Marrickville Council has put up proposed plans for 3 areas in Marrickville LGA –
- Calvert Street car park – corner of Calvert Street & Illawarra Road Marrickville,
- Dulwich Hill Station shopping area – Wardell Road, Dudley Street & Bedford Crescent
- St Peters Triangle – between Campbell Road, Princes Highway & the Bankstown/Illawarra railway line.
From the website - “Council is undertaking a Public Domain Study project from mid 2012 to mid 2013. The Study will assist Marrickville Council in improving the look and feel of Council-run public spaces such as streets, lanes, footpaths and urban squares like Trevallion Plaza, throughout the Marrickville Council area.” I think it is great that Marrickville Council allows community input via their extensive & busy website ‘Your Future Your Say.’
Marrickville Council’s plan for the Calvert Street car park would require removing 7 mature Podocarpus trees & 2 Firewheel trees & replacing them with 9 palm trees.
I was shocked when I saw the photo of the plans. Palm trees create very little shade so would have a minimal impact on lowering the heat island effect created by the bitumen surface of the car park. In my opinion, this is not planning for a hotter future, which is exactly what the City of Sydney Council is currently doing.
Female Podocarpus trees produce oval berry-like fruit that provide food for birds & flying foxes & perhaps this is why Marrickville Council is planning on removing these trees. They are not the obvious choice of tree for a car park because of their annual dropping of fruit. However, these trees have been in this location for at least a couple of decades & one would wonder why the plan to remove so many mature & healthy trees that are beneficial to wildlife at this stage of their life.
Podocarpus are also attractive trees with a substantial shade-producing canopy & their presence makes the Calvert Street car park look one of the better car parks in Marrickville LGA as well as adding greenery to this section of Illawarra Road, which is almost tree-free.
Palm trees also create fruit that is eaten by birds. The trees drop bucket loads of hard fruit each year & anyone who has one of these trees will tell you that they spend ages ripping out sprouting palm trees from under & around the tree. These must be the easiest trees to grow from seed that nature ever produced & they are very quick growing.
Most importantly, palm trees also shed huge fronds that could knock a person out if the heavy wooded end of the frond lands on their head. The fronds could also damage cars if they land on them. A mature palm can have fronds of 4-5 metres in length.
I fear that if this plan goes ahead, we will have a hot desolate car park filled with what one woman I knew called, ‘living telegraph poles.’
One last thing – a pair of Magpies have lived in this car park for years & I think this is important. They won’t be able to make a new home in palm trees.