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Brittle gum in Stafford Street Stanmore.

Sydney blue gum in Stafford Street Stanmore.  It looks like a sick tree with a poor canopy.  Unfortunately the canopy does not show well in this photo.  A tree behind makes it look fuller than it is.  

You can see the damage in the trunk of the Brittle Gum.

You can see the damage in the trunk of the Sydney blue gum.

Inner West Council has given notice that they intend to remove two public trees in Stanmore.

Tree number 1:  a Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna) outside 13 Stafford Street Stanmore.

Council gives the follow reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has previously had several major branch failures which have resulted in weakened structural integrity.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public and property.”

Council says they will replace with a Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) in the 2017 Street Tree Planting Program between May & September.

I agree this tree needs to go.   While I like Jacarandas, I think it is a shame to replace a big native tree species with an exotic.

The deadline for any submissions is Friday 3rd March 2017.

Tree number 2: a Brittle Gum (Eucalyptus mannifera) outside 62 Percival Road Stanmore.

Council gives the follow reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has poor vitality and significant canopy dieback
  • Major open wound to trunk with decay and loss of structural wood.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public and property.”

Council says they will replace with a Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) during the 2017 Street Tree Planting Program between May & September.

I agree this tree needs to go & think it is good that Council is replacing a native with a native.

The deadline for any submissions is Friday 10th March 2017.

Brittle gum in Percival Road.

Brittle gum in Percival Road.  Not much canopy left.

The trunk of the Brittle gum in Percival Road.

The trunk of the Brittle gum in Percival Road.

Sydney Park 2016

Sydney Park 2016.   NOTE:  This photo does not show the location of the proposed development.  

Can you imagine a 6-storey, 400+ apartment building in Sydney Park?

No?  Well, the Alexandria Residents’ Action Group blog says that a “proposed new development will replace what is currently a low rise warehouse/office building that is tucked behind a row of trees next to the lakes.”

Sydney Park is easily the best park in this area.  Even though it is located within the City of Sydney boundary, for many residents of the former Marrickville municipality, this is regarded as one of our favourite parks.

It’s bad enough that the WestConnex Authority have plans that will impact on Sydney Park.

The Alexandria Residents’ Action Group  are asking the community to lodge an objection against this DA by the end of this week.  The blog has a link to a template to help make this easy for you.

For more information see – https://arag.org.au/2016/09/11/new-threat-to-sydney-park/

A Marrickville streetscape. Photo June 2016.

A Marrickville streetscape. Photo June 2016.

In 2015 Melbourne City Council allocated each of their 77,000 public trees an email address.  It was intended that people could report vandalism or trees that were in a severe state of decline. Instead the trees were inundated with love letters.

By July 2015 over 3,000 emails concerning the city’s trees were received.  These were sent not only by citizens of Melbourne, but also tourists from all around the world who wanted to express their love for Melbourne’s trees.  Melbourne City Council were surprised at the positive response toward the urban forest, though I think the response is understandable because many streetscapes in Melbourne are phenomenally beautiful. Perhaps it is that you become used to what you see every day.

The City of Melbourne also has an online interactive map of their urban forest.  This map provides all kinds of information about the urban forest from individual trees to whole precincts & plans for the future.  See – http://bit.ly/1xPGgwJ

To me this shows that Melbourne City Council is very sure of their plans for the future & confident of public scrutiny.

The online interactive map also has a great educational aspect, allowing anyone, including schools, to find out more about their urban forest.  They even have an opportunity for people to become citizen urban foresters to “become an advocate for planning issues affecting trees in your area.”  Wow!  That is commitment to working with the community!  I am impressed.

Twelve months on & the City of Knoxville in the USA have picked up this initiative.  The canopy in Knoxville is around 40%. All the trees are covered by the Tree Inventory & available to see on an online interactive map.  Each tree has information about the species, its history & features.

Each tree has an email address that allows citizens to write an email to the tree addressing any concerns they may have.  The email goes directly to a Knoxville urban forester who will read the email & reply back on behalf of the tree.

The idea is that the community help the Department of Urban Forestry to manage the urban forest by reporting things happening with trees that the council may not know about until it develops into a problem.

“It shows the commitment the city’s got to the urban forest,” said Arborist Daniel Laine & I would agree with him. What will be interesting is whether the Knoxville trees receive love letters, as happened in Melbourne.

Well done to both these councils.  I think this initiative is excellent & one that includes the community in their urban forest beyond a once-off consultation about the Urban Forest Policy is always preferable in the long-run.

Times change. The demographics change & so do attitudes concerning trees.  Having interactive engagement programs like this allows the community to have more of a voice as to how their streetscapes look.  Importantly, the benefits for learning about our local environment are huge & the potential for schools is also vast.

The article about Knoxville comes with a short news video.  What I find of interest is the leafy outlook of their public spaces.  It is worth a look. See – http://on.wbir.com/28V68XM

This area is to be planted with a 1.5-2 metre salt marsh next to the river.

This area directly next to the river is to be planted with a 1.5-2 metre wide salt marsh.

A couple enjoys the shade next to the river.

A couple enjoys the shade next to the river.

Continuing on from my posts for Mahoney Reserve – http://bit.ly/210uG1I, Steel Park – http://bit.ly/1suDxOh & Richardson’s Lookout, Warren Park & Cooks River Foreshore – http://wp.me/pyn6B-2mv

Inner West Council plans the following upgrades for Mackey Park –

  • Install 15 new seats.
  • Install 4 picnic tables along the river frontage
  • Install 2 new barbeques at river frontage.
  • Install bike racks
  • Install exercise equipment.
  • Install a new shade structure adjacent to the playground.
  • Install barbecue facilities in the playground.
  • Provide additional seating in the playground.
  • Install new playground equipment.
  • Repaint the River Canoe Club with a mural.
  • Plant a 1.5-2 metre salt marsh riparian along the edge of the river. While I think it is great to re-vegetate the river, I wonder why Council wants to stop people from accessing the river’s edge. Will the concrete stormwater top be the only place where we can sit directly at the river’s edge?
  • Remove the fencing from around the wetland and expand the area of vegetation
  • Remove exotic vegetation at the Concordia Club & plant low growing local, native plants.
  • The car park in the Concordia Club will include planting, rain gardens & regulated parking.

I went to Mackey Park the day after I posted about the intended removal of the poplar trees & saw that all the Poplars along the shared pathway at Mackey Park had a small silver number tag attached to the trunk.  These tags were not attached to the trees the previous week.

Obviously these trees are being allowed to stay.  Although I am very happy about this, I would think that they too would be “damaging water quality and adjacent plant communities,” which is the reason for removing 27 poplars in Council’s report.  Again, I say that I find it amazing that Council would spend so much money to remove trees for such odd reasons in this time of climate change. I have written about the decision to remove 27 trees here – http://wp.me/pyn6B-2lm

Community consultation is open until tomorrow Wednesday 8th June 2016.  You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO

Showing the new tags attached to all the poplar trees along the shared pathway in Mackey Park

Showing the new tags attached to all the poplar trees along the shared pathway in Mackey Park

The shrubs around the Concordia Club seen on the left will be removed.

The shrubs around the Concordia Club seen on the left will be removed.

Warren Park Marrickville

Warren Park Marrickville

Plan for Cooks River parklands  – Richardson’s Lookout, Warren Park & Cooks River Foreshore

This is a series of posts about Inner West Council’s plan (nee Marrickville Council) for all the parks along the Cooks River, except Tempe Reserve.

For Mahoney Reserve. See – http://bit.ly/210uG1I For Steel Park – http://bit.ly/1suDxOh

I have not covered all of what Council intends, just those areas that are environmental initiatives or those that interest me.  The link to download the Plan is below.

Richardson’s Lookout

Inner West Council plans the following upgrades for Richardson’s Lookout –

  • Mulch & plant natives under the heritage fig trees.
  • Create an equal access path from Thornley Street to Richardson’s Lookout.
  • Revegetate the unusable area surrounding the Cooks pine.
  • Install 3 new seats.

Warren Park

The following is planned for Warren Park –

  • Build a native vegetated swale to the existing low point at the eastern end of Warren Park.
  • Do bank stabilisation works & “ant-scour” on steeper slopes. I do not know what ant-scour means.
  • Build a vegetated detention basin prior to the Cooks River.
  • The fencing between Warren Park & Thornley Street will be removed & native grasses & other local native plantings planted to act as a barrier between the park & the road.
  • Install 2 new seats.

Cooks river foreshore

The following is planned for the Cooks River Foreshore –

  • A failing retaining wall will be replaced with stone or similar. Biodiversity opportunities will be incorporated into wall design.
  • More re-vegetation will be done along the river foreshore.
  • Build a river-viewing pontoon or jetty constructed from steel mesh or similar.
  • Install an exercise station.
  • Install 3 new seats.
  • Install bike racks.
  • Install night lighting along the share pathway.
  • Progressively remove the Poplar Trees between Mackey Park & Warren Park. A total of 27 trees will be removed along the river from Mackey Park to Mahoney Reserve.  I have been waiting for this to happen for years, as a then Tree Manager told me it was planned when I spoke with him at the opening of Mackey Park in December 2010.  If the community doesn’t fight to keep these trees we will lose them. I have written about my horror about the proposed tree removal here. See – http://wp.me/pyn6B-2lm

Community consultation is open until tomorrow Wednesday 8th June 2016.  You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO

All the Poplar trees along this beautiful walk are to be removed along the Cooks River Foreshore.

All the Poplar trees along this beautiful walk along the Cooks River Foreshore are to be removed 

 Richardsons Reserve and the Cooks Pine.

Richardsons Reserve and the Cooks Pine.

Showing the location of the playground and the river

Council plans to plant vegetation in front of  the riverbank to stop the community having access to the river – yet this is where many sit to enjoy a picnic with friends, read a book, chill out & watch the river.  The fence you can see carries on for many metres past following the path & keeps children from running from the playground to the path or the river.  It should be enough.  Why should the community miss out on being able to sit beside the river?  There are so few places where we can do this along both sides of the river without having a fence, mangroves or something in front to prevent this.  I find this part of the plan very sad & hope Council changes their mind.

 

Continuing on from my posts on Mahoney Reserve. See – http://bit.ly/210uG1I

Steel Park is also a ‘designated fauna habitat link.’

Inner West Council (nee Marrickville Council) plan the following for Steel Park –

  • Add more concrete paths to help with existing desire lines & increasing recreation opportunities.”  One will be a 1.8-metre wide path to Thornley Street from the current shared path along the grass next to the cliff up to Thornley Street. Our Council loves laying concrete in parks.
  • What is good is the plan for new trees around the flying fox, the water play park & between the play facilities & the ball net. New trees also for around the exercise equipment & the proposed water treatment wetland. New trees are also planned for the slope near Thornley Street.  It would be nice to know the number of trees planned, but any new trees are a boon for this park.
  • All the Poplar trees except for those in the Children’s Playground will be removed. I think this is entirely unnecessary, especially removing healthy trees for the reasons given & in these days of climate change when trees are more important than ever.  It will be an expensive job to remove 27 big tall trees.  You can read more here –  http://bit.ly/1Wlfe1x
  • The lower branches of the Casuarina trees along the foreshore pathway will be removed to increase sight lines & ground covers planted.
  • Grasses, groundcovers & small shrubs will be planted alongside residential properties.
  • Grasses & groundcovers to be planted beside the car park.
  • New rain gardens a minimum 2-metres wide will be added to the car park & planted with local native sedges, grasses & tree plantings.
  • 13 new seats will be placed along the edge of Illawarra Road & behind the Debbie and Abbey Borgia Recreation Centre.
  • 5 concrete “block style” seating will be placed in the patch of grass near the house on the slope next to Thornley Street.
  • There will be another barbeque installed next to the playground with a shade structure.
  • The playground will be expanded with new equipment that has a nature based theme.  That’s nice.
  • The fence around the northern playing field will be removed.
  • New bike racks installed near the exercise equipment.
  • Upgrade the playing field with new turf & drainage.
  • And sadly, Council plans to plant vegetation infront of the river  “to limit water access by users.” 
 I would have thought the extensive fence between the shared path & the children’s playground & barbecue areas would have been sufficient.  Frankly, the plan to cut off access to the river makes me feel sad.  To stop people being able to sit at or near the river’s edge is a BIG LOSS to many in the community.   Plenty of people like to sit here on picnic blankets & watch the river.  

Community consultation is open until this Wednesday 8th June 2016.  You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO

A 1.8-metre wide path will be installed on the left of the photo to the trees in the distance & up the slope to Thornley Street.

A 1.8-metre wide path will be installed on the left of the photo to the trees in the distance & up the slope to Thornley Street.

The fence will be removed & seats installed.

The fence will be removed & seats installed.  The playing field will be upgraded with new turf and drainage.  

Four Robinia trees to be removed on the corner of Herbert and New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill. By my observations, this is a popular place for people.

Four Robinia trees (and perhaps one power pole) to be removed on the corner of Herbert and New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill. By my observations, this is a popular meeting place for people who were seeking the shade on this warm winter’s day.

Inner West Council (nee Marrickville) have given notification that they intend to remove 5 x Robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia) trees outside 366 New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill

Council gives the following reason for removal –

  • “Trees to be removed as part of an upgrade project. They are in poor condition & at the end of their useful life.”

They say the trees will be replaced with “super advanced 400L container size tree Liriodendron tulipifera installed in structural soil to provide optimal soil volumes.”

I can have a guess at what “structural soil” & “optimal soil volumes” mean, but why not write the reason in plain English so that everyone in the community can understand?  Industry jargon always isolates & alienates those not in the industry & this applies to all industries.  The target audience is the community, not other arborists & town planners.

Of importance is our urban forest will not be increasing fast when five trees are removed to be replaced with only one tree.

The Liriodendron tulipifera is a deciduous tree native to North America.  It produces green/yellow flowers in spring & yellow autumn color before the leaves are dropped.  It grows in an upright form & can reach 20-metres in 10-15 years.   Liriodendron tulipifera are planted along the Marrickville Road shopping strip.

I went to have a look & could only see four Robinia trees in this location.  One was a power pole with a streetlight, so easily mistaken I suppose. Maybe the pole will be removed as well.

I wanted to call this post ‘A lost opportunity.’

In 2015 Marrickville Council did research to garner information about the urban heat island effect & the impact of heatwaves in Dulwich Hill.  They also created a Thermal Map, which showed the hot areas in Dulwich Hill.

Not only was New Canterbury Road nominated as ‘hot spot’ by the community, but the thermal map showed that this perception was indeed correct.  The corner of Herbert Street & New Canterbury Road is right up there in terms of excessive heat at between 32.9 – 36.8 degrees – the maximum heat shown in the thermal map.

The same corner was also in the second highest area of a study of the ‘population vulnerable to heat stress.’

So knowing that this location is really hot & is in an area of population deemed vulnerable to heat stress, Council only plans to plant one tree?  Seriously!

The location at corner of Herbert Street & New Canterbury Road has an unusually large streetscape space.  It’s not often Council gets an opportunity to work in public street space that is around 5 x 20 metres.  The corner juts out in a wide swoop.  Currently it is a wide space of concrete with the four trees, one pole & two bench seats & still leaving plenty of room that is open-air concrete.

To plant only one tree is a missed opportunity for Council to create something lovely to not only beautify the streetscape, but to also lower the heat island effect here.

I had difficulty taking photos of the trees that did not include people because they kept rushing into the space to sit on the seats or to stand in the shade.  At one stage there were fifteen people under the trees.  This shows that this is a popular meeting space for the community – another reason why more than one tree should be the upgrade project’s target.

A busy café is on this corner.  People buy something from the café & take it outside.  The café itself, does not seem to get relief from the afternoon sun.  In Sydney winter really only started yesterday after a summer-like autumn that broke all previous temperature records.  It was cold today, but still hot enough outside for people to be actively seeking shade.

This idea that we need deciduous trees for the winter months belongs to the pre-climate change past. Even the shops are despairing because of record low sales of winter clothing.

In my opinion there is room for five decent sized trees speed spread out over this site, plus landscaping works that incorporate the current seating.  Anything less means that Council knows the area is hot, but is not willing to take steps to mitigate the heat & make it an attractive & useful space for the community.   Such a shame.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 1st June 2016.

Showing the corner from Herbert Street

Showing the corner from Herbert Street.  This is a large space and much good can be done with it to make it a beautiful and useful space for the community.

Showing the corner from New Canterbury Road. Again you can see how wide this section is.

Showing the corner from New Canterbury Road. Again you can see how wide this section is.

Looking behind and up New Canterbury Road. No street trees, so the opportunity for trees on the corner becomes even more visually obvious.

Looking behind and up New Canterbury Road. No street trees, so the opportunity for trees on the corner becomes even more visually obvious.

 

Native ground covers & grasses will be planted underneath these Casuarina trees beside the golf course & new trees will be planted in the gaps. Rocks, logs & nesting boxes will be placed in this area to increase viable habitat for wildlife.  All very good.

Native ground covers & grasses will be planted underneath these Casuarina trees beside the golf course & new trees will be planted in the gaps. Rocks, logs & nesting boxes will be placed in this area to increase habitat for wildlife. All very good.

Council plan to remove the steel form the riverbank & naturalise with mangroves, sedges & saltmarsh

Council plan to remove the steel from the riverbank & naturalise with mangroves, sedges & saltmarsh, which is fantastic.  However, they also plan to install a 3-metre wide concrete shared pathway, which I personally wish they would not do as I like the naturalness & peace of this area.

Another view of the riverbank, which will be naturalised and a concrete path installed.    I think the path will have a big impact on the trees here & there are some special Fig trees.

Another view of the riverbank, which will be naturalised and a concrete path installed. I think the path will have a big impact on the trees here.  There are some special Fig trees in this location.

Marrickville Council, now amalgamated & known as the Inner West Council, has opened community consultation for their ‘Cooks River Parklands Plan of Management & Master Plan.’  The plans cover 2.5 kms of the Cooks River foreshore.

Of interest is that the whole of HJ Mahoney Reserve is designated as a ‘fauna link.’

Council plans to do some seriously good & beneficial things concerning the environment –

  • Build a swale with plants, rocks & logs along the Wharf Street side of the park between the club house & the edge of the golf course. Pedestrian bridges will be built to allow people to cross the swale. This is excellent because Wharf Street has suffered severe flooding in the last few years.
  • Plant shade trees in the parking area.
  • Create a rain garden in the parking area.
  • Construct an ephemeral wetland around the trees in the section beside Illawarra Road & Wharf Street. There will be seating, picnic & barbeque facilities in this area.
  • A rock-lined overflow vegetated swale will be created in the park beside Illawarra Road. The three mature Poplar trees in this location will be retained. The 5 mature Poplar trees on the western side will be removed & replaced with natives.  I am horrified about this tree removal & have written about the plan to chop down 27 Poplars trees here – http://bit.ly/1Wlfe1x
  • Beside the art wall, Council plans to create two multiuse courts & install concrete bench seating that can be used by skaters. I love that there will be an area for kids to skate.
  • The steel river edge will be removed & a new riverbank created & planted with either mangrove or sedges & saltmarsh. “The river edge naturalisation shall include alternate types of edge treatment; one that allows views to the river with low growing saltmarsh & wetland species & another that encourages mangrove species to colonise the intertidal zone.”
  • New local native trees will be planted along the river edge.
  • Dog owners will be happy as there will be a trial for off-leash dogs.
  • Native ground covers & grasses will be planted underneath the double row of trees (mostly Casuarinas) beside the golf course. New trees will be planted in the gaps. Rocks, logs & nesting boxes will be placed in this area to increase viable habitat for wildlife.
  • 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 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 after working out how to ensure users are not hit by stray golf balls.

I cannot see how the mangroves or the trees both in the park & in the golf course will not be negatively affected if a 3-metre wide concrete path is laid.  Tree roots will need to be cut, the trees will be affected by the concrete & the compaction, plus the mangroves will need to be pruned back & so will many of the trees.  I imagine that some of the trees will need to be removed.  There are some significant trees in this area.

The river side of this park is one of the few peaceful places along Marrickville’s section of the river.  Cyclists can use the road through the golf course in safety that already connects with the bridge over the Cooks River.  There is already a shared pathway just across the river.  Why not fix the riverbank, make it more beautiful & suitable for wildlife & allow this part of the park to remain peaceful?  

  • Council also plans to lay a 2-metre wide concrete footpath beside the park on Wharf Street. More concrete!   I don’t understand why more concrete needs to be poured when most people enter the Mahoney Park crossing the road from Steel Park through an opening in the fence.  All around the world de-paving is happening, yet our Council wants to lay concrete when it is not really necessary & in the most natural environment we have.  There is a footpath on the opposite side of Wharf Street for those who do not want to walk on grass.  All pedestrians would need to do is cross the road.  Of interest to me is that I have visited many suburbs across Sydney that do not even have concrete footpaths, except in shopping or transport areas.

I think the plans for Mahoney Reserve are great overall, except for the laying of concrete along the river’s edge.   Where will people be able to lay a picnic blanket if there are all kinds of plants along the river’s edge & then a wide shared concrete pathway?  I think it would be much more useful for the community to have a quiet space where one can sit & peacefully, have a picnic, read & watch the river.

I didn’t need to look hard on the internet to find a study on the need for peaceful areas.  This one called, ‘Quiet Areas and the Need for Quietness in Amsterdam’ was published by the National Library of Medicine in 2012.

In brief the researchers looked at the need for quietness at outdoor spaces in the urban environment.

“Visiting a quiet place & going outside to walk or bike can have a compensating effect on the need for quietness. This suggests that creating quiet places & enhancing possibilities for quiet recreation in urban environments can have a positive effect on the quality of life in the city.”

“In a Dutch survey on the need for space, quietness & silence in recreational areas 80% of the respondents report that these aspects are (very) important.”   See – http://1.usa.gov/1RsCG54

Being able to find peaceful green spaces is a fundamental & precious part of a suburb’s liveability.  Peaceful & quiet places should be available.  I’ve said before that I think Council is turning the river foreshore into an entertainment area.  It’s true that we can cross the river & go into other municipalities to access peaceful areas, but I don’t think we should have to do this.

Community consultation is open until Wednesday 8th June 2016.  You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO

A 3-metre concrete path will totally change this area.

A 3-metre wide concrete path will totally change this area in the golf course.  Both trees & mangroves will need to be significantly pruned.

The dirt path beside the river in the Marrickville Golf Course is lovely & a rarity in the area.  A 3-metre path will change this entirely.

The dirt path beside the river in the Marrickville Golf Course is lovely & a rarity in the area. Walking along here you can imagine yourself in the country.  A 3-metre wide concrete path will change this entirely.

This is one of a number of significant trees that would be affected by the planned 3-metre path.

This is one of a number of significant trees that would be affected by the planned 3-metre wide concrete path.

A 3-metre path here will cut off the river with a line of concrete.  The trees will need significant pruning.

A 3-metre wide path here will cut off the river with a line of concrete. 

 

Poplar trees in Steel Park. 10 trees outside the playground area will be removed.

Poplar trees in Steel Park. 10 trees outside the playground area will be removed.

Poplar trees in Steel Park to be removed.

Poplar trees in Steel Park to be removed.

I have been reading the extensive document – ‘Cooks River Parklands Plan of Management & Master Plan’ released for community consultation by Marrickville Council (now amalgamated with Leichhardt & Ashfield Councils & given the ultra boring name of Inner West Council).

While I will go through this document in more detail, I thought it is important to make a single post about Council’s intention to remove most of the Poplar trees along Marrickville’s section of the Cooks River.

This amounts to the removal of 27* trees & Council are doing this in a time of climate change when every tree is important, especially tall, mature broad-leafed trees with significant canopies. 

* My count could be incorrect.  I counted 12 Poplars along the Cooks River Foreshore, 10 trees in Steel Park outside the playground area & 5 others in Mahoney Reserve.  I did not include 23 trees in the Steel Park playground area, nor the 8 trees along the shared pathway at Mackey Park or the 4 trees on the Illawarra Road side of Mahoney Reserve.

All Poplars will be removed in Mahoney Park, except for the four trees adjacent to Illawarra Road.  Three are mature, one is small.  The same is planned for Steel Park, except for the existing all “structurally sound” Poplar trees located in the children’s playground.  It will be interesting to see how many of these trees will be deemed unsound & removed.

Poplar trees to be removed in Mahoney Reserve. The trees behind are mature Fig trees, which gives you an idea of the height of these trees. Poplars are deciduous, so they have lost most of their leaves.

5 Poplar trees to be removed in Mahoney Reserve. The trees behind are mature Fig trees, which gives you an idea of the height of these trees.

Council’s report says that the Poplar trees beside the river “are damaging water quality and adjacent plant communities.”   Such a grand statement, yet no information for the citizen who might care to know more.

Poplars are well-known as great trees for riparian areas because they stabilize the soil.  It could be that being deciduous trees, they drop a large amount of leaves, which this pdf document says is bad for waterways.  See – http://bit.ly/1TkdzHf

This pdf document, ‘Using Poplar Trees to Meet Stringent Water Quality Permits’ http://bit.ly/200LOUu for waste water says Poplar trees have the –

  • “Potential to utilize both recycled water & biosolids,
  • have high water & nutrient utilization compared to other crops &
  • tall dense structure can provide a visual screen for site aesthetics & habitat value.”  I am glad they mentioned habitat because these trees are full of feeding birds.

I’d suggest the massive & regular use of Glyphosate sprayed all over the municipality & importantly right at the river’s edge in all parks & along the Marrickville Golf Course would have a higher negative impact on water quality than these Poplar trees.  Give me trees over pesticides any day.

You can also see my post, “The Cooks River is crying’ http://bit.ly/1TUMwy8  showing some photos of the appalling floating army of filth in the river last weekend to see what the real water quality is like.  Will the removal of a few Poplar trees along a small section of the river actually make a positive impact on the water quality of the Cooks River when this is happening?  Seriously? 

Photo Taken 15th May 2016. Not only bottles and other litter, but look at the oil.

Photo taken 15th May 2016. Not only bottles and other litter, but look at the oil.

The report says Council will, “Progressively remove the Poplar Trees between Mackey Park and Warren Park.”

At Mackey Park the report says, “Implement recommendations for existing trees as per the Marrickville Open Space Tree Inventory 2015.”   However, there is no mention of the Poplar trees in Mackey Park.

The Poplar trees along the shared pathway at Mackey Park.

The Poplar trees along the shared pathway at Mackey Park with the river on the right.

I was told by a Council Tree Manager at the opening of the Mackey Park on 9th December 2010 of a plan to remove these trees.  This link provides a history regarding the loss of Poplar trees along Marrickville’s section of the river – http://bit.ly/1Yr6YLb

In February 2014 a post was made by someone on Facebook about the rumour of the removal the Poplars at Mackey Park.  I contributed what I had previously been told by Council.  The discussion clearly expressed community opposition to the removal of these trees.

As a result, Marrickville Council posted the following on Facebook –

“I’m very happy to let you know that Council has no plans to remove these trees at Mackey Park.  Please know that the ONLY reason council would consider removing a tree is if it poses a risk to life or property, leaf drop or messy characteristics are never a consideration for removal.  We LIKE trees – honest! Our aim is to increase the canopy.”  

I repeat – “…. leaf drop or messy characteristics are never a consideration for removal.”

It is my understanding that it is illegal in NSW to remove trees because of leaf & other litter, but it seems this is not the case for local councils.  I would suggest that if the Poplars are affecting water quality, then so would the Poplars in Mackey Park.  It seems contradictory to remove some, but not all of the trees.

The report also says that in Mackey Park they plan to, “Trim lower branches from foreshore vegetation to maximise views from the share path and new seating.”

The two new seats are being used daily & looking through a section of trees to the river does not lessen the experience.  There are many people who actually like trees as part of the view.  Not everything needs to be like watching television.  I sat on both seats & they both have a clear view to the river.

Plus, Council plans to install picnic tables next to the river, so there will be uninterrupted views of the river from these seats.

Marrickville municipality has had enough pruning of public trees in my opinion. Trees pruned to look like poles with foliage on top are not very attractive trees, except for palm trees & they are supposed to look like that.  All around the world trees are being hacked at, vandalised or removed for views.

These trees will continue to grow & their pruned trunk will get more pole-like as they grow taller.  The shade they produce will also be less.

Council also plan to prune the Mackey Park Fig trees that they wanted to remove in 2009 because it was believed they would shade a corner of the playing fields.  Fortunately, these trees were saved in 2009 after strong opposition from the community.  See – http://bit.ly/1WwqUhJ

The outcome was that one branch was pruned from one of the Fig trees.  It doesn’t sound much of a deal, but the removal of just one branch amounted to removal of approximately one-quarter of the canopy.  This tree only had 6 branches & a major branch of the canopy was removed. 

Only in Marrickville is a spot of shade not allowed on the corner of a playing field.  Cross the river & you will see parts of many playing fields affected by shade.  Sunset is on the river side so actually the shade of these trees moves towards the river & therefore should not cause a problem for the field, except for early morning games.

If Council really wants to know how the community feel about the Poplar trees, I would suggest that they employ a couple of market researchers to simply ask all the passers-by at Mackey Park & along the Cooks River Foreshore how they feel about the Poplar trees.  I firmly believe that they will hear again & again how much the community loves these trees.  Of course they will get a few people who don’t like the trees, but I believe the feedback will be overwhelmingly positive towards these trees.

Why?

  • They are unusual in that they are big tall trees with big fat trunks. This is a local rarity, except for some Fig trees.
  • They not only look great & produce lovely dappled shade, the leaves also sound wonderful in the breeze.   This sound is an almost instant stress reducer.
  • The trees mark the seasons in an extravagant way. They lose their leaves & we crunch them under foot or under bicycle wheels.  In spring the lime green leaves appear & the catkins flower.
  • Their dappled shade is incredibly lovely in the parks & they cool the shared path & Steel Park playground in summer. When you enter Steel Park on a hot summer’s day, the positive impact of these trees is palpable.
  • When they shed their seeds the ground looks like it is snowing in summer & it is lovely to see. And no, they are not spreading new trees all over the area or even in local bushland at Wolli Creek.   In contrast, the Casuarina trees are spreading like wildfire.  Even though these are beneficial native trees, managing their suckering spread by pruning the lower branches as stated in the Plan does not seem like the best management in my opinion.

I am all for native trees. In fact, I prefer natives, but I oppose removal of the few remaining Poplar trees along the Cooks River.  There is plenty of room for more tree planting & these should be native trees.  One last thing, the Poplars are full of birds & they provide a lot of food for them.

It saddens me that Council plans to use a large chunk of the allocated $15 million to remove mature trees.  Everything possible should be done to retain healthy mature trees because they are vital in the management of climate change. 

I will be writing more about the Plan for the Cooks River Parklands.  There are some excellent initiatives & I feel sad that I have concentrated on the negative aspects in this post.

In the meantime, community consultation closes on Wednesday 8th June 2016.  You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO

Poplar trees along the Cooks River Foreshore. Poplars are deciduous, so they have lost most of their leaves. This is a glorious place to walk in summer. Lots of birds, cool dappled shade and much beauty. It is unthinkable to lose them.

Poplar trees along the Cooks River Foreshore. Poplars are deciduous, so they have lost most of their leaves. This is a glorious place to walk, especially in summer. Lots of birds, cool dappled shade and much beauty. It is unthinkable to lose them.

Two more Poplars to be removed along the Cooks River Foreshore.

Two more Poplars along the Cooks River Foreshorten be removed.

Street art in Marrickville

Street art in Marrickville

Marrickville Council has fliers all over the place inviting interested members of the community to attend a workshop that asks the very important question – “How can we make our local environment the best it could be?”

They say, “bring your ideas & all ideas are the right ideas.”   Council will provide a free vegetarian lunch.

And, “This event is a must for people who love to breathe clean air, grow food, plant trees, see clean streets, get to know people, connect with community, watch birds and help nature grow & thrive in Marrickville now & into the future.  Importantly, this event is for people that are ready to do something & to do it with others.”

For me it is easy.

  • Marrickville Council could follow City of Sydney’s example & double the urban forest within a decade, though City of Sydney Council are planning to achieve this by 2020 & the results are already noticeable.
  • Again follow the City of Sydney’s example & reclaim as many street corners as possible, allowing that space to be greened up & also serve as informal & attractive meeting places.  This kind of intervention slows down traffic, as well as adding beauty to the streetscape.
  • More de-paving & more verge gardens. This program is already having a positive impact throughout the municipality.
  • More green walls, even if it is a simple vine that grows up a side wall cooling the area & preventing graffiti tagging.
  • More native trees to fill in the ‘urban biodiversity mosaic, Council’s map of areas of biodiversity across the municipality, instead of mainly planting for wildlife only along biodiversity corridors such as the Greenway & the Cooks River.  Unfortunately, areas that support wildlife are sparse, except for along the Cooks River & the railway lines.
  • No loss of our park space for any reason. We have the least green space of any municipality in Australia, so keeping it must be a top priority.
  • Fresh water available for birds with every bubbler & in parks.  It happens in neighbouring municipalities, why not ours?
  • Complete The Greenway, though I did read recently that the NSW government is going to financially contribute with the councils to make it happen.  See – http://bit.ly/1rHJMxC
  • Insist that new high-rise developments move back from the street to prevent a canyon effect & to allow tall street trees to be planted. It is better for those living in these units to look out onto green & importantly, better for their health as those street trees will help capture particulate matter, protect air quality & lessen the development of respiratory illness & fatal heart attacks.  This is vitally important in my opinion.  I’ve written about this public health issue on a number of occasions. See – http://bit.ly/1qfKvVz    Also, more footpath area outside these developments leaves more room for landscaping & seating if there is a café or restaurant included on the ground level.  Plus, it provides more room for pedestrians.  Targeting new development to produce better looking streets is a no-brainer in my opinion.  Otherwise we will be stuck for the next 50-years with the mistakes of today.

WHEN:     Sunday 22nd May 2016.

WHERE:    Tom Foster Community Centre at 11-13 Darley Street Newtown. 

TIME:    12.30 – 4.30pm

RSVP:    By Tuesday 17th May 2016.
To RSVP & for more information see – http://bit.ly/1QxT1F8

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