guarantee any logging Forests NSW & their authorised contractors undertake will not impact on the health & wellbeing of the citizens of New South Wales, being both present & future unborn generations.’ The logging contractor refused to sign the guarantee.” Later the tree that held the viewing platform was chopped down by an unknown person. http://www.naroomanewsonline.com.au/news/local/news/general/night-attack-on-forest-treesitter-at-narooma/2078489.aspx
10. Woolahra Council is attempting to cut down tree vandalism done for views by allowing residents to prune public trees for views & sunlight, including trees in public parks. http://wentworth-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/draft-plan-to-manage-trees/
11. Orange City Council plans to rezone & sell Fred Dobbin Park. This park is only one of more than a dozen similar community parks that the Council plans to sell. The residents are fighting the selloff saying they need their parks. http://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/news/local/news/general/we-will-fight-to-save-our-park/2075907.aspx
12. Marrickville Mudcrabs reported that on Saturday 19th February 2011 a car was dumped into the Cooks River near Tempe Railway Station. Marrickville Council was informed & sent a Ranger to assess the situation. Apparently the car was leaking petrol & oil into the river. I am unaware as to whether it has been removed yet.
1. In 2010 Norwood, Payneham & St Peters Council in South Australia were very unhappy about energy company ETSA’s pruning of
their street trees. In response they commissioned a study of 1,613 street trees by Arborists Treevolution. The company monitored 811 street trees that were pruned by ETSA & found that, “most trees had foliage trimmed in excess of the 2.5m distance from the powerline as set out in ETSA guidelines, with only 2% of the trees trimmed to a satisfactory standard.” Pretty shocking considering the tree numbers. The report also said, “The level of experience & qualification could also be questioned … & the level attained by the cutting crews well below that accepted as best practice within the arboricultural industry.” The Council acknowledged that ETSA has a legal obligation to prune street trees in the area, however, they thought ETSA’s method of pruning caused long-term damage to the trees. I hope more Councils decide to challenge & monitor tree pruning practices by energy companies. The community has been unhappy about their work for some considerable time & need their Councils to stand up for their trees. http://messenger-news.whereilive.com.au/news/story/pruning-gets-a-poor-mark/
2. Residents of Monash Parade Croydon were very upset with Energy Australia after they “tore through (21) brush box trees that had stood for about 80 years. …it looked like a cyclone passed by with some trees losing almost 70% of their foliage.” “Energy Australia confirmed to The Courier that the trimming had breached guidelines.”
3. Waverley Local Court fined a resident $19,000 for cutting through what he described as a ‘fat root’ of an old Brush Box growing outside his home. The tree was under a tree protection order. Because of the damage caused by the resident, Waverley Council had to remove the tree. Magistrate Milledge described the vandalism to the tree as ‘disgraceful.’ ”Trees not only beautify otherwise stark urban streets, but they offset carbon emissions, provide shade & attract native wildlife.” It was great to see that the judicial assessment went toward the value of the tree & its loss to the community. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/an-unkind-cut-that-led-to-a-record-fine-20110201-1acgo.html
4. Yarra Council in Melbourne are seeking whoever it was who
poisoned 2 mature elms on Napier Street Fitzroy & a flowering pear tree on Egan Street Richmond. “Mayor Alison Clarke said killing trees in inner-city streets was a disgraceful act. Natural vegetation & wildlife are scarce enough as it is in a place like Yarra & are highly valued for that reason. So for someone to set out to destroy those things is an extremely selfish act that deprives our community of what is rightfully theirs to enjoy & appreciate.” If caught, the vandal could face a fine of up to $2,000. A low fine might be a measure that allows room for a culprit to still want to risk for cutting a tree illegally. Maybe Yarra Council should think about raising the level of fines for such wrongdoing. $19,000 would not be something one easily risks coping. http://melbourne-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/trees-poisoned-in-fitzroy-richmond/
5. An Adelaide tree lopper has just been fined $22,500 for cutting down
a River Red Gum at Kilburn in April 2010. “He said he did not care about the fine because large gum trees were dangerous & the law regarding so-called significant trees was inflexible. Mr Carlin said he had been working in the industry for 20 years & had come to know trees. He said that in his experience, some council arborists did not do thorough analyses of trees when preparing reports on whether tree removal should be approved. He said the tree – with a 3.4m circumference – had dropped a branch on a building on Churchill Rd, loosening asbestos.” He wants no Eucalypts in suburban areas. I wonder what the Australian Capital Territory, which has thousands at public places, would say about that? http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/fine-but-tree-lopper-says-theyre-dangerous/story-fn6ck4a4-1226001087184
6. In a fantastic move City of Sydney Council is planning a community farm in Sydney Park. Residents will be able to grow & sell produce. It’s at the community consultation stage at the moment. http://digitaledition-innercity.innerwestcourier.com.au/ Page 2
7. A report by Aerial Acquisitions found that over the last few years up to 8,500 hectares of NSW forests may have been approved for logging when they were actually old growth forests & should have been preserved. Many of the forests contained native animal & plant species classified as vulnerable. Forests in Macleay, Dorrigo & around the Hastings river were deemed the worst affected. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/conservation/flaws-in-surveying-permit-logging-in-protected-forests-20110120-19y3u.html
8. Brigidine College in St Ives intends to remove much of the work completed last year that was paid for by a $200,000 grant from the federal government’s Building the Education Revolution program to build a car park. To do this they will remove 50 trees. Last year they removed nine trees. http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/private-school-calls-in-the-bulldozers-to-demolish-new-building-work-20110204-1agvd.html
9. If you are interested in Eucalypts, EUCLID is a computer program that covers identifying features of all 894 eucalypts of Australia. Available since 2006, it was produced by the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research at the Australian National Herbarium. EUCLID covers Angophora, Corymbia as well as Eucalyptus. http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/cd-keys/euclid3/index.html