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We went to Sydney Park last weekend after a gap of a few months. The changes are astronomically good. No wonder City of Sydney Council has been awarded a Green Flag for Sydney Park. They deserve it.
Sydney Park covers 44-hectares & a fair section of the park consists of a series of swales, ponds & lakes, that together harvest stormwater from surrounding streets. The harvested stormwater will be used to irrigate the park & top up the wetlands.
The Water Reuse Scheme commenced in April 2013 & appears to be nearing completion. The works will cost $10.5 million & harvest & clean a massive 850-million-litres of stormwater per year.
Stormwater is diverted through underground pipes & taken through pollutant traps & series of bio-retention beds to filter & clean it from all sorts of pollutants, such oil from roads. The water then travels to a retention pond that gradually fills the four lakes & wetlands further down the hill.
All this provides a wonderful habitat for a range of wildlife, especially waterbirds. Harvesting stormwater is not only sustainable, but also works towards preventing flooding in areas outside the park.
You only need to look around to see the extent of works done by City of Sydney Council around this project. There are many swales that travel beside the pathways throughout the park. Even when there is not a swale beside the path, there is a groove at the side of the path that channels water to swales & then to small ponds or wetlands. The ponds & wetlands serve to clean the water before it reaches the lakes. They are fabulous little spots of biodiversity & very nice to look at.
The large swale that was defined by the Cabbage palm trees is now a watercourse. I was pleased to see that the the palms were retained. A great deal of work has been done here. Thousands of plants have been planted. There are large wetland areas, new attractive seating, permeable paths, lookouts & areas where one can quietly reflect. Gabian walls are used everywhere. They not only look attractive & act as retaining walls, but also provide habitat for insects & lizards.
The problem of dogs killing the black swans has been permanently fixed by fencing. The Council has chosen fencing that is not intrusive to the eye. It will keep both dogs & humans out, which is very good. A dog water station is being installed for the dogs to cool off.
Every piece of furniture – seats, tables, benches, fencing, railings, bike racks, lighting & bins – is attractive. City of Sydney Council has chosen carefully for durability & aesthetics. These things make the park very attractive to me.
There are newly planted trees everywhere & they all seem to be Australian natives. Trees are planted in groups together providing safer habitat for wildife & more visual impact for people. The trees also act as a wind break, as well as offer shade. I did not see one seating arrangement that did not include one to three shade trees planted around the seating. There is lots of seating dotted everywhere, especially where there is a nice view.
Everywhere are islands of dense planting, all with a variety of Australian native plants. Native grasses are used, but they are not the main plant used. Many of the bushes were in flower providing food for wildlife. Large logs are left in areas surrounded by lots of plants. An animal could be standing beside the log & you would likely not see them. Dead wood is great to leave in the environment.
Another thing we noticed was the lack of litter & the lack of coal fire barbeque smoke. There were no plastic bags flying around everywhere, no piles of coals, no balloons, string, toilet paper & other litter that I am so familiar with. Sydney Park was exceptionally clean. There was no graffiti either. This says to me that the community respects the beauty this park provides & with this respect comes a sense of responsibility. I wish this attitude could permeate all our parks.
The emphasis has obviously been on creating a park that has much beauty & really is a refuge for both people & wildlife. City of Sydney Council does not seem to be concerned with sightlines, which I think is great. Unless you are at the perimeter of the park or on the hill, you cannot see traffic. The odd airplane flies across, but this only adds an element of interest.
This park is a haven for both people & wildlife & something the City of Sydney should be exceptionally proud of. The trees are still young & are still being planted, so I can only imagine just how beautiful it will be when the hundreds of Fig trees for example, grow to maturity.
If you haven’t been to Sydney Park for a while, I highly recommend a visit. There were thousands of people there last weekend, but the park is big enough to not feel crowded. There are many quiet places, as well as busy places like the playground – something for everyone.
Lastly, there is a volunteer bushcare group that work in Sydney Park from 9.30am – 2.30pm every Wednesday & some Saturdays. Some of their great work was visible around the wetlands. For more information email –firstname.lastname@example.org
The City of Sydney Council is once again leading the way by trialing reverse vending machines that accept empty drink cans & plastic bottles. These machines are already in use in Europe, Japan, China & Brazil.
City of Sydney Council has installed the machines in two busy locations –
- Bus Stand C on Alfred Street Circular Quay &
- Dixon Street Mall in Chinatown.
The Council has chosen to reward people who use the machines by offering them a chance to win something. You get to choose from “bus tickets, 2 for 1 food vouchers from City of Sydney food trucks, or a chance to be in the draw to win two tickets to the 2014 Sydney New Year’s Eve Dawes Point event or you can choose to donate your reward to Clean Up Australia.”
“15,000 bottles & cans are littered or landfilled in Australia every minute. It is a fact that a ‘cash for container’ scheme, will reduce litter & increase recycling rates to 80 – 95%. South Australia is leading the way with such a scheme & has double the rate of recycling than the rest of the country.”
I think it is a brilliant idea. Beverage companies Coca-Cola Amatil, along with Schweppes Australia & Lion Pty Ltd won a Federal Court case against a Northern Territory container deposit scheme in 2013. There has been no evidence of agreeing to Cash for Containers schemes in the Northern Territory or elsewhere in Australia. South Australia has continued to run their scheme successfully.
Even though there are only two machines in Sydney at the moment, they are removing drink containers that would likely have ended up as litter & in our harbour & waterways. Each reverse vending machine can hold 3,000 drink containers before needing to be emptied.
I’d like to see them everywhere. Can you imagine the positive impact on the Cooks River if these reverse vending machines were all over Marrickville LGA & the other municipalities along the Cooks River?
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