Marrickville Council's photo of the street tree outside 3/195 Wardell Road voted to be removed.  Photo used with thanks.

Marrickville Council’s photo of the street tree outside 3/195 Wardell Road voted to be removed. Photo used with thanks.

This was the Council Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.  Note: MC = Marrickville Council.

The Councillors & Wards are as follows – LABOR:  Iskandar/Central, Haylen/North, Tsardoulias/West, Woods/South. GREENS:  Phillips/Central, Ellsmore/North, Brooks/West, Leary/South.  LIBERALS: Gardener/North, Tyler/West. INDEPENDENT:  Macri/Central, Hanna/South.

Notice of Motion by Clr Leary   Community request for park – High Street & Ruby Street, Marrickville One resident spoke:  The proposal is to remove the road reservation restriction. Because of the restriction MC hasn’t put much into this space & it’s become weed infested.  Because of MC’s support, residents are weeding this area & we have started to get to know each other. I think it’s important to be taken to the community.  Names I am suggesting are: Four Sisters Park – after Ruby, Harriet, Charlotte & Myrtle or Quarry Park. Making it a park will improve the amenity of the area.

Clr Leary:  One of the staff’s suggestions is the need for a report. I don’t think we need a report, just to give staff direction.  No way a road will be built here.  It’s a steep cliff with stairs.  I think we could get on with it. Motion – for designation of community land with a Plan of Management.  Clr Woods: I endorse Clr Leary’s comments.  There will be no road down there.  It will become a fantastic little park because it has been neglected.

Clr Hanna:  I’m voting for it, but we are taking the consultation out of it.  We are not asking those next to it.  To do something without telling the residents is not something we have done before.  Staff: We would normally do community consultation, but it’s up to the Councillors whether they go ahead.  Clr Leary: I am always happy with community consultation. My drafting didn’t reflect that.   Vote: unanimous.

Removal of street tree outside 3/195 Wardell Road Petersham (I think the tree is in Dulwich Hill.  No suburb name was given in the papers) From Council’s report: The Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad Leaved Paperbark) tree is considered to be in good condition & health with no visible structural issues. It is located under powerlines & has been continuously lopped by Ausgrid. This has affected the trees shape & habit, but it still provides good canopy & contributes to the overall landscape amenity of the area.  Damage to the front brick wall of 195 Wardell Road is evident, as is some lifting of the footpath, but the footpath damage is not considered excessive & could be reasonably repaired and/or made safe. It is considered that the single skin low brick wall (which appears to have been constructed on a substandard single brick footing) is not a “significant” structure & that it can be repaired by reasonable & practical means enabling a healthy & viable street tree to be retained.”

One resident spoke:  3 residents want his tree removed. For the last 10-years we have wanted to repair the heritage fence, but two builders say it can’t be done.  Two criteria are met – high damage to a significant structure of private property & front wall is damaged by roots & preventing owners from doing important underpinning work.  The staff say the damage is not excessive. The footpath is damaged & hundreds of people walk here. It’s inevitable that this tree will be removed because it has grown above the powerline.  The residents are prepared to pay $2,800 to remove the trees & replant another tree.

Clr Tsardoulias:  This tree is inappropriate & causing significant damage to the building & footpath.  It’s evident that the footpath has lifted & cracked.  We could be liable for damage to this property.  This is about getting the basic infrastructure right & moving on.

Clr Ellsmore:  I understood last year we talked passionately about retaining trees when they damage the footpath.  Staff:  It’s impossible to gauge future damage.  We can repair the footpath, but it will be ongoing.  Has staff investigated the footpath? Staff:  No.  Cutting the root will destabilize the tree.

Clr Brooks:  When we had a council workshop we were told that damage is caused by younger trees & that older trees have stopped growing.  Staff: In similar circumstances we provide reconstruction of the footpath.  Clr Gardener:  The speaker says damage is caused inside the building. Do you have evidence?  Staff:  No. It would change my view.

Clr Phillips:  I foreshadow that we get that information from staff.  This is a healthy, significant tree doing minor damage.  The crack in the fence could be fixed. This is a significant tree & a valuable asset for the community.  I don’t believe MC should remove it unless sure that it is causing more damage.  We should take the staff’s advice & the report.

Mayor Macri:  This is a significant issue.  Ausgrid has been hacking it. Once the crown reaches the powerline, the less tree you have.  It has a large canopy. The roots reach out to the dripline. It’s a renewal issue. We should replace with a number of trees. Managing risk is when people start coming with claims.

Clr Hanna:  I support taking the tree out.  I always put myself in the same position.  I’ve been saying 10-years ago that MC has been planting the wrong trees.

Clr Ellsmore:  I would change my opinion if I could see a report on the damage [to the building].  Other Councils find innovative ways to retain their trees.  One month will not make a difference.  The tree is healthy.

Vote: to remove the tree – Mayor Macri, Clrs Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Haylen, Woods, Hanna & Tyler.  Against – Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks, Ellsmore & Gardiner.  The tree will be removed.

Marrickville Council's photo of the street tree outside 3/195 Wardell Road voted to be removed.  Photo used with thanks.

Marrickville Council’s photo of the street tree outside 3/195 Wardell Road voted to be removed. Photo used with thanks.