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On 24th January 2010 I reported in Tree News Local & International of a report by The Cumberland Courier of the death of a grove of 40 year old Gums on a property in Boundary Road, Box Hill which was being investigated by Hills Shire Council & Castle Hill police.  Seems Hills Shire Council believes the trees have been poisoned as they have drill holes in them.  Apart from the Gums, a number of Ironbarks thought to be older than 100 years are also dying on this property.   Sad. Sad. Sad.  You can read the first part of the story here – http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/what-s-killing-box-hill-s-trees/

& the second follow-up article here – http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/dying-trees-may-be-over-100-years-old-council-confirms-trees-poisoned/

Energy Australia is getting more negative publicity this time from the  Inner West Courier. http://inner-west-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/wrights-rd-drummoyne-ruined-days-after-resurfacing/

Coffs Harbour City Council just won a court case against a company owner for the removal of koala habitat trees on a Moonee property in June 2009.  The company received a hefty fine.  To read this click on the following – http://www.lgtra.com/in-the-news/7-council/61-tree-preservation-order-fines-highlight-need-for-awareness.html

I don’t know if this type of offence has always made news, but it seems to me that tree vandalism is making the news globally at the moment. I think this is terrific.  When I was growing up people did dreadful things to trees & there was no-one to call them to account for it.  The attitude was ‘man conquers trees’ & we have huge loss of forests world-wide & a massive reduction in the percentage of urban trees to show for it.

Times have changed & it seems the community is insisting that offences against trees be punished.  This type of attitudinal shift will only benefit us in the long-term & perhaps over the next 30 years we can leave the world in a much better state than it is currently.

The Cooks River Valley Times this week had the intended massive expansion (more than double) of Marrickville Metro shopping centre on their front page.  If AMP do get approval to expand Marrickville Metro, we will lose another lot of healthy, mature & old Hills Figs.  There are more than 20 which surround the shopping complex.  Apart from the food & shelter these trees give to local wildlife, they serve a very important role in disguising the visually unpleasant complex, which is basically a cement box with entrances & ramps leading to car parking.  Okay, this is what malls generally look like, but the Figs are way too precious to be chopped down to significantly enlarge a centre where shop-keepers have told me during general chit-chat over last 2-3 years that they are struggling to survive.  There are also a number of tall Eucalypts with trunks around 2-3 metres which may also have to go if the building expands outwards & not upwards.  This DA is going to have a big impact for the community if it goes ahead. I seem to remember Marrickville Council’s Draft LEP mentioning something about new units planned to house thousands of people within 800 metres from Metro.  Oh boy. More high-rise.

http://www.torchpublishing.com.au/read/Valley_Times_4_February_2010/index.html

Integral Energy have “chastised some of its contactors for overzealous pruning of street trees” after the street trees in Christine Street Northmead were ruined.  Intergal Energy admitted their contactor “got it wrong.”  In the article written in the Cumberland Courier the energy company talks about their tree pruning practices & training.

http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/residents-cant-see-the-trees-for-deforest/

I’ll start this post with a clarification concerning the last post Cambridge Street tree axed today.  I realised over breakfast this morning that I had generalised when I said, Once again, regarding the Cambridge Street tree, the Greens voted to keep the tree.  Once again, the vote to remove the tree comes from the other counselors.” In fact, with regards to the Cambridge Street tree, Independent Councillor Morris Hanna did not vote, as he was not in attendance at that particular meeting.  My apologies to Councillor Hanna.

I have decided to do another post on tree news from around the world.  I am assuming you will find it as interesting as I do & it gives us comparisons in which to measure our own Marrickville Council in regards to trees.

I'd call this street tree 'The Pride of Chatswood' except there are many street trees like this one, enough to be common

I received interest from the UK regarding the last post, where I mentioned that some Australian municipal councils erect billboards in place of trees that have been deliberately vandalised to get better access to a scenic view. Perhaps UK councils are considering using billboards to act as a deterrent to the recent rampant vandalism of trees in their country.

Caitlin from Save Our Figs in Newcastle found the following for me which, though old news, made me roar with laughter.  In 1998 Port Stephens Council on the mid-north coast of NSW placed 2 shipping containers on top of each other on a cliff in place of 20 trees that were illegally cut down to gain access to better views of picturesque Boat Harbour. Post Stephens Council also planted saplings to replace the trees & intended to keep the shipping containers in place for 3 years until the saplings reached a decent size.  Unsurprisingly, the locals were not amused.

To read the full story complete with photo that I wish I could use, click on the following link.  http://www.news.com.au/national/council-blocks-suspected-tree-loppers-view/story-e6frfkwi-1111115863763

News more recent & local: the Cumberland Courier newspaper reported that Hills Shire Council & Castle Hill police are investigating the death of numerous trees on a property in Boundary Road, Box Hill. A grove of 40 year old Gums have died, yet the trees on properties either side are lush & green. The police are involved because they believe the trees were poisoned. It wouldn’t be the first time bush properties have been used for the dumping of chemicals. Causing deliberate harm to trees is called Malicious Damage in police speak & can incur hefty penalties including gaol time if severe enough.  You can read the full story here – http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/what-s-killing-box-hill-s-trees/

a row of recent street tree planting in Chatswood. Note how close together they are planted

In Seattle USA, a dozen 50 year old Fir trees both on private & public land were chopped down in the middle of the night to make way for better views.  Seattle doesn’t require a permit to chop down trees on private land unless on slopes or along the shore.  It calls itself the Emerald City, yet Seattle’s percentage of tree canopy has dropped from 40% in 1972 to 18% currently.

Seattle is trying to regreen the city to the first target of 30% cover.  In 1999 the budget for Parks & Recreation was US$250,000.  In 2010 it is US750,000 rising to US$1.2 million in 2011.  This is serious tree planting money & I would be interested to learn of Marrickville Council’s budget for tree planting.  Perhaps it would be fairer to compare the budget for City of Sydney Council instead.

The same article reminds readers of when a senior Seattle Judge was fined US$500,000 after he was found guilty of illegally chopping down 120 trees in a public park below his house.  The trees obscured his view of Lake Washington.  Can you imagine chopping down 120 trees in the middle of the night?  He must have been strong  & fit as none of the men I know would be up to this job.  No words of his position as a Senior Judge & bastion of society.

The article has other news including links & is well worth reading.  You can read it at the following link – http://www.seattlepi.com/local/320177_trees18.html

Tree news is a fairly recent phenomenon.  It used to be that only the most profound or shocking tree news was reported, but in recent months a great deal of tree related news is being written in the papers & on the internet.  This post is again too long so I will post the second part of recent news soon.

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