The Coral tree for removal is centre of this photo.

Inner West Council has given notice that they intend to remove a Coral tree (Erythrina × sykesii ) inside Weekley Park, adjacent to 89 Albany Road Stanmore.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has poor vitality and significant canopy dieback.
  • Major open wound to trunk with decay and loss of structural wood.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public and property.”

The Coral tree is thought to be a “hybrid of horticultural origin, that was probably developed in Australia or New Zealand.” http://bit.ly/2tsjgKC

It is regarded as a weed tree in NSW because they can regrow from a fallen branch, a twig or stem or even suckers.  Despite this, they can easily be managed in suburban areas as shown by Bayside Council who have classified a number of their old Coral trees as significant & protected.

The condition of this Coral tree in Weekley Park is as described by Council.   They say they will replace this tree with an Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) by September 2017.

While it is a shame to lose this big old Coral tree, I am pleased that it will be replaced with a native tree that puts on a great colour show & can grow to a significant size.  We need big trees.

Illawarra flame trees are native to coastal rainforests from central New South Wales to far north Queensland.  They are deciduous in winter & produce clusters of vivid red bell-shaped flowers over spring-summer, which provide food for nectar-eating birds, bees & butterflies.  Anytime an Illawarra Flame tree is added to the Inner West landscape is a win as far as I am concerned.

The deadline for submissions is this Friday 23rd June 2017.

It appears that the bark was removed to inspect the tree. You can see that it is not in great shape.

BEFORE WestConnex removed two rows of mature trees on Euston Road.  Screenshot thanks to Channel 10 Eyewitness News.

Screenshot of WestConnex destruction on Euston Road. Thanks to Channel 10 Eyewitness News.

Dr Paul Torzillo – Head of Respiratory Medicine at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital spoke about the negative health impacts of WestConnex at the 21st May 2017 meeting of the Camperdown Residents Against WestConnex.

I took the following from the video.  However, I recommend watching the whole video (just over 10 minutes) because Dr Torzillo had a lot more to say about the health impacts of WestConnex.

  • “Traffic-related air pollution is a major contributor to air pollution. Projects like this around the world leads to more cars and more cars coming into cities, raising air pollution. 

 

  • There is a huge amount of evidence that air pollution leads to increases death from heart disease, increased hospital admissions, increased risk of stroke, increased respiratory disease & deaths from respiratory disease. It also leads to higher rates low birth weight in kids.   There is no question about this.

 

  • This project is not just an issue for those living in the corridor, this is a thing for Sydney.  The broader Sydney population is going to suffer these consequences.

 

  • Pollution levels will be higher 0.5km either side, at entry & exits & higher at stack points.

 

  • The big picture evidence is that traffic-related air pollution is a major contributor to air pollution in general.

 

  • Air pollution is unequivocally, absolutely shown to increase death rates & the frequency of major health problems in people.”

I have posted here about the impacts of air pollution from traffic quite a few times.  It is great to have a local respiratory medicine specialist to be confirming that traffic-related air pollution will cause major health issues for residents, including early death.

It is not just a road to help people get from A to B in a shorter time.  Pollution moves with the wind, so it will affect Greater Sydney.

If we allow government at all levels to keep pushing through roads & motorways & not spend money improving public transport, we will be living in a very polluted city & suffering the health consequences.  This air pollution will affect all ages from new-borns to the elderly.  No-one will be immune.

Street trees are becoming increasingly important for the community’s health, though you wouldn’t know it if you look at what the WestConnex Authority is doing.  Look at their most recent work in Euston Road Alexandria where they chopped down two rows of mature street trees to increase the road to seven lanes.  Traffic will rise from the current 6,000 vehicles a day to more than 60,000 per day & this is local roads well past the St Peters Interchange.  These people lost their front garden to a highway.  How healthy will it be living there?

You can watch the video here – https://www.facebook.com/friendsoferskineville/

The worst day of the Cooks River I have ever seen. This was everywhere….slowly floating down the river towards Botany Bay.

A 2-minute video by the NSW Environment Protection Authority titled ‘Hey Tosser – GPS tracked bottles’ shows how far plastic bottles travel along a range of waterways in Sydney, including the Cooks River.  It is quite incredible.

To watch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH7ZDl1_PE8

Marrickville Golf Course

Inner West Council has given notice that they intend to remove & work on trees located in Marrickville Golf Course.

Council says it plans to do the following –

  • “Tree removal– includes the removal of several dead trees or trees present significant defects and/or structural issues.
  • The creation of habitat trees– where trees are reduced down to safe limbs and boxes and hollows are created for use by native fauna.
  • Tree pruning– to remove defective or dead branches to reduce risk.”

Council do not give the location or number of trees to be removed.  We should be told about each individual tree & why they must be removed.

Nor do they give the number & location of trees they intend to prune or those they intend to make into Habitat Trees.    Council goes on to say that –

“All trees to be removed will be replaced (and more) as part of a planting program to be developed in collaboration with Council, Marrickville Golf Course and the community.”

Again, Council does not tell the community how many new trees will be planted or what species.

This is not something I understand.  I think it is in Council’s interest to tell the community how many trees they will plant because this is positive information that makes people who care about the local environment happy.  If Council had informed the community that they planned to plant 15 new native trees for example, everyone would feel happy about it, which is good for Council.

It is called transparency.  It is their duty.  Open & full communication is the only thing that instills trust in the community for what its government does.   You can’t have words about believing in open government & consultation, but fail to inform your community.

On a positive note, I think it is wonderful that more habitat trees are being created, especially in this important biodiversity corridor along the Cooks River.   I also think it is great that more trees will be planted.  The golf course has plenty of room for more trees.

New raised walkway/cycleway at the Illawarra Road bridge on the Undercliffe side.  Previously one needed to pick up their bike and carry it up three stepped ramps.  It was not easy.   

It was great to see the newly opened raised walkway/cycleway on the Undercliffe side of the Cooks River at Illawarra Road.  This was a difficult place to negotiate bicycles, especially if they were heavy.   Tight corners are no more with a slick graded slope raised walkway/cycleway.  It looks good.

I shall miss the decaying tree trunk beside the river, but to see the significant erosion taken care of with lots of sandstone is very pleasing.  It is great to see the asparagus fern gone too.   I’ve been looking at that plant for nearly 20-years.

I hope the storm water drain gets fitted with a pollution trap to catch street litter.  Hopefully, they still intend to do this.  Far too many storm water drains along the river are open to the river.  One day pollution traps will be seen as mandatory & people will wonder why this wasn’t always the case.  One only needs to look at the plastic drink bottles & other litter to see how needed pollution traps are.

Overall this is a boon for the community & for the river.

A side view of the walkway, plus showing the erosion control using sandstone.   The storm water outlet is on the right.

New storm water outlet at the Illawarra Road Bridge Undercliffe. It’s nice, but it needs a pollution trap in my opinion.

This is the same site – photo taken 2012.  The roots of decayed tree trunk can just be seen on the right.  Hopefully, the mangroves will grow back.  The bottles & other litter collected by a Cooks River Tosser came from this small section visible in the photo, which clearly demonstrates the need for a pollution trap.  

What a positive change to this section of Unwins Bridge Road. Street trees and verge gardens on both sides of the road!

In May 2017 I posted about the new verge gardens created along both sides of Unwins Bridge Road from Tramway Street to the corner of Gannon Street Tempe. See – http://bit.ly/2r7xu1O

I was hopeful that street trees would be planted too.   Well, my wish was granted.  Not only has Inner West Council planted street trees, but they planted a lot of them in just one block.  I think this is the largest number of new trees planted in one block that I have noticed since starting this blog.

Twelve Ornamental pear trees have been planted on the eastern side & seven on the western side of Unwins Bridge Road. This is the species Council are planting along Unwins Bridge Road.

You may have noticed that many of our high traffic roads are lined with Ornamental pear trees.  I think it is because they are so robust & can tolerate poor growing conditions.  They create a fairly dense canopy, so will provide a good pollution barrier between the traffic & the houses collecting some of the particulate matter from passing vehicles.   They should also help muffle some of the traffic noise & cool the street as well.

The trees will also add beauty to this section of Unwins Bridge Road that was previously dominated by concrete for what seems like forever.  The change is quite striking even at this early stage after planting.  Imagine how it will look once everything has grown.

Council has planted a variety of plants from native grasses to native violets & other small plants.  These too will help manage air pollution, add beauty & cool the area down.

I applaud Council for doing this work & for choosing to plant street trees in that location.  The trees will work to improve the air quality for local residents who have to tolerate massive amounts of traffic passing by seven days a week & the associated pollution.

If all our heavy traffic roads could also have the same treatment, this will help improve the health of the residents now & into the future.  More & more research is finding that street trees have a considerable impact on the health of the community, so the more our urban forest increases, the better it will be for all of us.

Showing the western side of Unwins Bridge Road.

Quite a range of plants in the verge gardens.

Community compost bin in Chippendale.  Photo taken 2013.

Good news for World Environment Day.   The Inner West Council is trialling community compost huts & they say they are the first council to do so in Australia.   In 2013 I posted about community compost bins that are scattered around the streets of Chippendale.  It must be huts versus bins that make Inner West Council’s initiative unique.   Whatever the reason, I think community composting is a great idea however it is delivered.

Local residents who live within walking distance to the compost huts & are signed up to participate, can drop off their compostable kitchen waste.  The huts are not for garden waste.

Each compost hut can manage the compostable waste of between 40-60 households.

Inner West Council will manage the compost & turn it once or twice a week.  When ready, the composted material will be available for use by council in local parks or by residents.

I love this initiative.  It’s simple, cheap & totally sustainable.  To have food waste go back into producing lovely rich fertile soil to be used locally is perfect.  I really hope the trial works & compost huts will become the norm for use of residents all over the municipality.  Well done Council.

Strange split pole with a nesting hollow attached on the side. I shall be interested to see how this progresses.

Last weekend we came across something very interesting at Tempe Recreation Reserve.  A very tall power pole has been installed in the small hill next to the 2015 National Tree Day site.  Half way up the pole a man-made tree hollow has been attached.

The pole itself has three splits down its length to around half a metre from the ground.  Other people walking in the park joined us to discuss the mystery of the pole.  Was it an accident, was the pole meant to be split like this perhaps to offer shelter for microbats or had it been hit by lightning?

We decided lightning was out because there had not been a storm in the previous week when they said the pole had been installed. The conversation roamed to microbats because they like to sleep in crevices.  The wind was making the sections of the pole move, which I thought  might squash any sleeping bats, but I am not an expert of microbat habitat.

I could imagine a pole with several of these man-made tree hollows attached at various heights along the pole.  High-rise totem pole housing for wildlife & with superb water views.   You have got to love that.

Red-rumped parrots can often be seen in Tempe Reserve & these birds need tree hollows or nesting boxes to breed.  Perhaps they will move in.

It is sad that so many trees have been removed in our cities, especially older trees that have hollows, but I am pleased that Inner West Council is concentrating on this issue of hollows for wildlife & exploring creative options.  There is no doubt this pole is creative housing for wildlife.

Last month I spotted a family of Australian Wood ducks wandering along the riverbank at the Marrickville Golf Course.  This was the first time I have seen Australian Wood ducks along the Cooks River.   These ducks breed in tree hollows.  Once the fledglings are ready to leave the nest, their parent leaves & the chicks, one by one, take a death defying leap to the ground.

You may have seen videos of this, but if you haven’t, this short video of wood ducks leaving the hollow is worth watching.  I flinch watching these brave little balls of fluff tumbling through the air to bounce on the ground below.  It’s a big start to life.      See – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkBSkFyUyv0

Australian Wood ducks walking along the Cooks River in Marrickville Golf Course.  There are another three ducks not included in this photo.  

A rain garden is being created just behind the picnic table.

Murdoch Park at 171 Illawarra Road Marrickville is undergoing Stage Two of an upgrade.

Stage One was completed in June 2014.  The then Marrickville Council spent $50,000 to add a path, a new gate, a picnic table, a park bench, a drinking fountain & two sandstone sculptures.   They also planted a garden, vines along the fence & four trees.  The trees were a special treat because this green space had no trees & was just a patch of grass with a diagonal path from front to the back lane.  See –  http://bit.ly/2qvwUdj

Stage two includes a raingarden, which was being created when I went past recently.  I think Inner West Council has done well to make this small green space attractive & useable for people & a source of food & habitat for wildlife.

Green space is scarce in the former Marrickville municipality, so Council ensuring that each & every space is attractive strongly benefits the community.

This is the eastern side of Unwins Bridge Road Tempe looking toward the roundabout at the corner of Gannon Street.  I think verge gardens will make a huge difference to the streetscape.

I was pleased to see newly created verge gardens along both sides of  Unwins Bridge Road from Tramway Street to the corner of Gannon Street Tempe.  This is one of the gateways to our area with thousands of vehicles travelling past every day.  The houses are lovely, but the streetscape is not.  Verge gardens will be a boon to the residents who will benefit from a drop in the urban heat island & the addition of beauty.

The verge gardens also put something between pedestrians & the vehicles, which is excellent as so many of the pedestrians are school children.

I am interested to see what Council plants & whether any street trees are included.  Council has planted ornamental pear trees further up the road from Tempe High School all the way to Tillman Park, so there is a chance street trees will be planted here.

Well done Inner West Council.  The creation of verge gardens is transforming streets across the former Marrickville municipality & I think it is great that attention is being given to Tempe.

Southern side of Unwins Bridge Road Tempe, again looking toward Gannon Street.  Even small verge gardens improve the streetscape.  

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