Four Robinia trees to be removed on the corner of Herbert and New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill. By my observations, this is a popular place for people.

Four Robinia trees (and perhaps one power pole) to be removed on the corner of Herbert and New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill. By my observations, this is a popular meeting place for people who were seeking the shade on this warm winter’s day.

Inner West Council (nee Marrickville) have given notification that they intend to remove 5 x Robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia) trees outside 366 New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill

Council gives the following reason for removal –

  • “Trees to be removed as part of an upgrade project. They are in poor condition & at the end of their useful life.”

They say the trees will be replaced with “super advanced 400L container size tree Liriodendron tulipifera installed in structural soil to provide optimal soil volumes.”

I can have a guess at what “structural soil” & “optimal soil volumes” mean, but why not write the reason in plain English so that everyone in the community can understand?  Industry jargon always isolates & alienates those not in the industry & this applies to all industries.  The target audience is the community, not other arborists & town planners.

Of importance is our urban forest will not be increasing fast when five trees are removed to be replaced with only one tree.

The Liriodendron tulipifera is a deciduous tree native to North America.  It produces green/yellow flowers in spring & yellow autumn color before the leaves are dropped.  It grows in an upright form & can reach 20-metres in 10-15 years.   Liriodendron tulipifera are planted along the Marrickville Road shopping strip.

I went to have a look & could only see four Robinia trees in this location.  One was a power pole with a streetlight, so easily mistaken I suppose. Maybe the pole will be removed as well.

I wanted to call this post ‘A lost opportunity.’

In 2015 Marrickville Council did research to garner information about the urban heat island effect & the impact of heatwaves in Dulwich Hill.  They also created a Thermal Map, which showed the hot areas in Dulwich Hill.

Not only was New Canterbury Road nominated as ‘hot spot’ by the community, but the thermal map showed that this perception was indeed correct.  The corner of Herbert Street & New Canterbury Road is right up there in terms of excessive heat at between 32.9 – 36.8 degrees – the maximum heat shown in the thermal map.

The same corner was also in the second highest area of a study of the ‘population vulnerable to heat stress.’

So knowing that this location is really hot & is in an area of population deemed vulnerable to heat stress, Council only plans to plant one tree?  Seriously!

The location at corner of Herbert Street & New Canterbury Road has an unusually large streetscape space.  It’s not often Council gets an opportunity to work in public street space that is around 5 x 20 metres.  The corner juts out in a wide swoop.  Currently it is a wide space of concrete with the four trees, one pole & two bench seats & still leaving plenty of room that is open-air concrete.

To plant only one tree is a missed opportunity for Council to create something lovely to not only beautify the streetscape, but to also lower the heat island effect here.

I had difficulty taking photos of the trees that did not include people because they kept rushing into the space to sit on the seats or to stand in the shade.  At one stage there were fifteen people under the trees.  This shows that this is a popular meeting space for the community – another reason why more than one tree should be the upgrade project’s target.

A busy café is on this corner.  People buy something from the café & take it outside.  The café itself, does not seem to get relief from the afternoon sun.  In Sydney winter really only started yesterday after a summer-like autumn that broke all previous temperature records.  It was cold today, but still hot enough outside for people to be actively seeking shade.

This idea that we need deciduous trees for the winter months belongs to the pre-climate change past. Even the shops are despairing because of record low sales of winter clothing.

In my opinion there is room for five decent sized trees speed spread out over this site, plus landscaping works that incorporate the current seating.  Anything less means that Council knows the area is hot, but is not willing to take steps to mitigate the heat & make it an attractive & useful space for the community.   Such a shame.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 1st June 2016.

Showing the corner from Herbert Street

Showing the corner from Herbert Street.  This is a large space and much good can be done with it to make it a beautiful and useful space for the community.

Showing the corner from New Canterbury Road. Again you can see how wide this section is.

Showing the corner from New Canterbury Road. Again you can see how wide this section is.

Looking behind and up New Canterbury Road. No street trees, so the opportunity for trees on the corner becomes even more visually obvious.

Looking behind and up New Canterbury Road. No street trees, so the opportunity for trees on the corner becomes even more visually obvious.

 

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