The arrow points to the street tree that was removed yesterday. It has leaned over the grass verge like this for many years. The Eucalypt on the right lived on private property & was removed last December.

On the corner of John Street & Newington Road Stanmore (though technically it could be Petersham) lived an old & twisted tree that was different.  This tree added much interest to the streetscape & was loved by the local residents who described it as graceful & romantic.

It was an old tree with a thick twisted trunk that grew sideways along the grass verge almost touching the ground & its canopy swooped gracefully upward.  When I first saw it I was surprised that it had been  allowed to live because of its shape.  I think it was an Australian Tea tree, also know as Ti tree.

Yesterday it was unceremoniously chopped down & fed into the waiting woodchipper.  Why?  I can’t tell you because there was no notification of removal on Marrickville Council’s website, nor had a sign been attached to the tree to inform the community that this tree was to be removed.  The community wasn’t given a chance to lobby for it to be retained.

I was told that the lean of the tree had become more pronounced in recent days so I guess this is why Council removed it.  Even if this tree had been left in place it couldn’t have gone anywhere or hurt anyone because it had nowhere to go, except to lie on the grass verge. If by chance it was to move further it could have only ever fallen into the large gutter that itself has a pronounced dip & the gutter would have held the trunk in place.  It was not dangerous as far as anyone could tell.

Showing the stump & the new footpath along John Street

Last December 2011 a towering Gum tree in the property of the house next door to the street tree that was chopped down was removed.  I don’t know the reason, but roots were probably involved because Council recently laid a new footpath outside that house & beside the tree that was chopped down yesterday.  Perhaps the new footpath & the drenching of rain we have had recently loosened the ground making this tree slump to the ground because of its own weight.

This reminded me of a post that I read on Save Our Figs of a mature Fig tree that had fallen over in Bradfield Park in Milsons Point.  Instead of chopping it down North Sydney Council employed an Arborist to help the tree. The Fig was craned back into position & braced to stop it from falling again. This allowed the tree to re-grow the roots that had broken & reestablish itself firmly into the ground.  6 years later & Bradfield Park still has its great Fig tree.  You can read the post & view the Arborist’s photos of the Bradfield Park Fig tree here – http://saveourfigs.com/2011/12/30/bradfield-fig-30-12-2011/

If this could be done to save a Fig tree, I have absolutely no doubt that this wee tree in Stanmore could have been propped back into its usual position & allowed to remain in place.  Instead it was chopped down.

The email that I received notifying me of the tree’s demise said the following – “This tree posed no threat to anyone.  It had always been leaning.  It’s shape & lean could not go anywhere!  So why have they so quickly got rid of it?   Why didn’t they put up a notice to say what they were going to do?  Why didn’t they see how beautiful it is & actually prop it up?!  I know the answers here!  It is not in their realm!  It’s too hard, or inconvenient, or maybe they don’t even consider it!  It is a very big tragedy to me that I will feel for some time.”

Marrickville LGA is a big place & I rely on others to tell me of street trees that are chopped down.  I suspect that many more street & park trees are removed than those I find out about.  It disturbs me that a significant amount of public trees are removed without Council going through the process of community consultation.

I know for a fact that it distresses people when they do not understand why a tree needed to be removed & makes them feel powerless that they are not offered an opportunity to lobby or be involved in this process. I also believe that removing public trees without going through the usual process has a negative impact towards Council with residents viewing them as an organization that cannot be trusted.

The remaining stump. The white in the top right hand corner is the new concrete footpath.

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