You can just see the black fencing around the pond. This unobtrusive fence keeps both dogs and people out of the ponds and protects the waterbirds.

You can just see the black fencing around the pond. This unobtrusive fence keeps both dogs and people away from the ponds and protects the waterbirds.

 

This is a series of posts because there is much I love about Sydney Park.  You can read points 1- 5 here  – http://bit.ly/1U1Y9Ib

 

6.  The fencing around the ponds & wetlands – Unfortunately in years past a number of black swans in the ponds were killed by dogs.  The council has dealt with this by installing fencing around the ponds to keep dogs & people out, providing safety for water birds.  Unobtrusive black fencing was used & hidden amongst lush vegetation.  It is great to see the safety of the wildlife given priority over human beings.  Installing fencing that does not detract from the landscape is quite a skill. City of Sydney Council has achieved this in my opinion.

Look towards another pond and the fencing is even harder to spot.

Look towards another pond and the fencing is even harder to spot.

7.  The dog pond Recently a ‘dog water station’ was created. Now that dogs cannot enter the ponds or wetlands, they have their own place to get cool. It’s great to see happy dogs enjoying themselves.   It’s also great entertainment for others who don’t have dogs.

One very happy dog enjoying the dog water station.   He was told to sit for the photo.

One very happy dog enjoying the dog water station. He was told to sit for the photo.  Out of view were two or three other dogs who were playing together before I took this photo.  They wanted to keep their privacy:-)

8.  The water feature – Last year long terracotta half-pipes were installed to carry water to the ponds. Not only do they look good, but they also create a peaceful sound effect of falling water, which is very relaxing.  There are park benches around this area, so plenty of room for people to sit & chill out.  The vegetation in this area is growing well with new trees & lots of different plants.  The birds like this area too, presenting some great opportunities for photographers.

A small section of the terracotta pipes that pour water making a lovely sound.  These are in a number of places throughout the ponds. I like them very much.

A small section of the terracotta pipes that pour water making a lovely sound. These are in a number of places throughout the ponds. I like them very much.

9.  The AIDS Memorial Grove This is a forested area adjacent to Barwon Park Road. Every tree & plant here has been planted by volunteers since the Grove’s creation in 1994.  I am a huge fan of memorial trees as they represent life, growth & beauty & have great meaning to those who have lost someone they love.  The AIDS Memorial Grove is a wonderful & respectful way for the Council to acknowledge the huge numbers of people who have died because of AIDS-related illnesses.  This initiative also allows the community to participate in creating an area of peace & beauty, which I think is quite a healing opportunity that brings people together.

10.  The half-half hill – I call this the half-half hill because half of the hill is planted with native grasses & the other half is lawn.  It is creative & lovely to look at.  The hill offers duel use – one side for people & the other side for wildlife.  The native grass side leads to a valley that incorporates a large swale with thick planting along either side – perfect for wildlife, yet still visible for people.  You don’t need to stand still for long before you see birds in this area.

The Half Half Hill.  A simple, but creative idea that I have always liked.

The half half hill. A simple, but creative idea that I have always liked.  Obviously this is the lawn side, but you can see the native grasses creating a spine. 

11.  Seats I love that there are so many park benches & other places for people to sit in this park. I love that these seats are scattered everywhere meaning that we don’t all need to be corralled on top of each other.

There are seats in open places, park benches in secluded places, seats surrounded by plants & trees, seats at lookouts, seats under trees, seats in the sun, seats in the AIDS Memorial Grove, seats overlooking the ponds, seats beside the ponds, seats at the café, seats at the playground & even a park bench on top of the hill looking over the whole park.

Seats comprise of park benches, slabs of sandstone beside planted areas, concrete & wood structures, concrete ledges & even a small amphitheater of concrete steps built for people to comfortably sit.

Not everyone wants to or can sit on a blanket on the grass.  This is the realm of the young &/or healthy. People with physical disabilities find it difficult when there are no seats, so do the elderly or people who are unwell.  Sitting down on the ground can be a difficult option for those with a sore or restricted body.

Lots of seats allow people to walk a longer distance, knowing that there are places where they can stop & rest for a bit.  In my opinion, far too many of our parks are not set up to allow those that need seats to be able to use the parks because of the lack of seating.  I have been thrilled to see an elderly couple down at the river at Mackey Park sitting on one of the new park benches installed by Marrickville Council in 2015.  I’ve never seen them before, yet most evenings you can see them on the bench, watching the river & chatting to each other.

Seats allow people to get out of their homes because they offer safety.  Sick people & old people need parks & green spaces just as much as everyone else – more in my opinion.  However, the infrastructure is often not there to support them.  Generally, all that is offered is park benches in or near the playground & this is not the place people without children want to sit.

We all get old & most of us will find ourselves in need of places to sit at some stage in our life.  Being out in nature, in green spaces has been proven to have an enormous positive benefit on people’s physical, mental & spiritual health.   However, they have to be able to access it in a way that is safe for them to do so.  Plentiful seating provides this to a great degree.  The City of Sydney Council has, in my opinion, created a space that is open to everyone regardless of limitations.

On last thing – there are a number of park benches in Sydney Park that do not have a slab of concrete underneath them, which I really like.  I’ve never quite understood why so much concrete is needed to install a park bench.  Simple is good.

Here ends part 2 of why I love Sydney Park.  More later.

My favourite seat because it blends into the surrounding environment that I often miss it.  I counted 11 species of tree and shrubs, all within 2-3 metres of this park bench.  It is a quiet place away from the path.  People need places like this.

My favourite seat in Sydney Park.  It blends into the surrounding environment so well that I often miss it. Recently I counted 11 species of tree and shrubs, all within 2-3 metres of this park bench. It is a quiet place away from the path. People need places like this because they allow people to really slow down.  Parks should have peaceful areas.  

Not officially seats, but we have sat here on a number of occasions.  Seats don't always have to be formal and I am sure the council saw these sandstone blocks as potential seats when they installed them.

Not officially seats, but we have sat here on a number of occasions. Seats don’t always have to be formal and I am sure the council saw these sandstone blocks as potential seats when they installed them.

There are bench seats here with shade and privacy.  This kind of seat is common in areas where there is a view.

There are bench seats here with shade and privacy. This kind of seat is common in areas where there is a view.

There are also quite a few picnic table setups too.  I seem to remember that there are no more than two of these in each location, so we are all not piled up close to each other.  Another thing I like is that there are no barbecues - therefore no smoke and no piles of coals everywhere.

There are also quite a few picnic table setups too. I seem to remember that there are no more than two of these in each location, so we are all not piled up close to each other. Another thing I like is that there are no barbecues – therefore no smoke and no piles of coals everywhere.  

 

vivid-sydney-social

Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden will be joining in ‘Vivid Sydney’ to celebrate the 200th birthday of the gardens.

Vivid Sydney is pretty spectacular, but for the gardens to be lit up as well is really exciting.  Can you imagine how beautiful the Fig trees will look.

The website says there will be grand installations & 3D mapped projections “creating a wonderland of shimmering trees and dazzling bushes.”

The colonial sea wall at Farm Cove will become “a glimmering stretch of light art” & there will be a 60-metre long Cathedral of Light, “an immense arched tunnel made of tens of thousands of white LEDs which radiate gentle but brilliant light from all angles.”

Giant figs trees will be used for projections & there is the ‘Sentiment Cocoon.’  Sounds wonderful to me.

WHEN:  27th May – 18th June 2016

TIME:  6pm – 11pm

COST:  Free.  Enter through the Queen Elizabeth II Gates via the Opera House Forecourt.

For more information see – https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/vividsydney

Looking at the arbor from Moorefields Road.

Looking at the arbor from Moorefields Road.

I have looked in passing at this green arbor along Moorefields Road Kingsgrove often while driving past, but recently decided to stop & have a closer look.

Google image of the pocket park hidden behind an arbor

Google image of the pocket park hidden behind an arbor

A vine has been grown over a trellis structure to create a very interesting archway into an unnamed pocket park at the end of Rolestone Avenue, which ends in a cul-de-sac.   The vine covered arbor makes this green space peaceful because the main road is buffered by the vines & your attention is taken elsewhere.   Most vines bloom, so this would be very nice while happening.

The arbor would also provide habitat & safety for wildlife.

I have not seen anything like this green entrance in a public space & like it a lot. It is a clever idea by Rockdale Council & one that I could see used successfully elsewhere, especially where heavy traffic is an issue.

Looking out to Moorefoelds Road from inside the pocket park

Looking out to Moorefoelds Road from inside the pocket park

 

Four new trees visible in this photo.

Four new trees visible in this photo.

I got a pleasant surprise when I drove down Unwins Bridge Road last weekend.  Marrickville Council has been very busy planting 20 ornamental pear trees all along the west side of the road all the way to Tillman Park.   It looks like there will be three more trees to be planted, as it appears there are three areas prepared for them.

If any road needed street trees this section of Unwins Bridge Road was it.  I am hoping that the other side also gets trees.

Street trees will help purify the air in this high traffic road, which will be much better for the health of the residents, the school children from the primary & high school & the many pedestrians.  The trees will also add beauty, green & shade to the streetscape.

A big thank you to Marrickville Council from me.

All the new trees look like this one.

All the new trees look like this one.

Golden robinia almost dead on Alice Street Newtown.

Golden robinia almost dead on Alice Street Newtown.

Marrickville Council has given notice of their intention to remove two trees in Newtown.

Tree number 1:  a Golden Robina (Robinia pseudoacacia) outside 123 Alice Street Newtown.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has significant level of canopy dieback & deadwood and is in an advance state of decline.
  • The tree presents an unacceptable risk to the public and property.”

This tree was obviously dying.

There is no mention of any replacement tree in the text, but the heading says ‘removal & replacement.’   This tree did not have a  ‘Notification of Removal’ sign attached to the tree.

Tree number 2:  A Broad Leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) outside 14 Alice Street Newtown.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has significant level of canopy dieback & deadwood & is in an advance state of decline.
  • The tree presents an unacceptable risk to the public & property.”

This tree caused us some debate.  Considering that the tree is in flower & has around four dead branches, I would advocate pruning these off, while my husband said he would remove the tree & start afresh, as it will always look poor.  To me pruning would result in this tree looking like all the other Melaleuca trees that have been pruned for powerlines, maybe even better.   Also, it takes a long time to grow a tree of this size, so I would not be removing trees unless there is no other option.

This tree did not have a  ‘Notification of Removal’ sign attached to the tree either.   Council says they will replace with a Green Ash (Franxinus pennsylvanica) before September this year.

The Green ash is a fast growing deciduous tree native to eastern & central America.   They can grow to between 12-25 metres in height with a canopy of around half the height.  Female trees produce a large number of winged seeds in summer & the leaves turn a golden yellow in autumn.

The deadline for submissions for both trees is Friday 6th May 2016.

Melaleuca for removal in Alice Street Newtown.

Melaleuca for removal in Alice Street Newtown.

Showing some of the canopy die back. It is easy to see 3 branches that could be pruned.

Showing two-thirds of the canopy.. It is easy to see 3 branches that could be pruned. The fourth branch is connected to the side facing branch  on the right in the photo above.

Tree removal in Durham Street Stanmore

Brittle gum tree to be removed in Durham Street Stanmore – it does lean towards the house.

Marrickville Council has given notice of their intention to remove two trees in Stanmore.

Tree number 1:  a Brittle gum (Eucalyptus mannifera) outside 21 Durham Street Stanmore.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • “Internal decay at base on tension side of lean, causing the tree to be structurally unsound.
  • Identified by 2012 Street Tree Audit for removal.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”

Council says they will replace this tree with a Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma) by September this year.  This tree did not have a ‘Notification of Removal’ sign attached.

Tree number 2:  a Small-leafed Peppermint (Eucalyptus nicholii) outside 48.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has significant level of canopy dieback & deadwood & is in an advance state of decline.
  • The tree presents an unacceptable risk to the public & property.”

Council says they will replace this tree with a Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus) by September this year.  This tree did not have a ‘Notification of Removal’ sign attached either.

The deadline for submissions for both trees is Friday 6th May 2016.

Tree to be removed outside Percival Road Stanmore

Tree to be removed outside Percival Road Stanmore – the dieback is easy to see.

 

Tree in Morton Street Lewisham, adjacent to Gould Street.

Tree in Morton Street Lewisham, adjacent to Gould Street. Towards the lower left you can just see a vandalised tree.

Marrickville Council has given notice of their intention to remove a Narrow-leafed Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) adjacent 49 Gould Avenue Lewisham.  The tree is actually on Morton Street.  It had no Notification of Removal sign attached.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has significant level of canopy dieback & deadwood & is in an advance state of decline.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”

I feel very sad about this tree because half the canopy is alive & filled with flowers.  As a result, it is also filled with feeding singing birds.  It will be a big loss for local biodiversity.

Council says they will replace this tree with a Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) before September this year.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 6th May 2016.

Half the canopy is filled with flowers.

Half the canopy is filled with flowers.

Within a few metres of the tree to be removed is a vandalised tree. I hope the new replacement tree does not meet the same fate.

Within a few metres between the tree to be removed & Gould Street is a vandalised tree – presumably a Jacaranda. I hope the new replacement tree does not meet the same fate.  I also hope this tree is replaced.

Dying Evergreen oak tree in Hoskins Park Dulwich Hill. Unfortunately it stands above the playground.

Dying Evergreen oak tree in Hoskins Park Dulwich Hill. Unfortunately it stands above the playground.

Showing some of the branches where you can clearly see this tree struggling to recover.

Showing some of the branches where you can clearly see this tree struggling to recover.

The lovely big trunk.

The lovely big trunk.

Marrickville Council gave notice of their intention to remove an Evergreen oak (Quercus ilex) in Hoskins Park.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has significant level of canopy dieback & deadwood & is in an advance state of decline.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”

This is a devastating loss in my opinion.  The tree is one of the very special trees in Hoskins Park & likely would have been planted when the park was formed in 1938.  It has a beautiful shape & once had a large canopy.

Council says this tree will be “replaced with trees and understory from the Sydney turpentine-ironbark forest community as part of a combined Green Way planting initiative by 30 June.”  Unfortunately there was not a ‘Notification of Removal’ sign on the tree.

Council does not say how many replacement trees they will be planting.  They keep missing out on opportunities to declare the good work they are doing, which I do not understand.

The replacement turpentine-ironbark forest community & understorey is a good choice. This is an ‘endangered ecological community’ in the area & will support the great work re-vegetation done by the Friends of the Greenway.  Just standing beside the greenway one can hear the number & variety of birds that live in this small corridor.  It sounds great, as it should sound when there is habitat, food & water available.  More trees & understorey will only widen the area of habitat & improve  the lovely amenity of Hoskins Park.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 6th May 2016.

Last Friday I was notified by a resident that Marrickville Council had chopped down a number of street trees on Victoria Road Dulwich Hill nearest street for location reference is Nelson Street.

Sadly the trees on Victoria Street Dully are being removed without warning or consult!!   Healthy & young trees. Gone!  A lady I know that lives there, stopped them from removing the one at the front of her house by then they had removed about three or more. She was so upset!!!  She had called council & the guy wasn’t very helpful – tree team leader or something? So awful!! Apparently according to the resident, they were following a report from 2012. But that was the old trees. They were removed & replaced.
On Friday they removed the young trees that were planted as replacement!!!”

So I went to have a look today & found four stumps.  I am presuming these trees were 5-metres or less in height.  Marrickville Council chooses not to inform the community when they remove trees 5-metres or under, which I think is something that often causes anxiety, anger & distrust toward Council, as the above communication clearly shows.  Also, it gives Council carte blanch for tree removal, as the Marrickville Street Tree Inventory Report found that the average height for our street trees across the whole of Marrickville municipality is just 5.2-metres.  What’s 0.2-metres when choosing whether to inform the community or not?

What is left after the tree removal is a long stretch of nothing, but grass & the concrete footpath.  At least two families are upset about the removal of the trees here.  I hope Council plans to replace the trees this tree planning season.

What is left after 4 street trees were removed by Marrickville Council last week.

Victoria Street Dulwich Hill after 4 street trees were removed by Marrickville Council last week.  I suspect the Callistemon in the distance was the one saved by the resident.

Stunning Eucalyptus street tree in Hurlstone Park.  Trees will become immensely important as climate change progresses.

Stunning Eucalyptus street tree in Hurlstone Park. Trees will become immensely important as climate change progresses.

In Australia this day could pass you by because there isn’t much happening.

What I think is important to think about on this Earth Day is climate change because it is moving at an unprecedented rate with scientists thinking that it is too fast for ecosystems & humans to cope & adapt.

And it’s the rate of change that’s the big problem here. Human activity is profoundly changing the planet in a geologic blink of an eye—which is why scientists are worried that everything from migrating birds to fracturing ice sheets to coastal cities won’t have time to adapt.  If climate change were slow—playing out over millennia, as in times past—it wouldn’t be much of a problem.  Instead, in our world, climate change is happening very, very fast. As the United Nations’ leading climate diplomat said on Tuesday after seeing the latest NOAA data, the most recent record is a “stark reminder that we have no time to lose.”  http://slate.me/1NEJD2z

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration said that, “for the 11th straight month, the globe was record warm” with March 2016 the warmest March in recorded climate history.

Scientists from Australia’s James Cook University, University of Queensland & the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Reef Watch Program found that sea temperatures are rising so fast that corals cannot cope leading to severe bleaching.  See – http://bit.ly/1QrjhB1   The Great Barrier Reef is in real trouble no matter Greg Hunt the current Environment Minister’s optimism.

93% of the of the reefs that make up the Great Barrier Reef have experienced bleaching.  “…with as many as 81% of reefs north of Port Douglas experiencing severe bleaching.”  “We’ve never seen anything like this scale of bleaching before. In the northern Great Barrier Reef, it’s like 10 cyclones have come ashore all at once.” See – http://bit.ly/1Ql3Nyr

Loomis Reef, about 270km north of Cairns is dying right now. See – http://bit.ly/26gGOjz

Coral reefs in the northern hemisphere are also experiencing bleaching.  See – http://bit.ly/1T2uw4L  It is important to note that about one billion people rely on coral reefs for their food.

The NASA-supported National Snow & Ice Data Center says that Arctic sea ice “appears to have reached a record low wintertime maximum extent for the second year in a row….with air temperatures up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit above average at the edges of the ice pack where sea ice is thin.”  See – http://go.nasa.gov/1V542Fr

In March 2015 atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at Mauna Loa were 401.52ppm.  Just a year later in March 2016 they had risen to 404.83ppm.  In April 10th 2016 atmospheric CO2 levels reached 409.29ppm.  I remember when 350ppm was deemed the upper safe limit of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.  That seems like a dream now.

Watch this short video if you want to see the history of atmospheric carbon dioxide from 800,000 years ago until January 2014.  http://bit.ly/1VKqJyU

“Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities.” ~ NASA

The Australian Museum says “An average temperature rise of 2°C may result in the estimated extinction of 20-50 per cent of the world’s species by 2030.  If this current trend continues, the figure could reach 50-60 per cent by 2100.”  See – http://bit.ly/1TmfJEz  Stop reading & imagine that just for a moment.

Finally, what is Australia doing about it?  The Climate Change Performance Index for 2016 is an interesting read.  Unfortunately, it shows Australia’s performance is “very poor.”  We rank last at number 59 for OECD member countries & third last at 59/61 countries for the Climate Change Performance Index performance rating.

So do we sit back & wait for the end to come?  I don’t think so.  Even though the bulk of emissions in Australia are caused by industry, we can create change by voting with our wallet & taking simple actions to lower our carbon footprint.

I know these lists can be boring & most of us know what we need to do, but how many of us do this all time time as a matter of course.  I don’t & a reminder serves me well.  Here are some things you can do –

  • Buy only sustainable products & ignore those that are not or have excess & unnecessary packaging.
  • Stop using plastic bags & carry your own bags to the shops.
  • Change to low energy light bulbs.
  • Switch off lights when you leave the room.
  • Turn off appliances when not using them.
  • Wash clothes in cold water. It’s just as good.
  • Try not to waste water.
  • Install a water-saving showerhead.
  • Take shorter showers.
  • Wash up or use the dishwasher only when full.
  • Choose energy efficient appliances.
  • Hang your washing out to dry instead of using the dryer.
  • Install solar power when you can afford it.
  • Install a solar-powered hot water system as well.
  • Reduce air leaks to seal in heat or cool air in your home.
  • Insulate your home.
  • Draw the curtains to keep out the hot sun.
  • Choose your energy company wisely.
  • Reuse & recycle as much as possible.
  • Compost what you can.
  • Eat less meat.
  • Buy locally produced food.
  • Walk, use public transport or cycle as much as you can.
  • Drive smoothly when in your car.
  • Keep your car tyres fully pumped up.
  • Travel locally without getting on a plane.
  • Clean your air-conditioning filter regularly.
  • Use air-conditioning & heating only when necessary & set the thermostat a couple of degrees higher for cooling and a couple for degrees lower for heating. A jumper or a quilt helps one to keep warm.
  • Start a verge garden to help cool the street.
  • Plant a tree or shrub on your property if you have the room.
  • Get involved in local events to green up the area.
  • Lobby local councils to force developers to design green apartment buildings.
  • Lobby local councils to significantly increase the urban forest.
  • Lobby our governments to take meaningful action on climate change.

Remember, every change or action we take we are doing it for future generations.  Our children, grandchildren & their children deserve an earth that is hospitable.  We cannot be the last generations that failed to do something.  Life on earth is far too important to ignore.  The planet can survive without human beings, but it would be far better if we did not push the situation so far that we caused our own extinction.

Kookaburra in the grounds of Newington College Stanmore.

Kookaburra in the grounds of Newington College Stanmore.

 

Image taken from 'Your Say Marrickville' with thanks.

Image taken from ‘Your Say Marrickville’ with thanks.

 

 

Marrickville Council is planning something that I think is exciting for Sydenham – the Sydenham Station Creative Hub.

Instead of the usual fare of modern high-rise, which we could have expected so close to the railway station, Council is planning to create an entertainment precinct.  This will include live music venues, small bars, restaurants, cafes, as well as industry they describe as “traditional & creative.”  This means retaining employment in Sydenham, which I think is a very good thing.

The area is on the Marrickville side of Sydenham Railway Station.  The streets are full of old buildings & backs onto the heritage Sydenham Pit & Drainage Pumping Station, a huge sandstone stormwater dam at Shirlow & Garden Streets & visible from the passing train.  I’ve cycled around this area & it is interesting.  To be cleaned & greened while retaining the character is a very good thing in my opinion.

Council’s ‘Your Say Marrickville’ page says that, “the Sydenham Station area is already a major contributor to manufacturing in Marrickville and has very low vacancy rates.”  They also note that the proposed Victoria Road Precinct (high-rise housing & mixed business) & the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor Strategy (more high-rise housing) will bring a population growth that will be able to travel to the Sydenham Station Creative Hub for entertainment.  Currently trains run every 4-minutes.  It will be safe for people to go home by public transport.

The first step is to rezone the area from General Industrial to Light Industrial. Then Council will green the streets, plant street trees, make the streets pedestrian-friendly & create traffic calming measures.

In many cities older so-called ugly areas have been revamped while retaining their character to create exciting, attractive areas full of creative activity & entertainment.  For this to be happening in Sydenham is exciting for me.  Like many others, I do fear the loss of character in Marrickville, as more high-rise is built.

Marrickville Council has opened community consultation about the Sydenham Station Creative Hub until 17th May 2016.  There is a short survey, plus the opportunity to ask questions.

The plan will then go the the 7th June 2016 Council Meeting, where the Councillors will decide whether to proceed to Gateway with the zoning changes.   You can read more & do the survey here –  http://bit.ly/26gnYJj

click here to follow Saving Our Trees on Twitter

  • I spotted a family of skinks living in the grooves in the bark of a Melaleuca tree. Bark is full of living creatures if you look closely 3 days ago

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