This is a common sight throughout Marrickville LGA

This was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr Iskandar. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

Marrickville Urban Forest Policy & Strategy – I spoke in favour of the policy.  Clr Phillips recommended that the community consultation be extended until 2nd February 2011 & this policy be referred to the Environment Committee before coming back to Council. He said it was a very good & thoughtful report & that he was pleased with its direction & overall goals of increasing large tree numbers & the overall canopy & recognizing the benefits of trees to the environment, health & house prices. He said he hoped Council would get lots of good feedback from the community. Clr Wright said it was a good document compared to the previous one, treating trees as assets is a good move & a Register will allow Council to control the trees it has & know how long they have to live.  She said that Marrickville LGA will look a lot greener within 10-15 years.

Clr Peters said it was great to have an Urban Forest Policy & to follow it up with the Street Tree Policy. She made an amendment that interim bids for Councillor identified actions be included in the document. She said all the priorities have been set without community consultation & Councillor consultation & some of the actions may need to move up the list of priorities, but most won’t be able to be done because Marrickville Council doesn’t have the money.  She said she wanted Councillors to have a meeting to decide priorities after the community consultation had closed and before the budget process.

Clr O’Sullivan said Council should encourage community experts to contribute in community consultation, that the Notice of Removal of trees needed to be looked at & that Council needed a street tree masterplan.  She said Council needed to draw the community’s attention to the Urban Forest Policy including those who see trees more as an impediment.  Clr Olive supported the overall policy & the amendments by Clrs Phillips & Peters, but said he wasn’t comfortable with Council’s use of the phrase “overly mature trees.”   Clr Kontellis said it was not a policy, it was a strategy & that it didn’t have all the details, but it did look at strategies. This should be made clear during the community consultation as people will be looking for a level of detail that this plan is not meant to give. She said she thought the Urban Forest Policy was fantastic for Marrickville & that it was innovative & sustainable.

Clr Thanos supported the Urban Forest Policy, but said if a street tree was causing damage to a property, Council should support the owners, not the tree.  He also said that this policy was talking about large sums of money & that having a policy without allocating a budget means nothing.  Carried unanimously.

Here ends the Report for this week. I will post about the details of the Draft Urban Forest Policy in the future.