Corner of Canterbury Road and Herbert Street Dulwich Hill – an unusual opportunity by Council to make a truly green and inviting space for the community in this location. A missed opportunity and I bet this work cost a lot.

New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill.   Plenty of room for street trees here

A while ago a reader wrote & asked what I thought of the NSW government’s plan to plant 5-million new trees across Sydney by 2030.  I was surprised that I had missed such a great commitment from the government & pleased that finally, something was happening to address Sydney’s canopy.

The issue is back in the news today, so I thought I would write about it for the people like me who missed this news.

Climate change is coming with a vengeance.  You just have to feel today’s temperature at a record-breaking 35-degrees for the third time this week in mid-Autumn to know something is going on & every year it gets hotter. Even the trees are getting confused putting on a second flowering when they are supposed to be shedding their leaves.

The ‘Five Million Trees’ initiative will cost $37.5-million over four years & will increase Sydney’s existing tree canopy from 16.8% to 40% over the next 12-years.  The former Marrickville LGA’s canopy was documented as “poor” by 202020 Vision at 16.3%.  Leichardt LGA was documented as 20.3%, & Ashfield as 19.8%.  

You just have to cross Parramatta Road to Leichhardt & Annandale to see a massive difference in the canopy compared to Marrickville, Tempe, Sydenham & St Peters.  The suburbs of Petersham, Camperdown & Stanmore fare much better & to my mind, have a much nicer streetscape because of the street trees. Even then, the comparison to streetscapes in the former Leichhardt LGA makes these suburbs look tree poor.  Dulwich Hill is somewhere in the middle depending on where you are.

Taking our canopy from 16.3% to 40% by 2030 will mean a substantial increase in livability for residents, though I do have concerns about how this will be managed with the coming over-development for Marrickville & Dulwich Hill.

Development generally means losing mature trees & token trees as a replacement.  Let’s hope the government forces developers to leave space for big canopy trees & not take the route of removing trees in one place & saying it is okay to plant trees somewhere else.  This is a terribly poor result for the community & especially wildlife.

This would be a good time to force developers to set their high-rise buildings back 4-5 metres to allow trees to be planted at the street front instead of building right to the footpath.  Trees in the front of set-back buildings could look so much better & be much healthier for the residents of these buildings.  I would be happy to give developers extra height to allow space at the front for trees & to avoid the tunnel effect of overbearing buildings.

380,000 trees will need to be planted by local councils across Sydney every year for 12-years to achieve the target & to minimize the urban heat island effect. 

I would love to know how many new trees Inner West Council will need to plant every year to meet this target. The improved canopy cover is expected to reduce temperatures when the sun is at its hottest by approximately 5-degrees Celsius.  That doesn’t sound much, but stand under a shady tree on a hot summer’s day & you will instantly notice how much cooler & pleasant this is. We will have people being neighbourly again & not trapped inside with the air-conditioning. This will be a good thing for community relations.

In 2017 the Inner West Council said they planted 1,000 trees across the municipality.  While I am pleased for any new tree planted, I thought that was a low number for what was, until recently, three municipalities.  They did not say where the trees were planted, so we have no idea whether each former municipality got one-third each or Balmain & Leichhardt lucked out with the largest number of new trees planted. Who knows?  You can’t blame anyone for wondering these things when there is poor information given.

I estimate that the Inner West Council will be required to plant more than three times that number every year from now on.  Perhaps, this will encourage council to include the community in tree planting, as happens elsewhere across the globe.  If the residents help plant the trees, there is a lesser chance that these will be vandalized.

The community will come to understand why trees are necessary & how these new street trees will improve their quality of life, their health, the value of their home & lessen their power bills.

You just have to see the work done by Blacktown City Council’s Cool Streets project to see how their community went from choosing small stature street trees to choosing a mixture of medium to tall trees.  They made the huge change because they learnt about the benefits to their health & their wallet.  Of course, there is always a chance of a roaming vandal, but hopefully, these people get caught up in the tree education and decide to vandalise inanimate objects (or their own home) instead of public trees.

The NSW government also plans to give away 15,000 trees to people who are building homes in new land release areas in Western Sydney.  This is a very good thing, but I wonder where they will find space to plant them. Having seen new estates, the blocks are almost all covered by the building’s footprint.   There also needs to be means to check that these trees have actually been planted.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said, “Planting this many trees across Sydney is equivalent to taking about 355,000 cars off the road each year.”

The ‘Five Million Trees’ initiative is part of the NSW Government’s Open Spaces package at a cost of $290 million.

  • $100-million will be to secure green space,
  • $20-million will be to build & renovate up to 200 playgrounds.
  • $30-million will be to create 81 school ovals & playgrounds for public use during school holidays.   I have concerns about using playgrounds as public green space. I may write about this on another occasion.

Marrickville streetscape. There was more concrete behind me.

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12-15 street trees were removed from Campbell Street down Unwins Bridge Road.

I wrote about the street tree removal along Unwins Bridge Road in February.  See https://bit.ly/2C0hmny

Around 12 – 15 Evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithii) had been chopped down from the corner of Campbell street & along the eastern side of Unwins Bridge Road.   I wrote to Inner West Council to ask why & they replied also in February.  Apologies for the delay.  I am busy with other things over the last few months, though hopefully things should return to normal soon.

Council said the trees were removed as part of WestConnex works.

“Approval for their removal is as per the Environmental Impact Statement issued for the New M5. The WestConnex New M5 Arborist Report for Campbell Street and Campbell Road can be found on the WestConnex website.”https://bit.ly/2Hmov5W

Council also said that replacement trees will be planted somewhere in the area to make up for the loss in this particular location.  So at least we know.

A Pied cormorant and a Little black cormorant sit together 

City of Sydney are holding a Bioblitz on Friday evening 13th April & Saturday 14th April 2018 at Sydney Park.

What is a Bioblitz?  This is where regular people of all ages become citizen scientists & get together to record all the living beings they see so the Council & the community can learn about the biodiversity at Sydney Park.

There will be workshops, science activities, lectures & bike safaris.

On the evening of Friday the 13th you can help survey the microbats or participate in a spotlighting survey looking for animals in the park.  Or you could look inside nesting boxes with a camera on a stick or search for frogs in the wetlands.

At dawn on Saturday morning, there will be a bird survey & in the afternoon a bike safari up the Alexandria Canal looking at what animals and plants are living in this location.  Learn also about the cultural & environmental history of the canal.  On Saturday evening, there will be a spider spotting survey.

There will be a Bioblitz Hub manned by scientists & staff from Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.  They will help you to record & identify sightings & be available for a chat.  There will be microscopes to use, as well & drawing of plants found.

There is a list of events, plus cost & booking information here –

https://whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/programs/bioblitz

Fatima Island jusst holding on.  

One of two new trees planted close to the edge of the rover bank in Kendrick Park. These will provide nice shade & food for wildlife.  Discovery Point Wolli Creek looms over us.  The wide angle lens flattens the height making the buildings seem less imposing than what they are.  Building has not finished yet.  

Last weekend we took a bike ride from Mackey Park to Kendrick Park & on to Tempe Reserve.  For various reasons, it has been a number of months since we last visited  Tempe Reserve.

It was great to see two new trees planted close to the riverbank at Kendrick Park.  These will replace the trees removed back in 2011 that were in this position.  Shade here will improve the amenity of the park, as well as add beauty & habitat/food for wildlife.

Looking across to the ever-increasing development at Discovery Point Wolli Creek is perhaps a look at the future for Marrickville & Dulwich Hill.  I certainly find it strange to recreate under the eyes of so many just across the river.  I think this is something we are all going to have to get used to.

It was also wonderful to see that all the new trees planted near to the Princes Highway at Kendrick Park are growing well & have not been vandalised.  This is unusual these days.

Unfortunately, Fatima Island is holding on by a thread.  There are perhaps three trees left.  Personally I feel sad that this island is likely to be lost.  It is a wonderful refuge for waterbirds & only one of two places along the Cooks River where you can always see them when the tide is low.

Ofo bike tossed in the Cooks River.

OFO bike placed in a tree at Tempe Reserve.  Not good for the bike and definitely not good for the tree.

Once we got to Tempe Reserve we saw three yellow OFO Bikes in the river & another high up in a fig tree.  Seeing these bikes in the river has become more prominent than shopping trolleys.

Council’s planting around the picnic kiosks on the western side have grown well & quite a few Casuarina trees have opportunistically popped up, which is not a bad thing in my opinion.  There is plenty of room for more trees in this park.  The other area of new trees and understorey opposite the kiosks beside the ‘turpentine forest’ is also doing well having filled out considerably.

This pole has had a large section removed from the top and has been bound with steel straps.

Further along the mystery of the split habitat pole was solved.  See – https://bit.ly/2pxSQH2

It was an unintentional split & Council has wrapped many steel bracings around the pole to fix this.  I will be very interested to see if any wildlife does set up home in the hollow attached to this pole.   Perhaps this has already happened.

The bottom of the National Tree Day 2015 site is not doing well.

However the top section has shown some progress.

The 2015 National Tree Day site is showing progress.  The bottom part has not done well, but the area at the top has & the 5 trees planted have all survived & are growing.   You can compare by seeing past photos here – https://bit.ly/2IOf2EK

The WestConnex Authority is drilling at Tempe Reserve for the M5 extension

The WestConnex Authority are onsite & have cordoned off a section of the park & the basketball courts to drill & store their equipment.  This is not the first time I have seen them drilling here.  I think it is felt by the majority of this community that it will be a terrible loss & impact on green space if the motorway runs through or over Tempe Reserve.

I am so happy to see this beautiful fig tree doing so well after its roots were exposed by erosion.  The plantings  by Sydney Water are doing well.

The wonderful work done by Sydney Water to restore the river bank as the Cooks River becomes the Alexandra Canal is looking good.  The sedge plantings on the riverbank wall are growing well, as well as all their other plants around the trees.  Importantly, the beautiful Fig tree whose roots were exposed to the air & the brackish water of the river is looking very good after being helped.

Sedge planting in the new riverbank wall built by Sydney Water.  It was low tide when I took this photo.

Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum) – a lovely Australian native.

The City of Sydney is having a plant sale this Sunday 11th March.   The plants all come from the Council’s Living Colour displays throughout the CBD.

Some of the varieties are rosemary, mint, thyme, marigold, coleus, westringia, dianella & laurentia.

They are asking for a gold coin donation for each plant with the proceeds going to the RSPCA to help animals in need.  What a great cause.

WHERE:        Sydney Park.

WHEN:          Sunday 11th March 2018.

TIME:             8am.  Previous sales were almost over within 30-minutes, so be quick.

Raven in attack mode.

Getting closer

Moving to a different position

We saw nature in its rawness yesterday evening.  We were riding along the Cooks River when we came across a flock of very rowdy shrieking Cockatoos.  There were around twenty of them all gathered in the one gum tree.  The noise was something else.

I stopped to take some photos when my husband said, “There is a mammal up there.”  I looked around the canopy & saw a brushtail possum with two ravens nearby.  It was about 7pm & the sun was still up, so we had a very good view of this possum.  Being nocturnal, these animals are usually only seen after dark.

As we watched it became obvious that the ravens wanted to attack the possum. They are meat eaters, usually carrion.  My guess is that the possum was seen as an opportunity for food because it was in such a vulnerable position.  That is, if they could get him to fall to his death.

Whatever the reason behind their actions, the ravens were most certainly wanting to harm the possum.  He was standing on a very thin branchlet, having put a branch between him & the ravens.  His left foot was poised ready to strike any raven that came too close.

So, we had two strong black beaks that could have easily blinded the possum & the long claws of the possum, which would have caused injury to any raven that got too close.

The ravens took turns & tried to strike the possum from underneath, but they just could not get close enough.  Meanwhile the Cockatoos were alerting everyone in earshot that a possum was in danger.  We felt scared for the possum because he had nowhere to go.

Suddenly a large cockatoo entered the fray.  Wings out & crest up,  this cockatoo came between the ravens & the possum.  Screeching & expanding his size by spreading those wings even more, he managed to push the ravens out & miracle of miracles, they gave up & flew off.

The cockatoo then moved away from the possum still making a performance until he had moved to a different part of the canopy.  What a hero!   Then the rest of the flock praised his bravery as loud as they could.

When we moved on, the possum was still standing in the same position probably getting over what was a near death experience & thinking he will never come out early again.

I am pleased that there are possums along the river.  We need to keep in mind that trees offer both food & a home to wildlife & plant trees that will serve our native wildlife well.  In other words, plant food producing trees as a first choice.

Big old trees are vitally important & I expect we will lose many of them to development.   Then the accommodation crisis for homes between birds & animals will become obvious.

This was a great outcome for the brushtail possum & three cheers for the brave cockatoo who put an end to the fight.

Cockatoo to the rescue!

Look at how fierce I am

Moving away now that the ravens have gone

Taking a new position now the possum is safe.

 

The tree to be removed.

Inner West Council – Marrickville have given notice that they intend to remove a Small-leafed peppermint (Eucalyptus nicholii) outside 80 Denison Road Dulwich Hill.

They give the following reasons –

  • “The tree is in poor structural condition, has recently suffered a significant branch failure and exhibits extensive stem decay which cannot be mitigated by pruning.
  • The tree in its current state presents an unacceptable risk to the public and property.”

Council say they will replace with a Yellow bloodwood (Corymbia eximia) in the 2018 planting season.

There was no Notification of Removal on the tree.

Yellow bloodwood is an Australian native with a round canopy that grows to 10-metres. It has scaly yellow-brown bark & broad, thick, curved, blueish-green leaves.  In spring, it produces large clusters of creamy flowers in clusters, which attract birds & insects.  Nice choice.

Small leaf Peppermint up for removal

The healthy Bottlebrush  outside 3 Derby Street Camperdown.

The healthy Small leaf lilly pilly outside 7 Derby Street Camperdown

The worst part of the footpath outside 7 Derby Street. You can also see an NBN channel.

Inner West Council – Marrickville have given notice that they intend to remove 4 trees in Camperdown.

Tree number 1:  A Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis ) outside 3 Derby Street Camperdown.

Tree number 2:  A Small leaf lilly pilly (Syzygium species) outside 7 Derby Street Camperdown.

The footpath is narrow & has two small, but healthy trees.   I was amazed that council even notified the community of their proposed removal because they appear to be under 5-metres.

I have noticed that people tend to walk with their dog down the road of this quiet back street rather than along the footpath.   If a car does come down Derby Street, it is easy to get off the road.

To lose both these trees to replace a footpath does not seem necessary to me.  I am pretty certain that the footpath can be replaced while keeping the trees.  To replace only one of these trees in this location is another loss despite the proposed planting of a spotted gum on O’Dea Reserve around the corner.  I am not a fan of removing trees from one location to plant in another.   If there is room to plant a Spotted gum in O-dead Reserve, Council should do it anyway.

Derby Street will be down one tree.  I think Council should be looking to find more planting places for street trees, not reducing them.

Then there is the issue of new tree plantings failing to survive & if the new tree does survive, the years it will take before it produces amenity & benefits.  Currently, the two healthy trees provide both amenity & benefits.

Neither tree had a Notification of Removal sign on them.

Tree number 3:  A Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina) outside 2 Ross Street Camperdown.  I first saw the Weeping fig in 2011 when I posted about O’Dea Reserve.  Even then I was surprised this tree was allowed to remain in this position because it was causing significant issues with the footpath.  Now it has moved on to damaging the brick fence.  I highly doubt this tree was planted by Council.  Weeping figs are sold as lush pot plants & many people decide they would be good to put in the ground.  The problem is that this tree has very strong roots & can grow into a large tree.  I think it should be removed.

This tree did not have a Notification of Removal sign on it.

Tree number 4:  A Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis) adjacent 2A Eton Street Camperdown.   I could not find this tree.  A resident tried to help me find the address to no avail.

Council give the following reasons for wanting to remove the above trees –

  • To undertake capital footpath reconstruction and kerb extension improvement works, including replacement tree planting.
  • To remove trees that are either inappropriate species, in poor condition and/or unsustainable in the planted location.”

Council says they will replace these trees with –

  • 1  Black tea tree (Melaleuca bracteata) in road tree planting outside 7 Derby Street.
  • 1  Spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) in O’Dea Reserve.

That is 4 trees removed to be replaced with two, which is not good in my opinion.  Council do not say when they will plant them.

Black tea tree is an Australian native & is usually described as a medium sized shrub, but can reach 10-metres.  It has rough dark grey bark & produces white flowers in winter/spring/summer.  The flowers are attractive to birds, insects & butterflies.

Spotted gum is an Australian native that grows straight & tall.  It is known for its beautiful bark that shed in summer leaving behind creamy smooth bark with spots of older bark. It has dark green leaves & produces small clusters of fragrant white flowers from autumn to winter, which attract birds, bees & other insects.   It is a good tree for wildlife.

The bottom of the weeping fig in Ross Street Camperdown.  It is not too often I will say this, but this is the wrong tree for this space.

The Save Marrickville group put this model together to give the community an idea of what the landscape will look like with all the high-rise buildings in Marrickville. The tall black and brown buildings at the top represent the 35 storeys for Carrington Road, the red and orange is around Marrickville Railway Station and the white represents single story houses. This model does not include the Victoria Road Precinct, which also has high-rise. It is pretty shocking to look at a proposed future Marrickville if the government and the developers get what they want.  Photo by Save Marrickville and used with thanks.

Community group ‘Save Marrickville’ [ www.savemarrickville.com.au ] has organised a march to peacefully protest the NSW State Government’s rezoning of Marrickville to a Priority Precinct.

Save Marrickville say on their Facebook page that –

  • “The rezoning of Marrickville will mean the mass destruction of heritage streets replaced with high density.
  • The destruction of Marrickville’s character.
  • High rise towers up to 35 storeys.
  • Eight storey apartment blocks next to your home.
  • More than 10,000 extra residents.
  • Almost no affordable housing.
  • No new schools or parks.
  • Roads & railways grid-locked.
  • Abolishing industrial land & 1,800 local jobs that exist now.

There is still time to change this!   Marrickville has not yet been rezoned.”

All you need to do is look at nearby Wolli Creek or Alexandria to see what is planned for Marrickville.  This level of development will change Marrickville for ever.  Dulwich Hill will also be hard hit by development.

This is an opportunity to tell the NSW state government that their plans are nothing less than over-development & will destroy this community.  Silence to the government means we approve.

The march will be –

WHEN:          Saturday 24th February 2018.

TIME:             12 noon.

WHERE:        Meet at Marrickville Town Hall & march a short distance down Marrickville Road to the Alex Trevallion Plaza located next to the Post Office Cafe.

SPEAKERS: Linda Burney MP – Federal Labor Member for Barton.

Mayor Byrne – Inner West Council.

Councillor Hesse – Greens Councillor for Marrickville Ward.

Kelsie Dadd – spokesperson for Save Marrickville.

No street trees this side of the road anymore – why?

I suddenly remembered that I did not post about the street tree removal at Unwins Bridge Road St Peters that I saw way back in December 2017.   Better late than never.

Around 12 – 15 street trees had been chopped down from the corner of Campbell street & along the eastern side of Unwins Bridge Road.   The trees were Evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithii) & most of them reached to the height limit below the powerlines. The area looks stark without them.  Luckily the residents there have big healthy fig trees across the road to provide a visual of green.

I spoke to two residents who said they came home from work to see the trees gone & had not received notification.  One resident was angry.  The other was feeling resigned.  None of us could work out why the trees were removed, though we did wonder whether it was connected to WestConnex, which barrels on down Campbell Street devouring everything in its way.

Street trees are vitally important in this location.  They always were because this is a main road, but the increased traffic of a motorway going through a densely populated suburb makes trees & their pollution management even more important.  Essential in my opinion.

So I thought it would be a good idea to revisit to see what has happened since I last went.  The answer is nothing.  The stumps are still in the ground & the footpath & houses are unprotected from the traffic zooming past.  It is hot too.  Such a shame.

I am hoping that in the next couple of months we will see replacement trees.   Surely the residents will not be expected to live without street trees.  Not there.

Another view further up Unwins Bridge Road

click here to follow Saving Our Trees on Twitter

  • Chainsaw! I should count how many times I hear them in my neighbourhood over the period of a year. #trees 1 day ago

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