David Street Marrickville - one of the best streets in Marrickville LGA & a result of Council's decision making at least 8 decades ago

David Street Marrickville – one of the best streets in Marrickville LGA & a result of Council’s decision-making at least 8 decades ago

Another street in Marrickville.  No overhead powerlines & footpaths of equal size on both sides of the road.

Another street in Marrickville. No overhead powerlines on the left & no street trees. The footpaths of equal size on both sides of the road.

Marrickville Council has released a report on their recent community consultation regarding our urban forest.  They gathered this information in four different ways –

  • Telephone survey of 400 residents.
  • Web survey – 391 people took part.
  • Stakeholder workshop with the Environment Committee & the Cooks River Committee.
  • Review of Customer Service complaints & requests regarding street trees.

The majority of the 400 residents who participated in the telephone survey believed Marrickville LGA to be attractive.  More than half said this was because of trees & plants on the streets.  The rest believe the best way to increase attractiveness was to increase trees, plants & greenery.   A whopping 20% did not want street trees in Marrickville Local Government Area.

Those surveyed had the following preferences for street trees –

  • Evergreen & native Australian trees or trees endemic to Marrickville LGA.
  • A mix of two or more species in the same street.
  • Between 10-15 metres in height.
  • Broad spreading thin canopy that provides filtered shade.

The online survey had similar results with more people concerned about care & maintenance of street trees.  Some reported problems with street trees.

Council’s review of complaints & requests regarding street trees showed that 39% concerned pruning a street tree, 18% reporting a hazardous street tree & 16% requesting a street tree be removed.

No information was given about the outcomes from the stakeholder workshop with the Environment Committee & the Cooks River Committee.

The Draft Street Tree Master Plan ideas in brief were –

  • Increasing the canopy cover.
  • The identification of many new planting sites, particularly planting in-road & in industrial areas.
  • Planting medium stature trees, which are larger than what is currently the norm for almost half of our street trees.
  • Replacing short stature trees with medium stature trees over time.
  • Planting locally indigenous & native tree species to improve biodiversity.
  • Include water sensitive urban design in identified sites.
  • Planting the right tree for the right place to increase shade, while not blocking solar access.
  • Reconsider planting street trees in verges less than 1.5-metres wide.

Although the Tree Inventory identified 263 public tree species across Marrickville LGA, which sounds good, over 45% came from only five species. These are –

  1. Callistemon viminalis (Weeping Bottlebrush)
  2. Melaleuca bracteata (Black Tea Tree)
  3. Tristaniopsis laurina (Water Gum) – very slow growing,
  4. Fraxinus griffithii (Evergreen Ash) – classified as a new & emerging weed in NSW.  Both the Global Compendium of Weeds & ‘CRC for Australian Weed Management’ classifies Fraxinus griffithii as an environmental weed, &
  5. Lagerstroemia indica (Crepe myrtle).

The report went on to say under the heading of ‘Planting Trees for the Future,’ that Council will –

  • Improve the range of tree species planted.
  • Increase the urban forest canopy by planting in industrial areas.
  • Plant taller larger growing trees on the side of the street that has no powerlines &
  • Investigate in-road planting opportunities.
  • They will also investigate the installation of Aerial Bundled Cabling to allow trees to grow around powerlines.

I must say that I am pleased with these results.  Findings such as planting locally indigenous & Australian native trees did not surprise me, nor did planting evergreen trees.  The number one complaint I hear about street trees is leaf litter.   It is not an exaggeration to say many people despise leaf litter.  I’ve lost count of the people who have told me they want a street tree removed because it drops leaves.

16 per cent of residents requesting a street tree be removed is quite high a number when you think about it.  Hopefully this will change for the better with Council’s plan to plant the right tree in the right place.  There was no information regarding how many of these requests are granted.

I was shocked that one fifth of those surveyed did not want street trees.  This affirms the urgency for Council to educate the community about the value of trees.  If people knew that trees increase learning ability in girls, calm down children with ADHD as well as adults with dementia & reduce violence as well as many other benefits, they might see trees differently.

If the 20 per cent got their wish & we did not have street trees, property values across the whole municipality would plummet.  Recent research has shown that respiratory illnesses, heart disease & fatal heart attacks would increase significantly.    Depressive & anxiety illnesses would also skyrocket.

In Marrickville municipality we cannot afford NOT to have street trees because there are not enough trees on private property to make up the difference.  Both people & wildlife rely on the many benefits street trees provide.

It would be great if Council could continue their education about the benefits of the urban forest with every opportunity that arises.  Certainly the information, stories & photos about verge gardens in Marrickville Matters is having a positive impact with what seems to be a boom of enthusiasm towards & the actual creation of new verge gardens across Marrickville LGA.

I love that Council will be investigating opportunities for in-road planting.   All the best streets have these & although some car parking spaces are lost, the benefits are worth it in my opinion.  In-road street trees definitely increase property values as well as improve livability.

I am also very pleased that taller growing trees will be planted on the side of the road where there are no powerlines.   It just makes sense.  That industrial areas will be planted with trees is also a terrific outcome & will most certainly make these areas much nicer for the workers, as well as increase food sources & habitat for our wildlife.   It may also reduce sick leave according to research about the impact a view of trees has in work environments.  More trees mean more birds & more birds makes for a nicer living environment.

Council is offering the community another opportunity to give feedback on this report.  You can download the report here – http://yoursaymarrickville.com.au/document/show/267

Go to www.yoursaymarrickville.com.au or write to Marrickville Council Marrickville Council council@marrickville.nsw.gov.au or send a letter.

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 30th August 2013.

Much of Stanmore has lovely streetscapes, but there are still streets like this one.

Much of Stanmore has lovely streetscapes, but there are still streets like this one.

Part industrial, part residential in Marrickville.

Part industrial, part residential in Marrickville.  It could look so much better.

Old Canterbury Road - so much concrete

Old Canterbury Road – so much concrete.  It’s ugly & it doesn’t need to be this way.

Salisbury Road was pretty bare in the 1980's.  Look at it now.  Much of it is very beautiful.  Big trees have been planted even though it is a high traffic road.

Salisbury Road Stanmore was pretty bare in the early 1980’s. Look at it now. Much of it is quite beautiful. Big trees have been planted, even though it is a high traffic road.

 

 

 

Advertisements