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Today we joined around 1,000 people (staff estimate) of all ages to plant 4,500 plants in an area of around two football fields in Sydney Park. The plants were indigenous to the Sydney Basin were chosen to create an understorey, slow down stormwater, as well as provide habitat, particularly for smaller birds. Nearby areas with similar plants gave a good idea what today’s work will look like when the plants have established themselves.
The City of Sydney Council, Planet Ark & their sponsor Toyota organized the event. There was an entertainment area centered around a stage & a series of tents. Registration gave participants the choice an ice-cream or a barbequed sausage roll/vegetarian pattie, a free ‘plant the container as well’ plant to take home & entry into a raffle. I’ve forgotten the prizes, but remember liking them at the time. We were also given an organic cotton ‘National Tree Day’ t-shirt.
First there was a very nice welcome to Gadigal Country by an Aboriginal Elder whose name I did not catch & then other speeches from the Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore, a representative from the sponsors Toyota & a representative from Planet Ark.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore planted ‘tree number 20-million’ since Planet Ark started National Tree Day in 1996. She thanked the community for all their help in transforming what was once a dump into Sydney Park with a tree canopy that is getting denser every year.
There were chickens & face painting for the kids, plus exhibits ranging from types of compost, vertical gardens, green walls & growing in a bag for those who don’t have much room. There was also yoga for families & demonstrations of DIY gardening.
Because there were so many people, planting was done in four shifts to allow everyone a chance to be involved. Staff gave onsite training on how to plant & then took participants to the area to be planted.
The community planted 26 species of plants, some of which were Acacia, Correa, Grevillea, Kunzea & Hakeas. Staff would have mulched & watered the area at the end of the event, which was a massive job.
Planet Ark released their latest research today – ‘Missing Trees: The Inside Story of An Outdoor Nation,’ which revealed a number of quite startling results. Some are as follows, but I will write more about this in a later post –
- “For every hour we spend outside, we spend over 7 hours in front of screens watching television or on the Internet.
- Approximately 1 in 3 people spend less than 18 minutes per day doing outdoor recreational activities.
- 1 in 4 children under 16 years spend on average less than 2 hours of the spare time per week playing in natural outdoor areas.
- …people living in units or flats spend 3.5 hours per week doing outdoor activities, while those living in separate houses with large backyards spend 5.1 hours per week doing outdoor recreational activities.
- …visiting or entertaining friends or family is a low priority for many Australians, with only 3% of leisure time was devoted to this activity in 2006.”
- Over a 30-day period – “only 39% of respondents visited a park or reserve.”
- One in two parents said their children did not play in the gardens or bushland in an urban park.
- 32% said their children have never been camping. 29% said their children have never been bushwalking.”
Worse is the following -
- “1 in 4 children have never climbed a tree.
- 1 in 4 children have never cared for a vegetable garden.”
With results like the above, events like National Tree Day & Schools Tree Day become extremely important in the lives of young people as this may be the first time they have planted something. They get to contribute & later see the results of their work. For kids who are essentially nature deficit, this kind of experience can be life-changing.
I find it sad to see how disconnected to nature many children are these days. I spent many hours almost every day in my childhood running around fields & parks with my friends, playing with dirt, branches & rocks & whatever else we could find, building a cubby houses & hours spent sitting high in a tree with a friend gossiping about whatever grabbed our interest that day. We had school & home & outside time in almost even quantities.
Today’s National Tree Day event was enjoyable & interesting. Having read the research I think it may have meant a lot more to those people who don‘t often get out into parks, or get their hands dirty. City of Sydney Council & Planet Ark went to a lot of trouble to ensure that there was something for everyone & that learning was passive & not at all threatening. It was a very good event.
I was very happy to read of the City of Sydney Council’s new initiative to add more street trees into their LGA by allowing residents to not only choose the trees, but plant them as well.
Called the Neighbourwoods Program, residents can apply for a grant of up to $10,000 “to offset the time & work involved in planting shade trees.” As I understand it, grants will be available for groups of neighbours to plant trees in their street.
The residents can choose what species of tree they wish to plant & the trees don’t have to be natives. This may upset those who lobby for the planting of native trees only, but will please others who have a particular wish for exotics. I imagine the council sees this as breaking down people’s resistance to street trees if they are able to choose to plant what they like.
The Arborist for City of Sydney Council, Karen Sweeney calls this approach – equal opportunity for trees. ”People should have a love affair with their trees. Trees are like puppies; they’ll be with you for a long time.”
I meet a lot of people who talk to me about street trees. The overwhelming response is a dislike or even hatred towards deciduous street trees. We have thousands of these across Marrickville LGA, so that may amount to a lot of tree hatred. I am aware that deciduous street trees are planted to allow sunshine to get through during the winter months, but for me, street upon street of bare thin witchy branches makes for a bleak landscape.
For others, deciduous street trees make for hours of sweeping & cleaning leaves off parked cars, with many doing this daily. When one or more residents desire a street clean of leaf litter while others don’t worry about the fallen leaves at all, this can result in simmering anger. I have been told many times of the “lazy” neighbour who doesn’t sweep up the leaves outside their place.
Almost everyone I have spoken to who said that the tree is bad because it drops too much litter has also said that they wished the Council would remove it. Others don’t like natives & would prefer an ornamental tree or a tree from their homeland. Perhaps this is why we have so many street trees that have been pruned to remain short? A tree that is kept as a shrub is much easier to manage.
I think that the City of Sydney Council’s idea to allow residents to choose their own tree species will be a hit. The fact that some may not choose to plant native species does not worry me because Sydney Council is planning to almost double their urban forest by 2050. I am sure that the Council will ensure that there are sufficient native food-producing species for urban wildlife & so any move from residents to plant non-native trees will balance out.
In addition to this new tree-planting program Sydney Council plans to plant trees in median strips, car parks & public spaces, as well include special trees in a Significant Tree Register. They also plan to educate the community on the benefits of trees.
The City of Sydney Council also surveyed the amount of hard surfaces they have & plan to plant trees in these areas to lower the urban heat island effect. I love that Sydney Council’s focus is on shade trees. A street tree that only creates a minimal amount of shade around itself & does not shade a good part of the road will not have much of an impact in lowering the urban heat island effect. Maybe we will see more broad-leafed trees.
The Neighbourwood program is an exciting initiative. We all benefit from lovely tree-lined streets, even if we do not live in the area. To read more about this see – http://bit.ly/Y60X9J
At the Council Meeting of the 20th November 2012 Marrickville Council sought permission to chop down 1,590 street trees that were dead, dying or nearing their Safe Useful Life Expectancy as identified by the recently completed Tree Inventory.
Because of the large number of proposed tree removals I am listing the locations of the trees suburb by suburb.
For a background, including a link to a summary of the recently completed Tree Inventory & a list of the –
- 221 street trees up for removal in Dulwich Hill see – http://bit.ly/Ulqmbn
- 56 street trees up for removal in Camperdown see – http://bit.ly/VVVkI2
- 494 street trees up for removal in Marrickville see - http://bit.ly/TO8ecK
- 31 street trees up for removal in Tempe see – http://bit.ly/XQj3xz
- 261 street trees up for removal in Stanmore see – http://bit.ly/SW1DfB
- 179 street trees up for removal in Petersham see – http://bit.ly/VoJLeQ
- 61 street trees up for removal in Enmore see – http://bit.ly/STufHw
Most of the trees to be removed in the list supplied by Council are grouped in suburbs, but many others are scattered around the document. I have tried my best to find all the trees & have listed the streets in alphabetical order for easier viewing. Although I have checked, there are bound to be mistakes. The original document can be downloaded here -
For brevity I have not included the species or the height of the trees to be removed. This information, plus more can be found in the above document. I have listed the street, followed by the house number the tree is nearest, finishing with the total number of street trees to be removed from that street in bold. At some addresses, more than one street tree will be removed. These are in brackets.
For the suburb of St Peters the following street trees are proposed for removal –
- Albert Street: 140 – 1 tree
- Alfred Street: 6, 24, 11, 307-309 – 4 trees
- Brown Street: 1, 12, 15, 23, 34-36, 48, 49, 53, 59 – 9 trees
- Canal Road: 1 (x 2 trees) – 2 trees
- Crown Street: 9 (x 3 trees), 13, 15-21, 22, 24, 26 (x 2 trees), 27, 34 (x 2 trees), 38, 40, 42, 71, 44, 73 (x 2 trees), 75, 116 – 21 trees
- Edith Street: 8, 73 – 2 trees
- Florence Street: 8, 13, 32, 43, 45-47, 48B, 63, 73 – 8 trees
- Frederick Street: 17 – 1 tree
- Goodsell Street: 46 – 1 tree
- Grove Street: 63 (x 3 trees) – 3 trees
- Henry Street: 51 – 1 tree
- Lackey Street: 5 – 1 tree
- Mary Street: 5, 9, 14-18, 28, 48 (x 2 trees), 50 – 7 trees
- May Street: 23, 63 (x 3 trees), 119 – 5 trees
- Princes Highway: 1 (x 2 trees) – 2 trees
- Roberts Street: 2, 10, 33 – 3 trees
- Silver Street: 1, 9, 13, 26, 39, 92, 100 – 7 trees
- St Peters Street: 7 – 1 tree
- Sutherland Street: 15, 23, 89 – 3 trees
- Unwins Bridge Road: 102, 174 – 2 trees
TOTAL: 84 STREET TREES PROPOSED FOR REMOVAL IN ST PETERS
We were thrilled to see a pair of Black Swans & their three cygnets in one of the lakes in Sydney Park last weekend. The parent birds closely guarded their babies, at one stage corralling them into a section of the reeds that protected them on three sides so they could have a sleep. The parent Swans remained guarding the entrance to the reeds while also watching the people who were watching them.
This is the first time I have seen cygnets. The story, ‘The Ugly Duckling’ is not true. There is nothing ugly about cygnets.
I know there are Black Swans in Centennial Park, but it was great to see them so close to home in Sydney Park. I was also very pleased to see that both lakes were fenced to prevent both people & dogs from being able to get into the waterbirds habitat. The fencing was necessary after dogs in two separate incidents had mauled two Black Swans resulting in their death. See – http://bit.ly/W2Eom
We haven’t been to Sydney Park for a couple of years so it was nice to see just how much the trees & vegetation has grown. It’s obvious that the City of Sydney Council keep adding to this park. They haven’t just planted & walked away.
Anyone know how many Fig trees in Sydney Park? I can imagine how glorious these will look when they have grown. I was also impressed with the amount of colour, with Callistemon hedges & Grevillias dotted all around the park.
I was pleasantly surprised to see & speak to a couple of Council Rangers who were cruising slowly around the park in their car.
Also surprising was the lack of litter anywhere, including around the food kiosk. Even the toilets were clean. The people who use this park respect it, making me wonder why the same doesn’t happen along the parks along the Cooks River in Tempe & Marrickville. I wish it did. It was great to be in a park where one wasn’t confronted by lots of litter & black bags filled with dog poo.
Sydney Park is a beautiful park. There are some very large trees & quite a few are flowering at the moment. I had the best toasted cheese & tomato sandwich I’ve had in years at the kiosk (they use real bread) & I was told that even the coffee was good. It’s worth going to see the swans & especially the cygnets. They are incredibly beautiful with their fluffy grey down & it is a joy to watch them.
Can you imagine a 110-metre-high apartment complex with the walls covered in 100,000 native & exotic plants? Well it is about to happen at One Central Park, the new retail/residential area called Central Park at Broadway in Chippendale due to be completed in 2013.
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald said the building complex will have, “two dozen ”green wall” panels, some as high as 16-storeys, which will be attached to the north & south facades of the development’s east & west towers facing Broadway.”
“Species include varieties of red, pink and purple bougainvillea, dwarf bottle brushes, with deep-red flowers, and vine species with flowers in whites, reds, yellows and purples.”
As well as the 24 vertical green walls there will be 2,700 planter boxes attached to the unit balconies. Levels 29-33 of the east tower will have a Sky Garden that juts out & hovers in the air. There is a 1.5-minute video connected with the article. http://bit.ly/NTfR0P
The Central Park complex will also have a public park, “approximately 6,500 square metres & will span 115-metres in length & 50-metres in width, in a rectangular shape.” It will have cycle way, a pedestrian boulevard, a large water feature & public art. You can read more about this here – http://bit.ly/O3FBS0
The City of Sydney Council is currently setting up a Green Roofs & Walls Strategy. This tells me they have great plans to incorporate these green initiatives into new developments as part of their overall plan to green the city & suburbs that make up the City of Sydney LGA.
When I read what the City of Sydney is planning for greening the city & suburbs, I feel happy as this is my city too & I do have an emotional investment. I also wish that the City of Sydney’s attitude to innovative strategies for greening the environment flows through to my own Council. I hope that the new developments that will be springing up throughout Marrickville municipality will have visible green features & an emphasis on making people-friendly places.
Residents are hoping that Marrickville Council plant street trees & add planter boxes where trees are unsuitable because of infrastructure & shop awnings along the eastern end of traffic-heavy Addison Road Marrickville. See – http://bit.ly/IJSdOq
I know the City of Sydney Council have more money available to improve their streetscapes than does Marrickville Council, but for comparison & to show that it is both realistic & achievable, here is their latest example of improving life for residents & businesses in their LGA. It is part of their Greening Sydney Plan instigated by the Council, not a campaign/request from the residents.
They are going to transform one of their busiest roads, Cleveland Street into a ‘living green boulevard.’ Sydney Council is doing this to encourage more people to shop & eat at the restaurants along Cleveland Street because they know a leafy outlook attracts shoppers. They are also greening the street for the health of pedestrians, residents & businesses.
The Council plans to “improve the strip with better lighting, new trees, garden beds & green walls, new street furniture & wider footpaths” as well as plant a hedge of more than 900 plants to create an “attractive, leafy buffer between shops, residents, pedestrians & road users.
Planting of the fragrant Murraya paniculata hedge – or mock orange - on the northern side of Cleveland Street is now complete from Bourke Street to High Holborn Street, & planting is already halfway complete on the opposite side of the road.”
The shopkeepers along Cleveland Street say that the greening of the street has already made a big difference to their businesses.
World Environment Day on the 5th June is a global day for positive environmental action. It’s a day where people are encouraged to increase their knowledge of their local environment & participate in actions that create sustainable & positive change. 2012 marks the 40-year anniversary since the United Nations started the first World Environment Day back in 1972.
The 2012 theme is – ‘Green Economy: Does it include you?’ From the UN’s website, “The UN Environment Programme defines the Green Economy as one that results in improved human well-being & social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks & ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient & socially inclusive.” More information can be found here – http://www.unep.org/wed/
There are a few things happening in Sydney for World Environment Day -
Ashfield Council is a finalist in the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Awards 2012 in the Local Government Award for Excellence in Overall Environmental Management category for their ‘GreenWay Sustainability Project.’ The winners will be announced in Melbourne on Friday 8th June 2012. http://bit.ly/K8wD3l You can see a list of the finalists here – http://bit.ly/lwf2xY
City of Sydney Council has a Children’s Fine Art & Digital Art Competition & Exhibition launched on Saturday 9 June, from 1:30pm – 3:30pm. The theme is Green Economy Sustainable Agriculture & Clean Energy. The exhibition will run from 6th - 22nd June, M-F 9am – 5pm at Pine Street Creative Arts Centre Chippendale. http://bit.ly/K8zWHV
City of Sydney Council is also holding a free e-waste collection to celebrate World Environment Day. Their website has the following statistics on e-waste -
“Since collections began in 2008, 176 tonnes of potentially toxic electronic waste has been diverted from landfill, with 95 to 99 per cent of the raw materials recovered & recycled. The amount of electronic waste has worsened as Australians buy new digital, HD and 3D televisions in preparation for the analogue TV transmission signal being phased out next year. In 2008, 17 million televisions, computers & computer products were discarded across Australia, but only 10 per cent were recycled.” Marrickville Council also has regular free e-waste collections & held one recently.
City of Ryde Council has 2 free workshops on for World Environment Day – ‘Ethical Investment & Superannuation’ as well as ‘Superannuation & Careers for the Environment,’ both held on Tuesday 5th June. http://www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Whats+On
Over the Queens birthday long weekend on the 8th, 9th & 10th June, the M/Y The Bob Barker & the MV Brigitte Bardot will dock at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. There will be free public tours of both the ships from Friday till Sunday. For more information see – http://www.seashepherd.org/australia/sydney.html
The Blue Mountains will be celebrating with a free event – ‘Ecoexpo World Environment Day – Our Future in the Mountains’ all day on Saturday 16th June 2012 in Lawson. There will be speakers (Hadyn Washington, co-author of Climate Change Denial: Head in the Sand, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon & Alison Winn, Sustainability Coordinator, Blue Mountains City Council). Other activities include a guided walk to Lawson’s waterfalls, a photographic exhibition, information stalls & more. See – http://www.bluemts.com.au/tourist/whatson/?evID=2192
The City of Sydney Council has announced it is working in partnership with the NSW state government to create a people-orientated boulevard along the length of George Street in Sydney CBD. George Street will be pedestrian from Hunter Street to Bathurst Street & light rail will run every 2-minutes from Haymarket to Circular Quay.
There will be new public space, public art, revitalised laneways & a green outlook with more street trees. On the strength of what is shown in the video I think this will be fabulous. Hopefully they will add more trees than the video shows. City of Sydney’s video can be viewed here – http://bit.ly/KJ8Zfn
Last week I needed to travel to Erskineville. While I was there I discovered Green Bans Park & what a lovely park it is. It’s actually 2 parks, smallish spaces across the road from each other.
A bit of history – “In 1996 ownership of the land was transferred to the former South Sydney Council following a campaign by local residents, unions & Council to have the land, which had previously been earmarked for development dedicated as public open space.” http://bit.ly/K4wJdT
City of Sydney Council has created something quite lovely here. Green Bans Park has many features that I think make it a great park.
HEDGES – The park perimeter along Erskineville Road not only looks great, but it also blocks out some of the traffic noise & the visual impact of the traffic. As this is a high traffic thoroughfare, not being able to see the traffic immediately allows one to feel that they are somewhere peaceful. Not the same for green space like Enmore Park, Marrickville Park & Wicks Park. In all these parks & others like them with a clear sightline from road to road, I never get to feel that I am away from the traffic. I can see it, hear it & often I can smell it.
Hedges are also good for wildlife, especially insects & small birds. If they are food-producing hedges, even the better for wildlife. They not only block traffic, they also serve as a windbreak allowing the park to be a pleasant place on windy days. Try Tempe Reserve if you want to experience a park where there are few windbreaks. It can be miserable even when the sun is shining, that is, unless you like the wind as I know some do.
One final thing about hedges is that a large & long block of living green colour is good to look at & has a positive impact on our subconscious. “Green is very calming, balancing, healing, relaxing, & tranquil. It represents growth, vitality, abundance, & nature. Green stimulates possibility & is very inspiring.” http://bit.ly/tmrjiH
To be surrounded by a green hedge has got to be better that looking through the park at traffic whizzing past & houses, shops & signs.
TREES & SHADE – I counted 65 trees in this relatively small park & as I was leaving saw others that I hadn’t noticed. Trees were varied & tall. No 5-metre trees in this park, unless they are growing. This provides for trees to be visible on the skyline instead of roofs, which helps green up the local area. Many of the trees are grouped together giving the feeling of a forest. Trees are also used to very good effect to block & screen the railway line. There are trees in the middle of the park, not just around the perimeter. The trees are useful habitat & provide food for wildlife.
There is no need for shadecloth over the children’s play area because the trees provide natural shade. This makes the environment much nicer in my opinion. Natural shade is cooler on hot days, provides a dappled effect that again is calming & allows the breeze to flow.
A Fig has been planted at a corner, that will in time, grow to become a feature tree with branches cascading over Erskinville Road, offering shade & beauty & softening the landscape. We need this kind of addition to our municipality on as many corners as is possible to soften the landscape, add beauty & cool us down.
One big beautiful healthy Fig decades old stands as the crown jewel. The City of Sydney Council has allowed it to grow aerial roots that work to prevent heavy branches falling. These aerial roots actually make the base of the tree wider as it literally spreads to match its growing canopy. This makes for a beautiful & visually interesting high-impact tree & it really is the main feature of the park. That it has survived this long on a small street is wonderful.
The Council has planned for the Fig tree’s health by rounding the kerb around its roots & importantly, not shaving them off at ground level like some Councils do to remove trip hazards. Problem is they do this to Fig trees in parks, even if the Fig is a fair distance from the pedestrian pathway. Above ground Fig tree roots are not only of vital importance to the health & stability of the tree, but they are of immense beauty & interest. It is very sad to see them shaved off & looks like butchering. The ground around the Fig tree in Green Bans Park is permeable, even that which is beyond the footpath. This tree doesn’t have to struggle for water when it rains.
SEATING – There is lots of seating in Green Bans Park on both sides. There are park benches, plus interesting long curved benches that promote group get-togethers & little one-person stools. There is seating in the sun & in the shade catering to all needs. Benches are mounted on a concrete base that is covered in old bricks. This causes them to blend in rather than the usual stark white-grey of a concrete slab that gradually becomes darker & filthy.
LANDSCAPING – I didn’t notice woodchip in this park. Instead I saw leaf litter, which made it nice to walk through the play area. I actually like the sound of walking on leaves. Leaf litter was also in the landscaped areas, deep enough to be able to cool the roots of the plants & prevent weed growth. It looks nicer than woodchips.
Unlike the beds of woodchip with the odd plant, as is a feature in many of our parks, Green Bans Park has significant landscaping. An under-storey of plants is grouped & follows the line of Eucalypt trees. Elsewhere garden beds full of plants, some flowering, follow the perimeter & serve to block sight of the railway line. Also along the railway line fence is shrubs & smaller trees. Until a train goes past you are not aware of the railway line because you can’t see it. The garden beds look well kept & pretty.
There are a couple of largish lawn spaces where games like touch footie could be played or people could lie in the sun if they wanted to. While I was there, everyone was sitting somewhere in the shade.
SIGNAGE – One sign that I love warns that this is Magpie nesting area so to be aware during the 6-weeks of August/September when the chicks are in the nest. Such a small consolation for a big gain because there is nothing like Magpie song to make you feel happy. It’s nice to see the wildlife acknowledged too.
The park is not full of signs. I don’t know if you have noticed that all the green spaces across Marrickville LGA have signs. There is the sign to say the name of the park, signs to say what you can’t do in the park, signs to say this is a walk wise park, signs to say – no alcohol. Soon there will be signs to say – no smoking. Most of the signs are repeated in other areas or entrances to the parks. Someone or many people are systematically going around & spraying all Marrickville Council’s signs in parks with either a tag or a squiggle – a message that I read as, ‘stuff your signs.’
Green Bans Park has a good-looking sign against a house wall with a map of the park. It provides information with a few dos & don’ts & it has Braille for the blind. The sign also tells you that City of Sydney values your feedback & provides a 24-hour phone number that you can call if there is litter to be removed or something is broken for example.
The other signs are hand-painted tiles that are mounted into the brick fence at the main entry points. These colourful signs are quite beautiful & they tell the history of the park. They add art to the landscaping, rather than being an assault on the eyes.
LITTER & GRAFFITI – There is an important lesson here…. provide something that is beautiful, useful & maintained & the incidence of graffiti & littering reduces markedly. Studies have shown that people are less likely to graffiti areas that have many trees & are well maintained. I saw 2 pieces of litter & 2 tags in the whole park. Pity though, that the tags were on the trunk of the beautiful Fig tree.
SAFETY – Paths curve through the centre of each side of the park. Even with hedges, garden beds & trees in the centre of the park, there is high visibility.
DOGS – There is off-leash areas for dogs to play.
I made a short video of Green Bans Park here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjcSmm5Royk
In the Council Meeting of 6th December 2011 Clr Macri said the following, “We are running out of suitable places to plant trees. We are scratching our heads where to plant trees. Staff are trying to find places to plant the 500 trees each year. Trees are being planted on top each other.” http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/report-from-the-gallery-6th-december-2011-part-1/
I found this information quite disturbing & have noticed that some of Clr Macri’s questions to staff appear to seek information on money wastage as a result of planting street trees. I agree with Clr Macri that far too many new street trees die & that this is a waste of tax-payers money.
Unfortunately, some of the tree deaths are to be expected. Vandalism is hard to control &, if they choose, Council could embark on a long-term educational program from school-age upwards to get the message out to the community that tree vandalism is not acceptable & ultimately has a negative impact on their life, their health, happiness & value of their property. It is important that the message include that vandalism has an equally negative impact on the rest of the community. Devalue your property by poisoning a large tree & you will certainly be devaluing your neighbour’s property. Depending on the length of the street, perhaps this tree loss devalues the whole street or a good section of it.
I don’t know how many new street tree plantings die from vandalism. I don’t think Marrickville Council knows either. What I do know is that Marrickville Council waters new street trees for only 12-weeks, when many Councils water their new trees for 2-years. It’s obvious which management approach will increase the survival of new trees. Unfortunately, changing this has not been raised in Council since I have been attending.
Urban Forestry is a growing industry that has undergone some significant changes in the past decade. Those who have control of the budget have realized that global warming is going to have a massive impact on living conditions in cities & urban areas & that the old paradigm of managing trees will not carry us into the future. A local example I have mentioned before is that the City of Sydney Council is intending to increase their urban forest by 50% to try to mitigate the impacts of global warming. London, New York, Chicago are great examples of cities that are planting huge numbers of public trees to ensure that these cities are decent places to live when the affects of climate change really hit. Cities have been found to be 5 degrees hotter than suburbs & this is rising annually. Street trees are known to lower the urban heat island effect, which in turn lowers power consumption for air-conditioning.
Much research has been done in recent years about the urban forest & some of this I have posted here. The following is just one of the benefits of the urban forest in terms of the economy. I will post more about the economic benefits of trees & about the other benefits – social, environment & ecological in later posts.
ATTRACTING THE SHOPPER’S DOLLAR – It’s well known that a leafy green shopping strip attracts shoppers. They tend to linger because the environment is nice & as a consequence spend around 11% more.
I’m surprised the shop owners along our shopping strips are not lobbying Council to plant more leafy trees & make their areas look more appealing. Tiles on the footpath don’t really make much of an impact & they cost an extraordinary amount of money. I wonder whether planting leafy street trees, putting planter boxes at regular intervals along the footpath & hanging baskets from the awnings would have more of an impact & perhaps cost less than tiling the footpath.
Drivers cannot see floor tiles on the footpath so are not able to see the beautification effects, whereas they can see trees, planter boxes & hanging baskets of flowers. The City of Sydney Council have done this in many of their shopping strips. Big, vibrant hanging balls containing flaming-red Begonias hang from awnings every 5-metres. They remove half a car space to plant leafy trees, not columnar trees, rather trees that have a broad, cascading canopy. The streetscape attracts shoppers & if there is a café near a tree of this type, it’s usually booming with business. Good coffee is important. Combine good coffee with a great streetscape & this is a business that will work.
Our shopping strips are all signs, windows, different & often clashing or glaring paint colours & footpaths covered with globs of chewing gum. The areas designated as rest areas or green space such as the ‘I have a Dream’ square in Newtown & Alex Trevallion Plaza in Marrickville are used by people because this is all that is available, but they are not beautiful spaces & they are not inviting.
The closest Marrickville Council has come to what I am talking about is the shopping strip in Audley Street Petersham. This area has street trees, art & plants. It looks good & it certainly has benefited the business as outside dining is now quite pleasant. However, go around the corner into Old Canterbury Road & it’s back to the familiar streetscape of signs, windows & footpaths covered with globs of chewing gum.
Leichhardt Council has capitalized on the tourism draw-card of Norton Street by making much of the street a green & leafy place to visit. People like this & many ask me if I have been to Norton Street, before starting to talk about the trees & the streetscape.
We have a number of areas in Marrickville LGA that attract tourists. We are well know for the alternative, artistic culture of King Street & Enmore Road, the food of Marrickville & Illawarra Roads, the Portugese influence of Petersham shopping streets & Parramatta Road has an ever-changing range of pop-up shops. These places already do good business, but they could be much, much better if they were made nicer looking & more people-friendly & this would translate into dollars for the businesses. What makes our LGA so fantastic is the artisans, the diversity of shopping, the great cafes & restaurants & these are here despite the ugliness of certain areas. More later.