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A couple of weeks ago we were cycling around the area. Waiting for a break in the traffic at the corner of Beach & Wardell Roads Dulwich Hill, I looked across & saw people working in what appeared to be a community garden in Gilbert Barry Reserve. A quick agreement between us & off we went to say hello. The people there gave us a lovely welcome & confirmed that this was a community garden. We chatted & were shown around their garden, which to my eyes was a lovely thing.
The Gilbert Barry Reserve was a poorly used & uninviting space until the Inner West Council gave it an overhaul finishing work around July 2016. The concept plan shows they were to remove 6 trees, plant 5 new trees & add three native garden beds.
The logs from trees removed are now lying around the far garden bed providing habitat for ground creatures. I like that Council is doing this as a norm these days, instead of feeding every tree through the wood-chipper.
Rotting logs are a part of the natural ecosystem. Dead wood not only continues to hold carbon, it also continues to be useful to the environment. The process of decay adds nutrients into the soil helping to grow fungi & moss amongst other plants. Small insects & slugs & worms love this environment. Most of us as children have picked up a log & watched the tiny creatures run from the light. I like to think of them as ‘hotels for insects & other creatures.’ Sandstone blocks have been scattered around the garden beds & these too offer a cool moist habitat for little creatures.
A picnic table setting & two other park benches have been installed. The benches are attractive & do not have a barrier in the middle of the bench to stop people lying down, which was great to see. I do not like defensive architecture & unfortunately, it is creeping into our locality.
A water fountain was in the plans, but I do not remember seeing one. I think it will be the first water fountain in the old Marrickville LGA. I think it would be wonderful for all parks to have a fountain to provide water for birds, as well as beauty for people. You can’t have great biodiversity without access to drinking water.
Apparently, a newly planted tree in the centre of the reserve died & is yet to be replaced.
Along the back fence of the reserve a community garden has been formed. A decent sized stretch of land has been set aside for this & lined by sandstone. ‘Gilbert’s Garden’ was formed around 9-months ago by a group of local residents. They have a range of vegetables & herbs growing. Apparently, they had a good harvest last season.
The group meets every second Sunday for a couple of hours. Not everyone comes to every meeting, but there seems to be a core group. They are looking for new members because the more people are, the less work for everyone. Plus, it is fun to meet new people & form new friendships.
We met three lovely members who were very welcoming to both of us. We both knew that invitations to join the community garden were real, not just words thrown out there.
It was pleasant to be there in the late afternoon sun chatting about the benefits of growing food. Other people were in the reserve sitting there reading, while others were watching the activity happening at the garden. From being a drab, empty green space, Gilbert Barry Reserve is now much improved, has beauty & usefulness & most importantly, offers inclusiveness & purpose for the community.
The more these community gardens are allowed to be formed in public spaces the better in my opinion. Despite Sydney getting larger & more populated, loneliness in the community is on the rise. Gardens like this bring people together & break down barriers. They not only help people learn how to grow food, they foster happiness & connection. Getting out in nature & fresh air is good for our health too.
The community garden has a Facebook group called, ‘Gilbert’s Garden.’ If you are interested in joining or would just like to help occasionally, you can contact them here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1491955174436769/
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.
Marrickville Council gave notice of their intention to remove an Evergreen oak (Quercus ilex) in Hoskins Park.
They give the following reasons for removal –
- “Tree has significant level of canopy dieback & deadwood & is in an advance state of decline.
- The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”
This is a devastating loss in my opinion. The tree is one of the very special trees in Hoskins Park & likely would have been planted when the park was formed in 1938. It has a beautiful shape & once had a large canopy.
Council says this tree will be “replaced with trees and understory from the Sydney turpentine-ironbark forest community as part of a combined Green Way planting initiative by 30 June.” Unfortunately there was not a ‘Notification of Removal’ sign on the tree.
Council does not say how many replacement trees they will be planting. They keep missing out on opportunities to declare the good work they are doing, which I do not understand.
The replacement turpentine-ironbark forest community & understorey is a good choice. This is an ‘endangered ecological community’ in the area & will support the great work re-vegetation done by the Friends of the Greenway. Just standing beside the greenway one can hear the number & variety of birds that live in this small corridor. It sounds great, as it should sound when there is habitat, food & water available. More trees & understorey will only widen the area of habitat & improve the lovely amenity of Hoskins Park.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 6th May 2016.
Last Friday I was notified by a resident that Marrickville Council had chopped down a number of street trees on Victoria Road Dulwich Hill nearest street for location reference is Nelson Street.
“Sadly the trees on Victoria Street Dully are being removed without warning or consult!! Healthy & young trees. Gone! A lady I know that lives there, stopped them from removing the one at the front of her house by then they had removed about three or more. She was so upset!!! She had called council & the guy wasn’t very helpful – tree team leader or something? So awful!! Apparently according to the resident, they were following a report from 2012. But that was the old trees. They were removed & replaced.
On Friday they removed the young trees that were planted as replacement!!!”
So I went to have a look today & found four stumps. I am presuming these trees were 5-metres or less in height. Marrickville Council chooses not to inform the community when they remove trees 5-metres or under, which I think is something that often causes anxiety, anger & distrust toward Council, as the above communication clearly shows. Also, it gives Council carte blanch for tree removal, as the Marrickville Street Tree Inventory Report found that the average height for our street trees across the whole of Marrickville municipality is just 5.2-metres. What’s 0.2-metres when choosing whether to inform the community or not?
What is left after the tree removal is a long stretch of nothing, but grass & the concrete footpath. At least two families are upset about the removal of the trees here. I hope Council plans to replace the trees this tree planning season.
In June 2015 I went to look at the works by Marrickville Council in Kays Avenue East laneway in Dulwich Hill. The lane travels between Kays Avenue East to Albermarle Street along the railway line.
I visited again recently to see the completed works & the planting done by the community. It looks good & is a big improvement from what was here before.
I love the curved path & the rain gardens, which have already been put to use with the recent wet weather. We all benefit whenever these kinds of spaces are greened up. One day I hope that this kind of environment is the norm around the inner west.
I last wrote about Jack Shanahan Reserve in April 2014, just after the park reopened after an upgrade. See – http://bit.ly/1VbnyNK
We ended up in Jack Shanahan Reserve this afternoon while enjoying a random bicycle ride around the area. I am pleased to say that this park is looking great & was full of children & young adults. Being a skater’s park it is very popular.
Immediately apparent was the new trees. I counted 19 of them. Some might have been planted with the upgrade last year, but I cannot remember so many new trees & feel sure that I would have mentioned them in my post.
I wrote, “A number of good-sized Pin Oaks have been planted around the picnic kiosk & also at points along the path. These trees continue what appears to be a theme in this park. I was pleased to see that none of the mature trees on the hill have been removed. In 12-months when the grasses have grown & the trees are larger the differences will be more apparent.”
The new trees are Eucalypts & others, but not Pin oaks. They have been planted in the lawn area alongside the railway line. They already look good & very soon their canopy will block out the passing trains, plus provide shade & habitat for wildlife.
The native grasses have grown & filled out garden beds. It all looks lush & inviting – a park one would want to visit.
Unfortunately I saw young people throwing glass bottles at three Australian White Ibis who had come to inspect the barbeque. I am not a fan of signs, but I think Council could do well to install a sign here to tell the community that these birds are native & protected by law. It may help eliminate unnecessary cruelty to wildlife that have an equal right to be in the park as people do. A sign may also help young people educate others who do the wrong thing.
Tree number 1:
Marrickville Council has given notification of their intention to remove a Bracelet Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca armillaris) outside 583 New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill.
They give the following reasons for removal –
- “Tree is in decline with significant canopy dieback.
- Lean presents a significant obstruction and is a risk to public and property.
- The tree is unsustainable in its current condition.”
Council says they will replace with a Manchurian Pear (Pyrus ussuriensis) as part of the 2016 Street Tree Planting Program.
The Manchurian Pear is a deciduous ornamental tree that grows to approximately 9-metres tall by 7-metres wide. Their leaves turn red in autumn & they produce small white flowers in late winter to early spring. The tree produces inedible, greenish-yellow, globose fruit up to 3 cm in diameter.
As far as I am aware these trees have no benefit to wildlife, though perhaps the bees like the flowers.
Gardening Australia says the following about Manchurian Pear trees –
“The tree has inherent branch weaknesses, which means that it can fall apart & in a home garden that’s a considerable safety problem. The biggest problem is included bark, which is where the bark grows into the junction between the branches, and means you don’t really get good, firm attachment. The result is that the branch has simply peeled off and broken. Although good bark is produced to heal the wound, it’s still an unsightly feature and unsafe when the branch breaks. Another problem is a V-crotch or an acute branch structure. It’s where one branch has grown quickly and with the weight of foliage it acts like a lever and that can easily lead to a break.” See – http://ab.co/1DBD68U
The Bracelet Honey Myrtle tree is one of those old gnarly street trees that many love. Unfortunately this tree is in decline, though it is not dead yet. I wonder whether a tree growing in these conditions with only whatever rainwater it could catch could respond to fertilizing, watering & mulching.
I feel regret when a lovely old tree that has received very little care over its life gets chopped down before any attempts to save it. I consider this a big loss, as it is one of the nicest street trees along this stretch of road.
To replace this food-producing native with an ornamental Manchurian Pear that does nothing for wildlife is a shame.
Tree number 2: A Small-leafed Peppermint (Eucalyptus nicholii) outside 16 Ross Street Dulwich Hill.
Council gives the following reasons for removal –
- “Subject tree is in decline/dying.
- Identified for removal under Street Tree Inventory 2012.
- Tree in its present state poses an unacceptable risk to public and property.”
Unfortunately this lovely tree is not doing well. It is the last big tree in the street that seems almost bare of street trees.
Council says they will replace it with a Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) as part of the 2016 Street Tree Planting Program. Another loss of a native for an ornamental tree.
The deadline for submissions for both trees is Friday 14th August 2015.
I went to have a look at the work Marrickville Council are doing at Kays Avenue East laneway in Dulwich Hill. The lane travels between Kays Avenue East to Albermarle Street along the railway line.
Council is making this into a ‘living lane’ & putting in rain gardens to reduce flooding that occurs here regularly. The rain gardens will filter the stormwater before it travels to the Cooks River.
I noticed a drain nearby had a painted stencil informing that stormwater in this location went to the Cooks River. I’d like to see these on every drain. The more of these around, the more people will get to understand that stormwater can travel kilometres before reaching the river.
The pathway design through the lane is curved, which softens the feel of the area. There is space either side of the path where Council is intending to landscape & plant new trees.
There will be a community planting day when the work is completed. If you want to participate, send an email to email@example.com
There will also be new parking spaces in Kays Avenue & a new cycleway linking Albermarle Street with School Parade.
I have always appreciated the planting outside the fence line of the adjoining property in the Kays Avenue East laneway, which I presume was done by a resident. Their work added beauty & now Marrickville Council’s work would be significantly adding to this.
So far the laneway works looks terrific. Once completed, I think it will be a bonus to people & wildlife. I will post an update when the works are completed.
Marrickville Council has given notice of their intention to remove a Small-Leafed Peppermint (Eucalyptus nicholii) outside 17 Eltham Street Dulwich Hill.
They give the following reasons for removal –
- “Major branch failure during high winds resulting in approx. 40% loss of canopy leaving the tree unstable.
- The tree in its present state poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”
Council says they will replace with a Chinese Pistachio (Pistacia chinensis) in the current 2015 Street Tree Planting Program.
The Chinese pistachio is native to China, Taiwan & the Philippines. It is fast-growing, deciduous & puts on a red display in autumn. It reaches a height of between 6-10 metres. Female trees produce berries that are attractive to birds.
The Queensland Government website says, – “Chinese pistachio (Pistacia chinensis) is regarded as an environmental weed in New south Wales & the ACT, & is also a potential environmental weed or “sleeper weed” in other parts of southern Australia.” See – http://bit.ly/190nZHG
It is beyond my understanding why Marrickville Council chooses to plant risky non-native trees when there are so many suitable Australian native trees.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 8th May 2015.
After a long & solid campaign by the community, Marrickville Council is proposing to classify Hoskins Park as a Heritage Item & classify Hoskins Park & surrounds as a Heritage Conservation Area.
The deadline for submissions is Thursday 18th December 2014. See – http://bit.ly/1I6pv8I
You can watch a short video of beautiful Hoskins park here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CoNGNX09Vc
Recently while looking at a street tree to be removed in Davis Street Dulwich Hill I came across Waratah Mills Light Rail Station. I think it may be the greenest leafiest railway station in Marrickville LGA. I cannot say for sure because I have not been to all of them, but I will.
I entered from the cul-de-sac of Davis Street, which in itself is a very pretty area. One side of Davis Street has tiered garden areas, hedges & a number of very tall trees. Houses are on the other side & beautiful heritage Hoskins Park is across the road. The entrance to the Waratah Mills Light Rail Station is subtle. I had no idea it was there until I was actually in the street.
There is a large attractive concrete & wood slat bench at the entrance. On & below the bench are two small life-size sculptures of Long-nosed Bandicoots, which live in the habitat along the light rail line (called the Greenway). Long-nosed Bandicoots are critically endangered in the Inner West, so The Greenway is of extreme importance. The sculptures are very beautiful & are a perfect example of using art as an educator. I was impressed. These would be a delightful sight to see on the daily commute to & from work.
Credit goes to the Inner West Environment Group & to Railcorp for creating such a beautiful area in & around the Waratah Mills Light Rail Station.
To enter the Waratah Mills Light Rail Station from Davis Street you walk along a 15-20 metre raised metal bridge. On either side are small areas of really lovely bush. There are lots of trees & even a nesting box is visible offering passive education about the importance of homes for wildlife.
I saw people leave the train & then lean against the railing looking at the bush for a few minutes. This must be a pleasant way to end a working day.
The Greenway volunteers have done an awesome job here. It is obvious how wonderful it would be to have bicycle & foot access along the whole corridor from the Cooks River to Iron Cove. Hopefully, the state government will fund The Greenway soon. This route is needed for safe travel for cyclists/pedestrians & the benefits to the community would be even greater still with this area a green corridor full of wildlife.
The actual light rail station is very attractive & clean. Railcorp has planted many trees & native plants around the station. They have also planted trees & created verge gardens at the entry in Weston Street. It looks terrific now & in a couple of years it will look even better.
The work to green the station & surrounds clearly shows what can be done with our streets & parks. There have been numerous recent studies proving that green environments have a positive impact on the mental & physical health of the community. Anyone who uses this mode of transport will benefit from the green environment & this has to be applauded.
The back walls of the station buildings have images of wildlife, which add beauty, as well as educate on the importance of wildlife. I personally love any public art that encourages people to acknowledge & respect nature & think this approach to public art is underutilized in Marrickville LGA.
There were plenty of bike racks too. I also noticed the attractive bins. They were being used because I did not see one bit of litter. Again this shows that people are respecting the natural environment that surrounds & is a part of this rail station.
Everything about the Waratah Mills Light Rail Station screams respect for the natural environment & the wildlife that lives there. It is a great example of how trees, plants, even a small area of bush can enhance an area & make it a lovely peaceful place to be in. The more our municipality is made greener with trees, verge gardens & traffic islands, the nicer it will look. Personally, I think the days of concrete as a quick solution are over. More of this please.