The palm trunk above the Marrickville Golf Course Club House is the new home of a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.  The white dot is a cockatoo.

Squee! Here I am!

I watched the decline & eventual death of an old palm tree behind the Marrickville Golf Course Club House with some sadness.  Trees like this don’t get replanted in my experience.

Recently, I saw something happening at this tree that delighted me.

What is left is the trunk, which is quite tall.  A pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos saw this trunk as an ideal home.  I presume they made a new hollow or modified a hollow that was starting to form with the shedding of the fronds.  Whatever way it happened, it is now a perfect hollow with a balcony & a clear view of the Cooks River & we all know the power of water views.

Behind the trunk is a large mature fig tree providing them a safe place to survey the area for any danger before entering the hollow.

In true Cockatoo style, once they realised they had my attention, the pair posed & acted out for my camera until I had enough & moved on.  They seem very proud of themselves.

Even though this tree is dead, it is an incredibly important asset in the Cooks River Biodiversity Corridor.  Trees with hollows are rare in the area, so every attempt must be given to retain this trunk.  It should not be removed to “clean up the area” or similar.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos nest in tree hollows.  Once they find a suitable hollow they stay there indefinitely.   The chicks they rear will remain with the parents as a family unit.

So, for me, discovering this hollow made up for the loss of yet another tree.  Hopefully, a new palm will be planted behind the Club House.  In the meantime, people who are aware of this pair, can have an occasional look to see if they can spot them & any chicks they are rearing.

To my mind, the Club House has been blessed with some mascots to screech & cavort above them.  What fun!

A great home with a big fig tree behind and the river in front.

Leichhardt. Photo taken July 2017. This is what will be happening in Sydenham, Marrickville and Dulwich Hill.

The plan for Marrickville. It is a lot of high-rise.

We went to last night’s public meeting held by Inner West Council regarding the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor Strategy Revised.  Marrickville Town Hall was full with plenty standing at the back.

The meeting was called to inform the community about the NSW State Government’s revised plans & Council’s great concern about the plans.

The revised draft Strategy increases the number of proposed new dwellings at Sydenham, Marrickville & Dulwich Hill to 8,500.   Broken down this will be –

  • Sydenham Station Precinct – 500 new homes
  • Marrickville Station Precinct – 6,000 new homes
  • Dulwich Hill Station Precinct – 2,000 new homes

[ This does not include the 750 new dwellings at the Victoria Road Precinct that just received approval.  Nor does it include the 2,400 new dwellings planned for the Carrington Road Precinct.  ]

It was at times hard to hear the speakers & my notetaking skills are poor these days, so I will write the points down that I managed to catch.  All mistakes are mine.  Inner West Council did video the proceedings so that the community can learn of what is planned for the area, so I will post a link if I come across it.

The Administrator Richard Pearson opened the meeting. 

  • The original plans came out in 2015. These plans have significant changes.  There are higher density & higher infrastructure issues.
  • 8,500 new dwellings will be approximately 20,000 new people.
  • As a Town Planner myself, there are some serious issues from high-rise around Marrickville & Dulwich Hill Railway Stations where it bleeds into suburban areas.
  • The scale of renewal is major. There needs to be parks, schools, greenspace & drainage, plus other infrastructure needs.
  • I was surprised at the closing date of 3rd September when the council elections are on 9th
  • It is important that the elected Councillors can make submissions. I asked the government that they can put in a supplementary submission & was told verbally that they will be allowed to.  I am waiting for this in writing.

John Warburton – Deputy General Manager Community & Engagement

  • Our LGA has three areas along the corridor.
  • This is not part of a broader planning scheme leading to a lot of issues.
  • Lack of practical efforts to make suburbs livable.
  • No funding plan to pay for infrastructure.
  • There is a loss of too much character & fabric of the Inner West.
  • No building designs yet, only maps.

Sydenham –

  • Increase of 500 dwellings.
  • Gain 700 jobs.
  • High-rise near Frasier Park.
  • Inner West Council is concerned about loss of industrial land.
  • There is a proposed new plaza in front of Sydenham Railway Station.

Marrickville –

  • There is a lot of density for Marrickville.
  • A lot of high-rise.
  • 555 jobs.
  • The difference between the Local Environment Plan & the Corridor is profound.
  • 2,000 extra dwellings for Leofrene & Schwebel Streets.
  • Proposed central plaza opposite the railway station.
  • Council has a lot of concern about the loss of single storey housing.

Dulwich Hill

  • Slight reduction of 59 dwellings from original plan.
  • 5-8 storeys planned for Hercules & Terrace Roads.
  • Nothing addressed on how to pay for infrastructure.
  • No idea how to find open space.

Jo Haylen MP Labor

  • The plans do not reflect our community.
  • They have not been written for us. They have been written for developers.
  • No sustainability.
  • The State Government knows we are a fighting community. We won’t take it lying down.
  • Marrickville & Dulwich Hill are being asked to take far too much density – an extra 6,000 new dwellings up from 4,000.
  • In Marrickville South the plan ignores the heritage value of the area.
  • Marrickville is a heritage suburb. The government’s studies did not include The Warren.
  • No targets for the cost of housing.
  • Many of the houses to be bulldozed were affordable. This will change the face of Marrickville.
  • Dulwich Hill – 561 submissions against the original plans.
  • Only a reduction of 59 dwellings.
  • The Greek Church & the Maternity Hospital are to be demolished. There is a heritage impact.
  • Lack of provision for schools, open space, new services for the 100,000 new residents for the corridor.
  • The government should build the infrastructure we need before building the corridor.
  • If the Metro line goes ahead it will be built 8-years after the corridor.
  • They should be prioritizing Sydney areas that are under-serviced.
  • No money for schools, no money for Canterbury Hospital.
  • No Affordable Housing or Social Housing.
  • Sporting groups have trouble finding places to play.
  • No new open space. Linear parks & plazas to be delivered by developers as ‘in kind.’

Mary O’Sullivan – Save Dully Spokesperson

  • Only 4 areas in Dulwich Hill subject to heritage analysis in revised plans.
  • The Uniting Church at Constitution Road to be developed.
  • Maternity Hospital in The Parade to be developed. It’s a beautiful building.  No doubt in its heritage.
  • Hercules, Terrace & Constitution planned for 8-storeys. There are early examples of wooden Federation houses here.
  • Riverside Crescent planned for 5-storeys.
  • Open space – a small extension for Jack Shanahan Reserve & a Greenway extension along the Metro, plans to turn the last 4 holes of the Marrickville Golf Course into open space & access to open space at the primary school.
  • ‘The Hill’ is the Dulwich Hill Railway Station parking. So, where will people park?
  • The government says there will be no commuter parking along the Metro.

Peter Olive – Sydenham to Bankstown Alliance

  • We are against the overdevelopment along the corridor & against the Metro train line.
  • The Metro is a waste of tax-payers’ money.
  • This is a privatization of an existing service, a good functioning part of a rail network.
  • It’s an abdication of responsibility to provide public transport in Sydney. Many places do not have a train line.
  • There are a number of decisions targeting the Inner West – WestConnex, the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor, privatising the buses….

Kelsey – Save Marrickville South spokeperson

  • We have 4 points for the government.
  • 1. No higher than 3-storeys next to single storey houses.
  • 2. No higher than 5-storeys in Carrington Road Precinct.
  • 3. Plan infrastructure before approving building heights. Plan schools, open space, roads & parking.
  • 4. Keep Marrickville’s character & streetscapes.
  • Don’t be fooled with the yellow areas on the map. They are labeled low-rise of 2-3 storeys, but they are in the 4-storey area within 500-metres of a railway station.
  • Bright red is 8-storeys. If the developer gives up some land for open space it could be taller.
  • There are 8-storeys next to single storey family homes.
  • Carrington Road development is already in advanced planning stages with Inner West Council & the developer wants higher. It may not be part of the Marrickville Precinct & may increase population density above the plan.
  • Up to 25-storeys will block the light from Mackey Park & Tempe.
  • The parks are linear & along the rail line & the storm water drain.
  • Many of us chose to live in this area because of the character.

At this stage, we left the meeting.

For me it was great to hear professionals from Council & ex-Marrickville Councillors expressing the same concerns I have & more.  I have found on Facebook attempts at discussing development in the Inner West are effectively shut down by name calling & citing the need for Affordable Housing & not spreading Sydney even further.  The fact that $615,000 for a 25-sq-metre studio apartment in Marrickville is nowhere near affordable does not get a look in.  So, to sit & listen to eloquent, sensible & affirming speeches from across the political spectrum was good.

The fact is Inner West Council is seriously concerned at the future livability of our area.  This should speak volumes to those nay-sayers who do not want development discussed.  If the plans are not modified, we will find ourselves living in an over-populated area, with poor amenity & with services unable to cope.  Schools, childcare are at capacity now.  The sewerage system was at capacity a few years ago.

The former Marrickville LGA, where the development is happening already has the lowest percentage of green space of any municipality in Australia.  Add 20,000 plus new residents….it will be wall to wall people in the parks.

We all need to send in a submission.  While 561 submissions from the people of Dulwich Hill is commendable, the government must receive thousands of submissions if this community wants to be heard.

You can find Save Dully on Facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/save.dully/

Save Marrickville South on Facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/SaveMarrickvilleSouth/

The Save Marrickville South submission can be downloaded here —  https://goo.gl/forms/xkmwo3IQ338WRyXG3

You can go online & write your own submission here – http://bit.ly/2tfjnMv

The deadline for submissions is Father’s Day Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Full with people standing behind me.

The “urban renewal” of Leichhardt. Photo taken July 2017.

Inner West Council is holding a public meeting on the Sydenham to Bankstown Urban Renewal Corridor Draft Strategy.  If this development goes ahead as planned it will be the end of Dulwich Hill, Marrickville & Sydenham as we know it.  Council has expressed serious concern about the lack of infrastructure to cope with the massive increase in population.  If Council is against it, you know it is bad.

“The revised draft Strategy has increased the number of new dwellings in the inner west by 2,500 to 8,500. Total dwellings have increased by 50% (Marrickville Station Precinct) and 500% (Sydenham Station Precinct).” – Inner West Council press release.  See http://bit.ly/2v87szX

As far as I understand, this does not include the 750 new dwellings I was told has just been approved for the Victoria Road Precinct in Marrickville & the 2,400 new dwellings planned for Carrington Road in Marrickville South.

WHEN:          Thursday 10th August 2017

TIME:              6:30pm

WHERE:        Marrickville Town Hall

The deadline for submissions is Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Bat box built especially to house microbats.

New research published 28th July 2017 titled, ‘Bat boxes are not a silver bullet conservation tool’ is a bit alarming when it comes to the future of urban bats.  They are losing habitat at a rapid rate.  Trees with hollows are scarce enough as it is, but all run the risk of being removed by development.  Many of us think, myself included until recently, that providing a bat house will help.  However, this research has found the opposite is the reality.

The abstract says, a long-term bat-box monitoring project in south-eastern Australia, box occupancy was dominated by one common and widespread urban-adapted species, Gould’s wattled bat Chalinolobus gouldii.   In contrast, the 13 other bat species in the area made little or no use of the boxes.  Policymakers, land managers and conservation professionals working in the field of biodiversity offsets should be aware that bat boxes are unlikely to compensate adequately for the broad-scale loss of tree hollows caused by various forms of human disturbance.”  See – http://bit.ly/2hlXNRj  

Just one more reason why we must do our best to save trees, especially older trees.  The information on the time it takes for a tree to develop hollows ranges from 100-150 years.  Until recently, most articles I read stated that 150-years was the average time a tree takes to produce a hollow.  The difficulty of achieving this is obvious.  If there is no suitable hollow, there is no breeding.

National Tree Day site in Steel Park Marrickville South. All that is wood chip is the new area that was planted today. It joins last year’s site to create a continuous corridor along the river in this area.

This afternoon we went down to Steel Park Marrickville South to have a look at Inner West Council’s National Tree Day site.  I had looked at the site earlier & noticed just how big the area to be planted is in comparison to previous years.  Inner West Council decided to convert a significant area into habitat for wildlife at this location &  I think this is excellent.

Three new trees were planted –

  • Two Swamp mahoganies (Eucalyptus robusta), an Australian native that can reach up to 30-metres in height. It can live for at least 200-years.  I find exciting to have such long-lived trees planted in a park where it has a decent opportunity to reach such an age.  Fingers crossed anyway.   It flowers well in spring & summer & offers food for birds & other nectar-eating wildlife.  Christmas beetles like to eat the leaves, so hopefully we will see some of these at Steel Park.
  • One Prickly-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca styphelioides) – also an Australian native. This is a medium-sized tree that reaches between 5-11 metres in height.   It has a dense, rounded canopy with drooping branchlets & produces cream or white cylindrical bottlebrush-like flowers in summer.  It likes to grow along stream banks or other moist situations, so good for this location.

Everyone who planted today have done the whole community a service & I thank them.   It is excellent to see more places along the river that are for wildlife only & I personally, think that looking at bushy areas is far more interesting than great expanses of lawn.  The birds will come, which adds a further layer of enjoyment to users of the park.

A closer look. Each dark patch is where something was planted.

The 3 trees that were planted.  Swamp mahogany in the foreground, the Melaleuca in the middle and another Swamp mahogany in the background.  

A good example of housing development along Gardeners Road Alexandria, built right to the footpath. Balconies and major living space face the street where possibly more than 60,000 vehicles pass by every day. It is the same along many other main roads, including in the Inner West Council municipality.  

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that I post fairly often about air pollution & the link to human health.  I’ve been pleased to read the recent research about this issue & enjoy having experts agree with what are fundamental beliefs of mine.  I once again got that feeling when I read the headline of a recent article in The Conversation titled, Transport access is good for new housing, but beware the pollution.’  See – http://bit.ly/2v0tOEl

The article says that it makes sense to build housing close to public transport, but building high-rise housing along busy roads exposes those people to traffic pollution to the detriment of their health.

The former Department of Planning has a 9-year-old interim guideline titled ‘Development near rail corridors & busy roads to help development limit harmful exposure to air pollution.  

Suggested design measures include:

  • building setbacks
  • articulation or “stepping” of building façades
  • avoiding creation of street canyons; and
  • mitigation measures such as greening close to the road.”

Locally high-rise buildings are built right to the footpath, instead of building away from the footpath & putting in a line of trees to make the air quality better for residents.  The stepping back of building facades is being suggested in planning documents for the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor in a bid to lower the impact of an eight storey building being built next to single storey houses.

“The NSW document suggests:

The location of living areas, outdoor space and bedrooms … should be as far as practicable from the major source of air pollution.”   If you look, the majority of high-rise developments have balconies that face the street & are attached to living rooms, so this suggestion is obviously not working.

The interim guideline also says, “… it is preferable if residential uses are not carried out along a busy road unless it is part of a development which includes adequate noise and air quality mitigation.  So we know that the government at all levels & developers know that the way they are developing Sydney & other major Australian cities is not good for us & will have serious negative health impacts.

Road widening from 4 lanes to 7 lanes along Euston Road in Alexandria as part of exit management from the WestConnex Motorway resulted in the removal of two rows of quite big trees. These trees did much to improve air quality for these residents & also the public who walked along this road.  Now the residents will need to adjust from the “up to less than 6,000 [vehicles] a day to more than 50,000 when WestConnex is built.”   See – http://bit.ly/2nijiSD

Just how these residents will adjust to living 1.4 metres away from more than 50,000 plus passing vehicles every day is anyone’s guess.

“…..the Sydney Motorway Corporation, RMS and contractors have canvassed the possibility of installing noise insulation, sealing wall vents and installing airconditioning units in apartments that will jut up against the seven-lane road.”  So, use your balcony at your own risk then?  Even prisoners in gaol get access to fresh air from their cells.

The Conversation article summed the issue up in a nutshell – “We are in a situation where councils can refuse approval for a well-designed, aesthetically pleasing carport in front of a building line, while people’s health is put at risk due to new housing developments along main roads being prioritised.  ….The Parramatta Road Corridor is one example of the current approach.”

Nitrogen dioxide pollution “include increases in all-cause, cardiovascular and respiratory mortality and hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, decreased lung function in children, and an increased risk of respiratory symptoms such as asthma, stroke & lung cancer.  If left unchecked or unevaluated, planning decisions that put new homes along busy roads are likely to undermine public health protection principles.”

 

 

Gardeners Road Alexandria outside Bunnings.  If you remember, this street was full of big street trees.  The fig tree in the background may have already been chopped down.  It’s not our area, but close enough to affect us. 

Carnage and much more to come.

Last week we took a trip to Bunnings in Alexandria.   I had been told that street trees had been removed in Gardeners Road, so was on the lookout.

I am never prepared for what I see.  Yes, I know that trees will be gone, but to actually see the barrenness & devastation is always quite a shock.  I am often surprised at the quality of the trees they sacrifice for wider roads, as in this case, or for development & I always wonder whether the trees could have remained if the planners had taken another approach to their designs.

As we drove up Canal Road I was concentrating on the development that is happening.  Massive high-rise apartment blocks are being built all the way to the footpath.  I can’t help but feel for the people who will be living above the belching exhaust fumes from trucks & other vehicles that clog this road.  The NSW government is telling us loud & clear that this is the future of housing in Sydney. What you are looking at is Future Sydney arriving fast.

We get to Bunnings & turned left into Bourke Road.  I was glad I was not driving because I could not rip my eyes away from the corner where a giant tree stump was laid bare & what was filled with big trees was empty.

This corner has always been glorious because of the two rows of big trees.  These were street trees & the inner row of trees that Bunnings did not rip out for parking when they took over the site so many years ago.  I have many times waited outside & watched birds while my husband shopped.

Between Gardeners Road & Bourke Road, a large amount of big fat mature trees have been chopped down.    They are widening the road here – I think to cope with the traffic that will come off WestConnex less than 1km away.

I spoke to staff at Bunnings who all expressed shock at the loss of the trees.  One said it was awful listening to all the birds when the trees were coming down.

Apparently, more trees along Gardeners Road will be removed soon, including a beautiful big old fig.  I was told that the street trees all along the eastern side of Bourke Road will also be removed.

I have cycled along the bike path on Bourke Road & it is a lovely experience.   Yes, it is a busy road, but I felt safe in the separated bicycle lane.  I also loved that a huge part of the route was in shade from the big street trees.

I think this is how all employment zones should look – green & leafy.   Soon this area will look worse than our barest street.  It is terribly sad to lose such undeniable beauty.  It will be an incredible loss of amenity that was provided by these trees &,  I imagine the impact to workers will be huge.    This story is being told all around where WestConnex enters the inner suburbs.  I think the toll is horrendous.

This is from the entrance to Bunnings to the corner of Gardeners Road. This area was full of big trees.

This is on the other side of the entrance to Bunnings. I am told these trees will be removed as well.

Bourke Road Alexandria. I was told all the trees on the right side of this image for the length of the street are to be removed. I hope this information is incorrect.

Wattles are flowering now.

The Department of Planning & Environment are holding community information sessions regarding the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor.  All sessions are free to attend.

“Come along to our information session where the project team will be available to discuss the plans with you and answer questions. You can drop in anytime during the three hour time slot.”

  • Dulwich Hill –30pm – 7.30pm on Wednesday 16th August 2017 at Salvation Army, 54 Dulwich Street Dulwich Hill.
  • Marrickville – 10am- 1pm Saturday on 19th August 2017 at Marrickville Town Hall, Marrickville Road.
  • Hurlstone Park –30pm – 7.30pm on Tuesday 22nd August 2017 at Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL Club, 20-26 Canterbury Road Hurlstone Park.

There are also sessions at Campsie, Lakemba & Bankstown.  To book see –  http://bit.ly/2tPbJaN

Last week Los Angeles broke a temperature record held for 131-years reaching 36.6°C (98°F).  Sydney people might laugh responding with, “It’s a good day for the beach,” but Los Angeles has an average daily temperature of 22°C (71°F), so this was an extremely hot day for them.

Los Angeles temperatures like this are expected to triple by 2050 & so the City has set a target of lowering the urban heat island effect by three degrees by 2035.  “According to CalEPA, LA has the worst urban heat island effect of any region in California.”

“Excessive heat is deadly. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, difficulty breathing, cramping and general discomfort killed more people between 1979 and 2003 than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention.”  See – http://bit.ly/2ucsUE9

Los Angeles is one of only two cities in the world who have a temperature reduction target to reduce their urban heat island effect.  The other is Melbourne.

Los Angeles plans to do the urban heat island effect by –

  • Gradually replacing roofs with reflective materials, called ‘cool roofs.’
  • Repave or repaint city streets with reflective paint.
  • Plant more trees & increase the urban forest canopy. However, they did not mention using green walls & green roofs.  Perhaps these are seen as more transient & risky compared to solid hard surfaces such as albedo paint & tiles.

It all seems elementary & doable, which offers real hope.

The city aims to install 10,000 cool roofs by the end of this year – 2017.

“Beginning in 2014, LA has had a “cool roofs” ordinance, which requires anyone building a new roof or replacing more than half of an existing roof to do so with reflective shingles.”  I wonder if the Inner West Council has any green requirements like these for any new developments or roof replacements.  The former Marrickville Council did not when The Revolution building in Marrickville was built around 2012.  At a public meeting about the building the architect said that there was no requirement to add green features, so he did not.

After a trial of painting one city street in May 2017, the City of LA has painted 7 other blocks & aim to paint a block in all 15 council districts by the end of the summer.  They obviously mean business.

In March 2016 the former Marrickville Council did a trial of solar reflecting road surface paint in Cecilia Street Marrickville.   I have no idea whether Council has released information regarding the results. See – http://bit.ly/1Pyexc7

The City of LA also has a cool pavement program, aiming to have the urban heat island effect lowered by shade from street trees.  So, less heat, better health, more beauty & more happiness.  That is excellent in my opinion.

The building on the left is a relatively new development on Unwins Bridge Road St Peters. Many in the community were upset at the DA stage because of the trees that were to be removed. The DA was approved and the building built. I passed by recently was pleasantly surprised to see 4 good sized trees had been planted in Dabur Lane as part of the development. These are not token shrubs for landscaping, which is what we often see in new developments. Once grown these trees will help provide shade & supply the beauty & other benefits that only trees can offer.

Archives

Categories

© Copyright

Using and copying text and photographs is not permitted without my permission.

Blog Stats

  • 509,381 hits
%d bloggers like this: