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Google map of Marrickville Golf Course. Mahoney Reserve is at the bottom right of the map. 

A view of Marrickville Golf Course from across the Cooks River

This is important community consultation & something we should all participate in even if we are not a golfer.  As our area gets more developed, places like this & the Golf Club’s activities are going to become even more important for the community.

The Inner West Council is developing a new Plan of Management & landscape Master Plans for the Marrickville Golf Course & the Dibble Avenue Waterhole, which will decide the future use & facilities over the next 10-years.  It must be easier for Council to do things over a ten-year period, but for me, I worry about this length of time because our community & area is changing so rapidly.

Marrickville Golf Course covers 20-hectares, most of which is owned by the Inner West Council.  The Marrickville Golf Club leases the land from Council.  A condition of the lease is that they provide public access to the open spaces of the golf course.

There are many in the community that avail themselves of walking or cycling through the golf course because it is one of the best natural areas in the locality, especially as it runs alongside the Cooks River.   Apart from the main road in & the path to the bridge over the river, there is no concrete & this makes it a great place to walk.

This won’t last for too long though because as part of their ‘Cooks River Parklands Plan of Management & Master Plan’ that was ratified in 2016, Council wants to install a new pedestrian crossing on Illawarra Road from Steel Park to a new 3-metre wide concrete shared pathway along the river’s edge in Mahoiney Reserve after they have completed naturalization work on the river bank. The first stage will stop at the golf course, but Council would like to connect this path to the bridge over the Cooks River in Marrickville Golf Course.  This is despite the 3-metre shared pathway just across on the other side of the river.

The Dibble Avenue Waterhole is heritage listed & is also a Priority Biodiversity Site.  It is an important refuge for wildlife & aquatic plants.

Marrickville Golf Club uses water from the Dibble Avenue Waterhole to irrigate the golf course & has done so since the 1940s.

Council says that the development of the plans provides opportunities to introduce best practice sustainable land & environmental management for both sites.”

“The process will look at –

  • ways to improve safe public access to the golf course.
  • ways to increase everyone’s enjoyment of the spaces.
  • alternative water sources for the golf course.
  • acceptable limits on water extraction[from Dibble Avenue Waterhole] into the future.”

Council is holding onsite opportunities for the community to learn more & give Council feedback at two locations.

  1. Marrickville Golf Club Carpark on Saturday 2ndJune 2018 from 1pm-3pm.
  2. Mahoney Reserve beside the Amenities Block on Saturday, 16thJune 2018 from 1pm-3pm.

If you don’t want to attend either of these sessions, you can still participate by completing a survey on Your Say Inner West by Monday 25thJune 2018.  See – https://bit.ly/2LtnPNQ

Lastly, there is no mention in the survey of Council’s plans to halve the Marrickville Golf Course from 18 holes to 9 holes to make room for more sporting fields.  See –  https://bit.ly/2GRxf28    

Dibble Avenue Waterhole – a biodiversity hotspot & returned to being one of Marrickville’s really beautiful historic places. There is a microbat box on the pier on the left.

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Showing the row of palm trees opposite the pool.  Note the gum tree closest to the right. Is this another indication that the palms will be removed?  I love gum trees, but once they drop a branch, many in the community demand the offending tree be removed because they are seen as dangerous.

Showing one of the paths being worked on.

Inner West Council has given notice of their intention to remove 5 “small trees adjacent to paths to be reconstructed this financial year.”

They gave the following reasons –

  • “The two figs are in very poor condition & have not improved over the last ten years.
  • The two water gums are impacted with the pathway reconstruction & widening.
  • The palm tree in the central rondel to allow for a larger canopy tree to be planted & enhance the views along the path axes.”

They say they will replace these trees this year between April to June 2018 with-

  • 1 × Ficus rubiginosa (1000L)
  • 1 × Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ (300L)
  • 1 × Eucalyptus pilularis (75L)
  • 1 × Ficus macrophylla (100L)

I went to have a look at the trees a couple of weekends ago & as far as I could make out, they had all been removed.  The areas where work was happening had been fenced off with cyclone fencing & shade cloth making it hard to see what was happening. The only tree I could identify with confidence was the palm in the central rondel & that had already been removed.

Prior to amalgamation Marrickville Council used to give 3-weeks for community consultation concerning tree removal.  I suspect now the new Inner West Council puts up notification as they start work or very close to the commencement of work.  I am not sure yet.  Certainly, the way they now do community consultation has changed.  They no longer give a period of notification with a deadline to contact the Council.

Two trees are being removed to widen the path.  I do not know whether the trees were located on one side of the path or one tree on each side.  Council does not say where all, but one tree is located.

It is worth thinking that all the paths have been like they were in 1943.  See an aerial map of Enmore Park taken in 1943 on Marrickville Heritage Society’s blog.  See – https://bit.ly/2rwAczp,   Why does Council need to widen the paths that have been this way for at least more than 7 decades?   The paths are certainly wide enough to give equal access.

The last time Council removed trees in Enmore Park was in October 2013 where they removed 15 trees, most of them old Moreton Bay & Port Jackson Fig trees.   See – https://bit.ly/2rvDNh0

One big Fig was removed from the corner of Llewellyn Street & Enmore Road & its trunk is still rotting slowly away in Steel Park Marrickville South.  If I am correct & the two Fig trees to be removed are in the same location, it will mean the corner will be bare indeed.

I have reservations about removing very old heritage trees even if they are in poor condition.  My reasons are that trees can be helped to recover, whereas our public trees do not get much help in terms of nutrients.  They get by with whatever rainfall they can get & nothing else.

Enmore Park is heritage-listed.  It was the first park to be established in Marrickville municipality, opening in two sections in May 1886 & on October 1893.  The Fig trees were likely planted at this time & therefore are heritage items too.

I think efforts could have been made to take care of them.  However, if Council has been making efforts to improve their health by providing them with water & nutrients, then I will retract these comments & admit my error.

Looking at fig trees in Petersham Park I can see the some are in declining health, but these trees still stand proud & everyone who sees them loves them.  I suspect it is the same for the Fig trees in Enmore Park as well.

I felt sad to see the big healthy palm tree in the central rondel had been removed for what appears to be Council’s design preference & not because the tree was sick, dangerous or inappropriate for the location.

To me removing this tree does not make sense considering this tree matched all the other palm trees that run both side of the pathway from Enmore Road to the central rondel & then only on one side due to the building of the pool, which resulted in a loss of more than 50 trees.  If you look down this row of trees, they take your eye onwards up Addison Road.

To replace with a “larger canopy tree”interrupts these two rows of palm trees, which are a strong feature of this park.  I hope the removal of this central palm does not indicate a future plan to remove all the palms.

Lastly Council removing 5 trees & replacing with only 4 trees is very disappointing.

Central rondel with stump of palm tree

Showing the central rondel without the palm tree and the row of palm trees that take the eye to Addison Road.

 

A lovely fig trees in Marrickville Golf Course.

Every year, between 3 & 4 million people around the world die as a result of air pollution & its lifelong impacts on human health, from asthma to cardiac disease to strokes.  

Each summer, thousands of unnecessary deaths result from heat waves in urban areas. Studies have shown that trees are a cost-effective solution for both of these challenges. 

And too often, the presence or absence of urban nature – & its myriad benefits – is tied to a neighbourhood’s income level, resulting in dramatic health inequities.  In some American cities, life expectations in different neighbourhoods, located just a few miles apart, can differ by as much as a decade.  Not all of this health disparity is connected to tree cover, but researchers are increasingly finding that neighbourhoods with fewer trees have worse health outcomes, so inequity in access to urban nature makes worse health inequities.”  ~ The Nature Conservancy 2017.

The report may have been about America’s urban forest, but it makes no difference.  The findings are useful world-wide, including our little patch in Sydney’s Inner West.

In my assessment the quality of the urban forest & the canopy cover of the former Marrickville municipality has not changed since the 2014 report, ‘Benchmarking Australia’s Urban Tree Canopy: An i–Tree Assessment, Final Report.’

Now we are amalgamated with Ashfield & Leichhardt municipalities, their urban forest becomes our concern & visa versa.  In 2014 the three municipalities scored the following –

Leichhardt was the winner with a 20.3% tree canopy & 59.8% hard surfaces.

Ashfield won second place with a 19.8% tree cover & 57.4% hard surfaces.

Marrickville came last with an abysmal 16.3% tree canopy & 63.4% hard surfaces.

This is not to say Inner West Council – Marrickville are not planting trees.  They are. They reported that they planted 1,000 street trees across the three former municipalities, which I think is not much & not nearly what is needed.   Council also removes trees.  Development is having an impact on the canopy & so is vandalism.  WestConnex is having a massive impact on tree removal along its above ground route.

I am not familiar with Ashfield, but having lived in the Inner West for the past 40-years, I am familiar with many of the streetscapes across the former Leichhardt & Marrickville municipalities.   I look at street trees that have been there for more than my 40-years & this is a great thing to see.  I am one of those people who love to look at trees.  They make me feel comfortable.  Treeless landscapes or skylines make me feel flat & oppressed.   Recent research has found my response is normal.  The research found that few trees in the landscape results in greater rates of depression & kids finding it hard to learn & retain information amongst other things.

My wish for 2018 is for the Inner West Council to significantly increase funding for street trees, parks & other green spaces.   If our area is to be made greener & healthier for us, then the number of street trees & park trees planted need to increase substantially.   More trees please.

It takes at least a decade for most trees to grow to a size where they have a visual impact, so if we are to get the amenity from trees like shade & clean air, then we need to get trees into the ground as soon as possible.    I say “most” because I have seen how fast a Poplar takes to reach a significant height.  These trees grow so fast you can almost watch it happen.

No-one can deny that it is hard being out on the streets in this hot summer weather.  I’ve been out most days & noticed that a lot of people are not coming out of their homes until 4pm or later due to the heat & lack of shade.

We in the community need to do our bit too.  We need to plant a tree or shrub in our garden if we have the space to do so.  We also need to make concrete gardens a thing of the past & give stamped concrete driveways the flick too.  These only make our house hotter & we pay higher power bills as a result.

I was very impressed with Inner West Council – Marrickville’s free tree giveaway for 2016-2017. It is a terrific initiative & will build upon the urban forest.  I hope the tree giveaway becomes a regular feature for National Tree Day.

Community attitudes toward trees are changing.  I have noticed more people like & want public trees compared to when I started this blog in 2009, which is  great & something Council should capitalise on.

With climate change making our seasons hotter, we need to make the changes that will cool down our streets & public spaces & planting trees is a major way to achieve this.  Plus, trees are beautiful & soften the landscape.  They make us feel good even when we are not aware of this.  They help keep us healthy & happy & they bring in more wildlife.    So, let’s make 2018 the year of tree awareness & get more trees in the ground.

Happy New Year.  I hope this is an excellent year for you & your loved ones.  Thank you for reading.  I appreciate it.  Jacqueline 🙂

Council did well to plant a gum tree here in this perfect place on Myrtle Street Marrickville, but someone did not think so.  It was vandalised 3 times….until it was dead. Thanks – not.

 

 

This photo was sent to me by a local resident. As you can see, there is a significant amount of the canopy on the ground ready to go through the woodchopper.  The tree that was pruned is visible behind the woodchopper.  Thanks to the resident for allowing me to use this photo.  

It is the season of peace & goodwill & I would prefer to be writing positive posts.  However, I am getting messages from distressed residents about Inner West Council – Marrickville’s tree pruning, so I need to write something.

Inner West Council is currently pruning the street trees in Marrickville South. I spoke to Council’s tree pruners earlier this year, so I was surprised when they were back again so soon.

Our street trees get “managed” from all directions – Ausgrid, development & Council.  Vandals also do things to the street trees, though I am not suggesting that Council are vandals.  Imagine having three groups coming on a regular basis to give you a haircut & maybe lop your ears off.  It is no wonder so many street trees look unattractive.

My observation with pruners is that they come once to prune.  The next time they come they take off more branches that were deemed okay the last visit & no, they haven’t grown so much to be noticeable.  Ausgrid does this & over.  In a very short time, the trees get reduced into a shadow of their former self.  Ausgrid prunes the top & Council prunes the bottom.

Inner West Council – Marrickville says on their website –

“Street trees will be pruned to:

  • Remove any dead, dying or dangerous branches
  • Allow clearance for pedestrians and vehicles
  • Allow clearance to buildings (where practicable)
  • Improve their health and structure.”

So, what is the problem?  This is what has been relayed to me.

I had no knowledge that this was happening today;… Apparently, they are pruning to Australian standards & to protect workers so grass can be mowed, and so footpath is clear & people can walk to their cars.  [they] were saying most people want the trees cut out!!”   Sounds reasonable except if you know the tree was not causing a problem to begin with.   I know this tree.  It was not intruding on the footpath, nor did it prevent people from getting to their car.  What it did have was branches low down on the trunk & as far as I have observed, this is not acceptable by Council.

“This work is being done on the smaller trees to “shape them” and make it easier for council to cut grass from base of trees and away from pedestrians using footpath. This means that the trees look like pom poms and the removal of the dense bottom canopy is not appealing at all to me.”   

“Contractor tried to tell me it’s not my tree & I have no right to protest it’s being trimmed; when I lovingly water it I feel I have some say in its up keep! And will continue fighting for it to live!!!!”    The photo above will show you just how much of the bottom canopy of this tree was removed.

The residents do not believe the trees needed pruning & if the tree  did by Council’s standards, the residents believe that the pruning was excessive.

It is heatwave conditions at the moment.  The weather forecast for the next week is four days well above 30 degrees & five days of extreme UV index.  It can’t be good for trees to undergo so much stress in these weather conditions.  I recently learnt that trees can get sunburnt.    We still have the really hot months ahead of us.

The trees are in flower providing much needed food for wildlife & also beauty for the streetscape.  Many people wait for the flowers on trees to bloom.  Much of the flowers went into the woodchipper.

Surely it is  better to prune trees when they aren’t in flower.  It would not matter so much if we had tonnes of food-producing trees across Inner West Council – Marrickville’s section, but we don’t.  Bird-life would not be missing out on essential food supply.

Inner West Council Marrickville says on their website –

Proactive maintenance based on an annual cycle and is carried out in within a precinct according to the calendar month, i.e. January is precinct one, February is precinct two and so on.”

I downloaded their map & saw that Marrickville South is allocated June, the 6th month.  It is December, the 12th month.  Enter the website  via the Marrickville portal & they say they are doing street tree maintainance & list streets in Balmain.  That’s a bit confusing. 

To finish, I do believe Council needs to ensure that their pruners do not over prune.  Council put up signs saying Ausgrid was over pruning trees.  This was great & wonderfully supportive for the community who were reeling from the damage to street trees done by Ausgrid pruners.  What is not so great is the community perception that Council are doing the same.

One of three Environmental Vandalism signs put up by Inner West Council

It seems some have missed the beauty of the Cooks River.  Rather than pay a tipping fee, they think it is okay to sneak up the pedestrian path & dump a trailer load or three of building rubble into the river.   It is such a shame that a small financial gain for the vandal destroys our precious river environment.

The former Marrickville Council has worked for years to improve the health & ecology of the river, as have other Councils along the river.   Community group The Mudcrabs have also spent countless hours planting the riverbank & cleaning litter from the river.  I doubt whoever the vandal is has ever thought about this.

To protect our river & to stop this happening again, the Inner West Council needs to install bollards/gates at all entrance points.  Of course, these can allow entry to Council vehicles, but anyone else – no.   Not doing this means that Council runs the risk of someone dumping chemicals or other toxic substances into the river & causing a mass killing event of those creatures that live in the river.  This cannot be allowed to happen.

I thank Council for their speed in acting & for the community education by way of signs.  It is good for people to know about this.  I also hope the dumped debris is cleaned up fast.

Dumped into the Cooks River at Marrickville.  This does matter.  Photo taken at low tide. 

The new area.  This and the photo below shows the whole site.

Sometime during winter the Inner West Council – Marrickville cleared the grass below & around their latest ‘habitat trees’ in Mackey Park.  The cordoned off area lay there for a few weeks until it was covered with wood chip.  About a fortnight ago I noticed that the area had been planted with small plants like native grasses.   The more areas that support wildlife the better in my opinion.

Hopefully it fills out.

The tree for removal has a blue sign on the trunk.  It is unaffected by power lines.

The Inner West Council has given notice of their intention to remove a Spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) outside 7 Hilltop Avenue Marrickville dated 7 October 2017.

They give the following reasons –

  • “The tree is structurally compromised & has multiple trunk defects. These defects will increase size as the tree matures & further impact the sustainability of the tree.
  • The tree in its current state presents an unacceptable risk to the public & property.”

The trunk defeats are easy to see.  It is a shame that this tree needs to be removed.

Council says they will replace with 2 x advanced-sized Coastal Banksias (banksia integrifolia), but not when they will do this.

Replacing two for one tree is great & I thank Council for this.  Small changes like this will build on our urban forest.

Coastal Banksia is native to the east coast of Australia.  It will reach heights between 4-15 metres & produces flowers from late summer to winter.  It is a food source for nectar-eating birds, seed-eating birds, insects & possums.

No deadline for submissions was given, but up to now it has always been 3-weeks from notification.  If you have something to say contact the Tree Manager.

Showing the “trunk defects.”

 

BEFORE: Google street view of the tree that was removed. This image is a few years old, perhaps a decade. The tree was much taller, with a much larger trunk & a bigger canopy.

AFTER:  Photo taken today after all branches were removed. The top of the trunk is higher than I can reach.

What is wrong with people?   Late last week a mature Bottlebrush tree outside 89 Warren Road was unceremoniously chopped to nothing, but a trunk.   It looks awful.  It is one less tree in this street.  It also is a waste of rate-payers’ money & a waste of Council’s work.

This vandalism has robbed the community of all the benefits this tree was providing.  It was more than 20-years-old.   Local people have contacted me about this tree & they feel furious that the tree has been destroyed & they want the Inner West Council to replace it as fast as possible.

Some facts about the value of trees to help any vandal who may happen to read this realise that their actions actually have a bigger negative impact than just losing a tree –

  • A good street tree can add 30% to your property value.
  • A street full of good leafy street trees is a real estate agent’s pleasure because all houses will sell for more than the same kind of house in the same kind of condition in a street that does not have street trees, or has poor quality street trees.
  • Street trees provide a buffer from traffic & collect particulate matter pollution from passing vehicles.  Without this buffer, that particulate matter pollution is much more likely to reach your lungs.
  • Particulate matter causes lung irritation, respiratory illnesses & impairs airway function. It also can cause irregular heartbeat, heart attacks & premature death in people with heart or lung disease.  It also collects on buildings.
  • The shade of a tree can reduce air temperature by 1 – 8 degrees Celsius.
  • The canopy acts as a buffer for wind & can reduce wind speed by 10%.
  • A street tree can save up to $400 on your annual power bill.
  • Trees are nature’s air conditioners & they cool down surface heat & lower the urban heat island effect.
  • Trees also sequester CO2 & produce oxygen.
  • They help capture stormwater.
  • Trees provide habitat & food for wildlife.
  • People are happier when in leafy green streets. Since we have very little green space (the former Marrickville LGA had the least green space in Australia), the streets and the street trees are our green space, aside from parks.
  • People are happier & have less depression when able to be around trees.

So well done.  This is a busy street with both pedestrians & vehicle movement.  It’s hot walking around there.  The locals are angry with you.  You did not enrich the streetscape.  Instead, you destroyed part of it & this is a terrible way to treat both the tree & the community to whom that tree belonged.

What is left.

The palm trunk above the Marrickville Golf Course Club House is the new home of a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.  The white dot is a cockatoo.

Gone!

On 19th August 2017, I posted about a palm tree trunk behind the Club House at Marrickville Golf Course that was being used as a nesting hollow by a pair of Cockatoos.   See – http://bit.ly/2wboFtx

I rode past today & it was gone.

National Tree Day site in Steel Park Marrickville South. All that is wood chip is the new area that was planted today. It joins last year’s site to create a continuous corridor along the river in this area.

This afternoon we went down to Steel Park Marrickville South to have a look at Inner West Council’s National Tree Day site.  I had looked at the site earlier & noticed just how big the area to be planted is in comparison to previous years.  Inner West Council decided to convert a significant area into habitat for wildlife at this location &  I think this is excellent.

Three new trees were planted –

  • Two Swamp mahoganies (Eucalyptus robusta), an Australian native that can reach up to 30-metres in height. It can live for at least 200-years.  I find exciting to have such long-lived trees planted in a park where it has a decent opportunity to reach such an age.  Fingers crossed anyway.   It flowers well in spring & summer & offers food for birds & other nectar-eating wildlife.  Christmas beetles like to eat the leaves, so hopefully we will see some of these at Steel Park.
  • One Prickly-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca styphelioides) – also an Australian native. This is a medium-sized tree that reaches between 5-11 metres in height.   It has a dense, rounded canopy with drooping branchlets & produces cream or white cylindrical bottlebrush-like flowers in summer.  It likes to grow along stream banks or other moist situations, so good for this location.

Everyone who planted today have done the whole community a service & I thank them.   It is excellent to see more places along the river that are for wildlife only & I personally, think that looking at bushy areas is far more interesting than great expanses of lawn.  The birds will come, which adds a further layer of enjoyment to users of the park.

A closer look. Each dark patch is where something was planted.

The 3 trees that were planted.  Swamp mahogany in the foreground, the Melaleuca in the middle and another Swamp mahogany in the background.  

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