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Gloriously beautiful trees which are a huge asset to Newcastle

In sad news, Newcastle City Council has chosen to ignore the Independent Arborist Report done by Mark Hartley regarding the Laman Street Fig trees.  Mr Hartley is a senior consultant for The Arborist Network & was employed by the community to assess the trees & comment on the previous Arborist’s Reports commissioned by Newcastle City Council.

Mr Hartley’s Report was clear. The trees were in no danger of falling & significant aspects of previous Arborist Reports had got it wrong.

Regardless, none of the Newcastle Councillors have decided to bring the issue back to the Council Meeting, nor have Newcastle Council themselves changed their mind about the fate of the trees. Disappointing.

Newcastle Council did say when they first announced the trees will be axed that they would put on a couple of community events to allow the community to say goodbye to the trees.  However, they have changed their mind about this as well.  Perhaps it’s because the print & television media are constantly writing about the issue & the community are commenting in large numbers.  To chop the trees down as fast as you can means the issue is done & dusted, no use speaking about it again.  Disappointing.

I was naïve enough to think that 400 plus submissions, a community petition of over 4,000 signatures (& growing now that people realize the trees will be chopped down) & Mr Hartley’s Arborist Report would have meant that the issue would have returned to Council.  The vote to chop the trees down was only 7-5. This is not an overwhelming outcome in my mind.

It’s a dreadfully sad outcome & one that will stick in people’s minds for decades.  People believe the trees are safe. They have the proof in that not a single branch dropped during the Pasha Bulker storm or the 2 extreme high-wind storms since. One of the storms was within the last month.  They also have the Arborist Report commissioned & paid for by the community. These things are not to be scoffed at. That an Arborist of Mark Hartley’s standing was prepared to put himself on the line about the health of the trees has convinced the community that Newcastle City Council got it wrong.

Next week & for the following 3 weeks, 14 beautiful healthy Fig trees that are aged about ½ their lifespan will be chopped down. Newcastle will be worse-off for it.  I wish the community did have the power to prevent this from happening.

To read Mr Hartley’s Arborist Report – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/independent-arborist-report-for-newcastles-laman-street-figs/

Please read the post by Save Our Figs about the announcement that the trees will be chopped down. This website has followed the process of the removal of the Laman Street Figs from the beginning & makes for very interesting reading – http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/an-historic-day-13-9-2010/

Last night was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting. Absent: Clr O’Sullivan on leave. The Deputy Mayor of Larnaca, Cyprus was acknowledged as a special guest in the Gallery.  As usual, the following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

2A-4 West Street Lewisham – 9 two-storey townhouses. A local resident spoke against the DA saying it was more destruction of significant Lewisham history with another substantial house being demolished & local residents were concerned with the amount of new housing in the area. He asked that a comprehensive Dilapidation Report be done on his property. Clr Marcri confirmed that a Dilapidation Report would be prepared. The DA was passed unanimously.

40 Albermale Street Newtown – 2-storey house with a 2-storey garage. This is the 3rd time before Council.  The neighbour is concerned about loss of sun, loss of light, changes to the line of houses & streetscape. He said the house is a gross overdevelopment for the size of the land & of the 8 grounds for refusal, only 6 have been partially addressed. He also said that cracks appear in his walls from month to month due to the small foundations & therefore was worried about deep excavation 1 metre from his house. The speaker for the DA said they had compromised by doing deeper excavation, lowering the roofline, reduced the room above the garage by 9 sq metres & they will cut a hole in the roof to allow sunlight to go into the neighbour’s property.

Clr Tsardoulias supported the DA saying he was not concerned with overshadowing. Clrs Olive & Phillips said that the open space was less than required & thought this DA set a bad precedent for the area.  The DA was lost with Clrs Hanna, Macri, Tsardoulias, Iskandar & Wright voting for it to be passed.  Clr Olive then moved for refusal on Council outlined grounds which was carried with the same Councillors voting against.

174 Denison Road & 36 Piggot Street Dulwich Hill – Subdivide this land

View of the DA site from the high end of Hoskins Park

into 2 lots. A DA for this site was last before Council in May 2010 for twelve 3-storey townhouses. This saw a return of the Save Hoskins Park community group who were united in opposition of the amended DA. 3 residents spoke against the DA saying it was an unsympathetic over-development that would ruin an intact area of 1920s houses, create parking problems, overshadowing & that scant consideration was given to Marrickville Council’s own development requirements & policies.  They said 150 objections were sent to Council with a petition of 800 signatures & their Face Book site had 230 friends demonstrating the community was against this DA. They also said it didn’t make sense to sell off the heritage & streetscape for short-term gain.

Clr Thanos said the development was wrong & would ruin the look & feel of the area.  Clr Tsardoulias supported Clr Thanos & asked Council to look at classifying 134-136 Piggot Street as heritage houses.  Clr Kontelis wanted safeguards to stop development that is “greedy & disrespectful” to protect our cultural heritage.  The DA was refused.  I wrote about this development here – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/3-more-street-trees-up-for-removal-local-news/ & https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/05/08/report-from-the-gallery-–-4th-may-2010/

Operating hours of the Annette Kellerman Pool – Opening at 5.30am Mon-Sat. A resident spoke against the extended hours saying they will

Once a tree

set a precedent for increased hours for Marrickville Metro & asked that hours be unchanged & reassessed in 12 months.  Another resident spoke about increased traffic, parking, noise that will impact on residents by affecting their sleep & therefore their health. He asked why did Council think earlier than 8am was not okay for Sundays, but 5am was okay for the rest of the week.

Clrs Thanos, Macri, Iskandar & Wright supported a 5.30am opening. Clr Macri said Council will not be running the pool, therefore they won’t have control over what goes on. (I was shocked to learn that Council will not be operating the pool. 17 plus million of ratepayers’ money to build it, yet the profits go elsewhere?)  He put up an amendment that there be an incentive to the operator to keep noise down by having a 12 month report on noise.  He also said it was important to give residents recourse to come back to Council. Clr Peters was concerned that there was a gym & noise from music could affect neighbours & wanted a 12 month trial. The amendment from Clr Macri was lost with support from Clrs Tsardoulias & Peters.

Cyprus Club – 58-76 Stanmore Road Stanmore – 4 storey, open piazza, 11 room guest accommodation, 25 place child care centre & 46 one bed & 10 two bed units.  The Architect said they had lowered the building by 200mm & reduced the numbers of units by 4. He also said they had consulted with the community.   A resident spoke saying the resubmitted plan made token & cosmetic changes, that they were asked to follow the topography & they haven’t done this & will set a precedent for the area.  He said community consultation was bad, they met with the developer, took the information back to the residents & when they tried to meet with the developer again, he remained unable to be contacted.

There was a long debate with Clrs Byrne, Philips, Peters concerned with height, size, bulk & overshadowing problems & not working with the topography.  Clr Peters was concerned that environmental strategies were  not included in the design & that the size is above Council’s own floorspace standards.  Clr Thanos, Macri, Tsardoulias, Iskandar, Kontellis & Hanna spoke in support of the development.  Issues discussed were the requirement of 2 hours direct sunlight for neighbours, that the roof height was only 8 cm over the requirement, the community has been there a long time, they are setting up independent living for elderly people & it is important to support the Cyprus Club.  Clr Kontellis supported the DA, but said she would like the developer to “consider incorporating her colleagues’ valid points.” The DA was passed with Clrs Olive, Peters, Phillips & Byrne voting against.

525 Illawarra Road Marickville South – 4 storey Residential Aged Care facility for 120 beds & a 2-storey Child Care Centre with off-street parking for 86 vehicles.  This DA will go before the Joint Regional Planning Panel on Thursday 12th August 2010 at Marrickville Town Hall at 5.30pm.  (Also decided at this sitting of the JRPP will be 359 Illawarra Road Marrickville, the old Marrickville RSL site.) The public are welcome to attend & speak before the panel.

This area of land is to be an Residential Aged Care Facility & a Child Care Centre

This week’s Council meeting was the Land Use, Assets & Corporate Committee Meeting. The following is how I understood the meeting. I have not included items that did not attract full debate. Any mistakes are mine.

1. Local Traffic Committee Advisory Meeting:

Old RSL site Illawarra Road Marrickville. The Traffic Committee recommended the DA “be supported in its present form, given that there are no significant adverse impacts on traffic or parking.” The DA proposes 180 residential units with 171 parking spaces

Now empty Marrickville RSL building on Illawarra Road looking down Byrnes Road

for residents, visitors & shoppers. The developer amended the DA removing the supermarket, using smaller trucks & moving the loading bay to Byrnes Street.

A resident who spoke against the report said she has collected 1,114 signatures against the DA from the local community who are concerned with the bulk, height & scale of the development & believe it will bring significant traffic onto already congested Illawarra Road.  She said Council was underestimating traffic movement in & out of the development & living next to railway stations did not mean people didn’t own cars. She spoke about the current parking difficulties saying many patrons of the previous RSL either walked or came by courtesy bus or taxis.

Clr O’Sullivan put up an alternative motion: that the Councillors note that the Traffic Committee believes there will be no problems with parking, but the Councillors advise the JRPP Secretariat of residents’ concerns regarding the validity of traffic projections contained in the applicants traffic study & request that any consent conditions have minimal or no impact on surrounding streets.

Clr O’Sullivan expressed concern about traffic saying Councillors are dependent on our Officers as Secretariat of JRPP to determine a sensitive, future-orientated response to the DA & talking about traffic is different from experiencing it.

Clr Thanos opposed the amended motion saying that it didn’t achieve anything because Council staff had assessed the traffic impact & believed there will be no traffic impacts & the motion was misleading to Council staff, residents & JRPP.  He asked whether the motion was asking staff to change their minds & felt the JRPP will ignore a motion like this.   He spoke about providing housing around transport nodes saying no one owns parking spaces on public streets & the number of cars people choose to own is their decision.

Fire Wheel flowers

Clr Olive said he agreed with a lot of what Clr Thanos said, but he also thought there were valid points in the amended motion & would be supporting it.  He said even though staff have made recommendations, this doesn’t mean we can’t make things better.  He spoke about looking at traffic minimalisation by placement of driveways, entrances, sizes of entrances as examples & thought the report was coming from the position of looking at the previous DA.  He said Councillors should be expressing the community’s concerns so the JRPP can look at the issue closely.

Clr Phillips supported the amended motion saying it highlights the problem of the JRPP being the decision maker instead of Councils & it’s important for Councillors to voice their concerns.  He was not convinced there will be no impact on traffic & reminded that there will be further development in this area.

Clr Peters reminded everyone that the JRPP just approved a development at the Newtown RSL site that is to be a 66-room hotel, RSL Club, retail with only 17 parking spaces.

Clr O’Sullivan said that her motion was minimalist in that it only takes into account the traffic &, though she agreed with much of what Clr Thanos said, she said Councillors were representing the community’s interest for both the short & long term. She said the JRPP took heed of community concerns regarding the Tempe Depot development.  Carried with Clr Thanos against.

– Mobility Parking spaces – One was approved in Terminus St Petersham & another rejected in Lymerston St Tempe because there was a space within 10 metres of the property.  Clr Thanos said that every time someone wants a parking space, they claim disability. He said if it were important to the resident, they would have come to speak at the meeting.  The Director recommended that the refusals be referred back to the Traffic Committee following proper procedure to prevent any appeal. Carried with Clrs Thanos & Peters against.

2. Report on Marrickville Transport Planning & Advisory Committee 20 May 2010 – Clr Tsardoulias said he had questions regarding the position of stops on the Light Rail.  Clr Byrne said she was disappointed Railcorp is not providing a public toilet in the ‘unpaid’ area of Newtown Railway Station & hoped they would drop the access fee regarding airport access as this will increase use of public transport to the airport.  Clr Thanos said he thought the access fee would not be dropped, mentioning that Airport Services use Council’s parking spaces at Tempe for their own employees. Carried.

3. Council Infrastructure for investment for Healthy, Safe & Happy Children’s Home/School Journeys – Council surveyed schools & families regarding the pedestrian routes used to travel to school seeking to learn about obstacles/problems that made this difficult or unsafe with the aim to create child-friendly routes.

Clr Byrne was unhappy that Tempe High School, Tempe Primary School & St Peters Public School were not included in the survey.  Clr Olive agreed with the direction of the report, but wanted it noted that Council was not proposing an increase in the budget for this.  He said people were expressing excitement about what they thought would happen, but in reality Council won’t be able to do much in the next 10 years.  He gave the cost of a traffic light at $120,000 as an example. He said he was not against increasing the budget for this.  Motion carried.

4. Floodplain Management Advisory Committee Meeting report April 2010 – recommending the report be adopted, especially the Eastern Channel Flood Study.   Clr O’Sullivan mentioned the substantial risk of flooding in Marrickville & St Peters industrial areas.  Clr Phillips mentioned climate change & extreme rain events citing Kogarah coast & Mackey Park deemed at risk.  He said the science around climate change is changing rapidly with scientists thinking there will be a sea rise of 1-2 metres this century so did not want to see this study predicated on a ½ metre sea rise.

Clr Olive asked how much it was going to cost & whether Council would be approaching the state & federal governments for money.  The Director said he did not know at this stage.  Carried unanimously.

5. Membership of Wollongong City Council of Westpool & United Independent Pools – public liability, professional indemnity, personal accident, motor vehicle, property & travel insurance.

Clr Phillips expressed concern admitting a Council into an insurance scheme that doesn’t have a good track record.  A staff member advised extensive due diligence was undertaken by 3 Pools leading up to Wollongong Council requesting to join & all 3 Pools were concerned about Wollongong Council’s application, especially around professional indemnity insurance. The only exposure Marrickville Council will have concerns motor vehicles & property. Clr Phillips was happy with this. Carried unanimously.

6. Council investments at 30 April 2010, Changes to Code of Meeting Practice, Update on status of petitions & Status update, Councillor Conferences, Outstanding Reports, Action Arising from Notice of Motions & Mayoral Minutes were dealt with together.

Gum flowers

Clr Peters asked about the workshops & expert external input regarding Marrickville Council’s Urban Forest Program & whether it was still Council’s intention to provide this to Councillors.  The Director said Councillors would have a conference at the end of June & a draft is ready to put to Council. Clr Phillips said she recalled a motion by Clr O’Sullivan last February that Councillors would be given education workshops & external input regarding  tree management & now we will be getting the plan without the workshops.  The Director said Council can do this.  All items carried.

I remember discussion previously was to provide Councillors with training workshop about the issues surrounding greening the LGA. The emphasis was on getting external experts to provide an alternative view to removing 1,000 trees per year for the next 5 years that was recommended in February 2010.  It appears to me that the Trees Strategy Issues  Paper is being brought back to the Councillors with a new name: The Urban Forest Plan & training for Councillors on this issue is no longer suggested  by staff.

7. Rescission motion by Clr Macri regarding previous decision to put 2 restricted parking spaces on Marrickville Rd Marrickville. Clr Marcri said Councillors did not follow usual procedure, there was no support from the community for the motion & the numbers were against any changes.  He said the issue should have gone through the proper channels back to the Traffic Committee.

Clr Hanna said businesses in Marrickville Road had difficulty keeping staff because of parking fines. He mentioned that some councilors thought the $10 fee for parking in the Frampton St car park was too cheap, whereas Leichhardt Council provides it free. Clr Phillips said the café owner asked for 2 parking spaces, the process was transparent & if there are complaints from the community he would be happy to revisit the issue.  Clr Macri said it was about democracy, that the survey was heavily against any parking restriction, it should have been advertised & taken to the Traffic Committee.  Clrs Macri, Hanna, Tsardoulias & O’Sullivan voted to rescind.  The rescission motion was lost & the meeting concluded.

Next was the Services Committee Meeting.

8. Branch Operational Costs –  Clr Thanos declared a particular interest in libraries saying Council should saving money now to get a new library with many services up & running soon. To do this he believed some libraries in the LGA would need to be closed. Clr Phillips said he wouldn’t support closing libraries, but said there could be a new library at the Marrickville Hospital site when it was developed.  Clr Byrnes was against closing libraries saying they provide many more services to the community than simply book loans. Clr Hanna didn’t support closing libraries yet, but said he would once a new library was built.  Carried.

9.  Review of Major Community Events & Community Cultural Events Programs

gorgeous bark

Motion moved to defer item until Mayor Iskandar returns from his Sister Cities visits  because he has had significant input & should be able to contribute. Clr Thanos supported deferral & said he will be voting against all events in preference for having money for a new library. Clr Olive said he was unhappy that the Cooks River Festival has gone to Canterbury Council & would be arguing for Council’s retention & involvement in this festival.  He said both the Council & the Cooks River Committee’s involvement have been instrumental in good things happening at the Cooks River. Clrs Tsardoulias, Peters, Kontellis against motion to defer. Carried.

Here ends Report from the Gallery for this week.

Land Use, Assets & Corporate Committee Meeting followed by the Services Committee Meeting.  Councillors Tsardoulias, Iskandar, Thanos, Kontellis were absent.  Clr Hanna left at the conclusion of the first committee’s business due to illness.

A lot happened in these meetings & there was much discussion.  I felt that simplifying the post to shorten its length would not do the Councillors & their arguments justice, so have decided to post in 2 parts. The following is my take on the meeting & any mistakes are mine.

Local Area Traffic Management Scheme:

Item B3 Sydenham Local Traffic.  As I understand the issue, vehicles use Florence & Mary Street Sydenham to travel between Unwins Bridge Road & Princes Hwy.

Wattle about to bloom

9,000 cars & trucks travel through Mary Street per day. 3 residents from Florence & Mary Streets addressed the Councillors, all supporting the scheme that Council was, in part, not recommending.  The residents said 66 signatures were collected from the (almost all) residents of Mary Street asking Council to stop vehicles speeding in Florence & Mary Streets. They said both these streets are dangerous to pedestrians & for people getting in & out of cars.  They cited 50 kph zones in Florence Street & Unwins Bridge Road despite having different uses.  They wanted Florence Street to become 40 kph with at least 1 speed hump & they were prepared to pay for the speed humps if Council couldn’t afford to install them.

Clr O’Sullivan put up a motion to install speed humps in Florence Street & for Council to commit to approach the RTA to make the street 40 km zone. Seconded by Clr Hanna who said he has never witnessed residents saying they will pay for speed humps.  Clr Olive supported the motion saying the residents say they need them & it is an appropriate place to put speed humps. He wanted Council to investigate the feasibility for a raised crossing for the pram ramps.

Clr Macri said this decision may be a ‘trail-blazer’ for other streets. He thought 40 km was quite reasonable for residential streets & said Council should approach the RTA about rezoning speed limits.  He asked staff whether plastic bolted down speed humps were comparable in cost to the ones built onsite. Staff advised the costs are comparable.  Clr Phillips also supported lower speeds in residential streets & asked about the costs associated.  Motion adopted.

Item C3 – parking in Marrickville Road. A café owner in Marrickville Road addressed the Councillors saying that many businesses in the area do not have parking as train commuters park there all day & requested 1 hour parking restrictions in this section of Marrickville Road.

Clr Olive said he was not confident in 1 hour parking just for this area. Clr Peters said she supported 1 hour parking on Marrickville Road citing that commuters park all day free & Council cannot provide free parking.

nice looking planter box

Clr Hanna said he did not want to be put in a position where local business could not keep staff because they were getting parking fines so was against any parking restriction.  Clr Phillips suggested a 6-month trial saying Council received 6 submissions out of the 15 flyers distributed & this was insufficient. He put up an amendment to trial 1 hour parking for 6 months & then review to see if it has worked.  Seconded by Clr Peters.

Clr Wright thought the amendment was okay, but reminded that Council had the idea for just a few spaces with 1 hour parking. Said she would put up a foreshadowed motion later.  Then a staff member advised Clr Phillips’ motion was contrary to the recommendation in the paper. Clr Phillips withdrew his amendment saying he would support Clr Wright’s foreshadowed motion. (Confused yet? I was.)

Clr  Macri said Council only received 6 submissions of which 4 were against changes & he wanted a more thorough community consultation.  Clr Peters said Council was intending to provide parking to business owners in Frampton Avenue.  Chair Clr O’Sullivan called for a vote on the recommendation as it was.  Defeated.

Clr Hanna said that he & Clr Macri were often approached regarding parking issues on Marrickville Road & said it was unfair to do it because 4 out of 6 submissions said they didn’t want restrictions.  Clrs Phillips & Peters said they would support parking restrictions with Clr Peters saying Council was going to provide parking for business owners.  She said we want to provide more turnover in parking for shoppers & Council cannot provide free parking for commuters & business owners.  Carried. (Here I think what was carried was the instigation of 1 hour parking in this area of Marrickville Road).  I wonder how long it will be before metered parking will be introduced in our shopping strips to make money for Marrickville Council. They have proved to be a great revenue maker for Leichhardt Council as an example).

Items Council investments as of 31st March 2010, Status update, petitions & Councillors Access to information All were noted.  Clr Phillips asked staff whether Council were still intending to have consultation with Councillors regarding the Tree Strategy Issues Paper.  The GM said the paper would be put to the general management team in May, then have a series of Councillor conferences with independent experts also being involved.  All carried.  Meeting finished.  Clr Hanna excused himself from the next meeting because of illness.

Local wildlife

Save Hoskins Park – This has nothing to do with Report from the Gallery, but it’s terrific news that can’t wait.  The community won in their opposition to the DA in Piggot Street Dulwich Hill that would have seen 2 double fronted Federation houses demolished, many mature trees removed & building of 11 three storey town houses, 9 of which would loom over Hoskins Park.  See – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/3-more-street-trees-up-for-removal-local-news/ The DA was not passed & the residents are extremely happy with Marrickville Council.

From the Delegated Authority Report: The proposed development fails to satisfy the objectives & controls contained in Marrickville Local Environmental Plan 2001 & Marrickville Development Control Plan No. 35 – Urban Housing (Vol. 1).  It is considered that the proposed development would result in significant impacts on the streetscape, Hoskins Park & amenity enjoyed by residents of adjoining & surrounding developments.  Accordingly it is considered that the application should be refused.

View of the DA site from the high end of Hoskins Park

All up 154 submissions objecting to the proposed development were sent from the community.  Marrickville Heritage Society also put in a submission against this DA.  The community petition against the DA had 770 signatures.  This is a fabulous response from the community. Compliments to the community group Save Hoskins Park for they worked hard to ensure their cause became known far wider than just in the immediate area.  Well done & thank you also to Marrickville Council.

On to the meeting proper. Last Tuesday was the Development Assessment Meeting.  Clr Tsardoulias was absent.  The following is how I understood the meeting & any mistakes are mine.

The following DA decisions were deferred so that the Councillors could do a site inspection: 61 Edith St St Peters, 41 Neville St Marrickville, 14 Vernon St Lewisham & 15 Palace St Petersham.  There was a bit of commotion about one of the DAs being deferred with a member of the gallery jumping up & saying it was a disgrace.  He very much wanted the DA dismissed that night & judging by the nods from others, he was not alone.  Shows you how stressful development can be to the community.

Backpacker Accommodation at 43-51 Addison Road Marrickville – This DA was previously refused in December 2009.  See  https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/report-from-the-gallery-2nd-march-2010/

This time they proposed an 80 bed establishment with off-street parking for 7 vehicles, 2 of them designated Disabled Parking.  In recognition of the public

This Camphor Laurel tree is just over 2 metres wide

disturbances by intoxicated guests, they proposed to have a security guard patrol the local streets hourly from 9pm -3am Sunday to Thursdays & on-site Fridays & Saturdays “with authority to stamp out unacceptable behaviour.”

A speaker from the Backpacker Advisory Association of NSW addressed the Councillors.  He spoke about how ‘house rules’ will be sufficiently communicated to guests & enforced if need be.  He said there would be a full-time manager on-site who will have access to full-time security “which is unusual” & they have made provision for 6 neighbourhood meetings.  In regards to parking he said most backpackers buy cars to go on a road trip, otherwise they use public transport. He cited the benefits of backpackers bringing $1.1 billion to NSW in 2009, each spends $2,500 on average during their stay & they each create 6.3 jobs for the community.

The General Manager of the company spoke next & said they had been negotiating with local police & set up a customer complaint monitoring system & 6 neighbourhood meetings.  He said complaints had decreased of late.  Said of the 41 guests in the past 2 months, only 2 had cars.

Figs cascade over the path on a foreshore walk in Birchgrove

A town planner spoke next & tabled a letter from their lawyer.  He indicated they were prepared to take this DA to the Land & Environment Court.  He said the key issue was the security guard who will walk the streets & there will be a restriction of the number of ‘allowed’ parties.

3 residents addressed the Councillors.  Their speeches cited the following: broken glass, litter, vandalism & tampering with private property on a daily basis, female residents being accosted, cars driving on the wrong side of the road, groups of backpackers on the street screaming & fighting for hours, beer bottles lined up under residents’ cars, damaged public phone booth, vomit in the booth, a roller door being pulled off the garage & dumped with multiple other objects on top of a car, opening gates & letting pets out, climbing on residents roofs, damaging residents cars & so on.  Naturally they had concern for their children being out on the footpath.

The residents said these days the police do come less often because the residents don’t call them often as they realise the police have finite resources.  Therefore the situation hasn’t really improved even though it appears so on paper.  They also said the building is not vacant as travellers are already living there.

Although the building is in an area zoned light industrial, residential houses abut the site.  If this DA goes ahead, there will be 3 backpacker hostels which put the residents effectively inside a triangle of backpackers.

A massive Eucalypt on private property at Ballast Point Birchgrove

Clr Phillips said that while he appreciated the letter from the lawyer, Council must consider the public interest & this DA is a strong issue of concern for the public.  He said the fact there is a need for a security guard says a lot.  He said Backpackers come & go & he doubted they would sit down & read the Plan of Management.  He said he thought the development was too big, saying the police have serious concerns about the development & with another backpackers, Newington Mews, which already has problems.  He said, If Council approved this DA, they would be causing a lot more problems for the community & that an 80 bed hostel is not appropriate for the area & not in the public interest.

Clr Thanos said the current LEP allows this kind of use & he wanted the courts to be aware that Marrickville Council sees this area as inappropriate for backpacker establishments & that Council’s LEP is going to change soon.  He put up an amendment that Council’s LEP should be altered to prevent this from happening.

Clr O’Sullivan supported this amendment saying Council also had issues of concentration of sex industry facilities & should consider control of concentrations of backpacker establishments as well.  She said introducing another 80 backpackers who are often inebriated would have an effect on women, kids & older people.  She also said it’s a new issue in the area & we need to have a clear view on these.

Clrs Olive & Macri spoke about the fact that, even though the hostel is in light industrial, it still abuts residential areas.

Clr Hanna said he did not like establishments like this in the area & encouraged the residents to contact Council’s monitoring services in the event of further disturbances.

a row of young Figs

The DA was unanimously voted against.

200 Enmore Road – A restaurant wanted to extend operating hours to 3am. They are a non-alcohol establishment.  Approved.

Wilford Lane – The recommendation was for Council to negotiate a payment of $54,000 to the developer to widen this section of the laneway.  Recent meetings between Council & residents agreed that the widened section of Wilford Lane would become green space.  Over time, Council will buy back 3 metres along the laneway to widen the laneway from 3 metres to 6.  Passed unanimously.

Meeting finished.  A quick Council meeting followed which agreed that Marrickville Council hold a reception at Petersham Town Hall for the Women Walking for Peace event.  The reception will be organised by Clr Byrne.  Passed unanimously.  The women are walking from Brisbane through Sydney to Canberra from 13 March – 25 May 2010. To see the itinerary – http://footprints.footprintsforpeace.net/australia_walk/upload/files/Itinerary_Updated.pdf

view from the Newcastle Expressway

I have just seen a news item with Blacktown Council graders felling endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland trees at Glenwood Reserve for a football field.  The news said ‘People power mobilized to save Blacktown’s trees.’

A resident said Blacktown Council intended to remove 70 mature (100 year old) trees & had already cleared at least ¼ of the trees.   As the camera panned to a tree with a very large bird nest in its crown, a resident said, “There are not enough trees for the wildlife.”   Blacktown Deputy Mayor said, “We are building a forest out there.  We are planting 750 trees & 3000 shrubs. What more can people want?”

Local residents put together a petition saying they were only notified that the trees were to be removed yesterday. State Minister for the Environment  Frank Sartor stepped in & halted the tree felling.  An internet search found an article about this issue from today in the Blacktown Advocate.

http://blacktown-advocate.whereilive.com.au/news/story/exclusive-pictures-glenwood-reserve-locals-angry-over-tree-felling/

If you are interested in the Cumberland Plains trees, the following is information from the Department of Water, Environment, Heritage & the Arts-

http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/cumberland.html

If you are interested in signing a community petition against the development application which wants 6, 7 & 9 storey high-rise development at the old RSL site on the corner of Illawarra Road & Byrne Street Marrickville,  Heather & Laura will be at the public square next to the Post Office Cafe on Marrickville Road Marrickville from 10am – 12 noon this Saturday 10th April.

The Post Office Cafe is at the corner of Marrickville Road & Silver Street.

Eastwood Plaza-I think this is Wisteria. It is very beautiful & very welcome on a hot day

I’m a bit late with this, but I have just read Marrickville Matters.  I always like this magazine.  They have a nice article about trees on page 5.

For those of you who don’t know, Marrickville Council has launched My Place 2021 & they are asking the community to have a say about the new Community Strategic Plan. The plan covers many areas including environmental & development issues.   It hasn’t closed for comments & I’m not sure when this will happen.  Don’t let this opportunity to have your say regarding how you think Marrickville LGA should be over the next 10 years.  There have been a few comments, but not such that I would call great community involvement.  You can comment anonymously if you like.   I’ve yet to add my 2 cents worth.   http://myplace2021.com.au/

The DA for the old Marrickville RSL site corner of Illawarra Road & Byrne Street is back like the gift from our Auntie that we don’t like.  According to people I have spoken with, this newer version just brims with problems, including 5 areas of non-compliance. Frankly, the community are angry that their concerns have not been taken notice of by the developer & freaked out that it will be approved by the JRPP when it goes before them.

It’s all a matter of personal taste, but having looked at the plans, I think the building is ugly & without doubt, totally out of character for the area.  It’s like the developers don‘t take the community seriously.  “You are going to get modern so live with it!”

It looks like something from Pyrmont & despite this being an issue last time, there is NO minimal GREEN SPACE.

Are the developers thinking that this will be start-up housing before people move onto better accommodation?  If so, then in my mind, they are creating a future ghetto for Marrickville.  The developer says this development fits into Council’s future vision for Marrickville.  This belief is another reason why it is important to leave your opinion on My Space 2021.  Both the Councillors & Council staff need our input when designing our future.

The old Marrickville RSL site is the building in the centre of this photo (many of us will miss the tasteful poster). The building on the left is the only 4 storey building on Illawarra Rd, so at 9 storeys, the new development will be more than double in height

There will be 3 buildings at 6, 7 & 9 storeys meaning it will tower over the neighbourhood & block city views from Schwebel Street.  It will also bounce train noise from 3 rail lines back to Schwebel Street & the housing on the hill.  The people who live here say it is already very noisy, especially during the night.  The goods line is about to commence operating 24 hours a day.

The plans intend 17 studio units (I would have thought this type of housing wouldn’t be allowed anymore), 73 one bedroom units & 90 two bedroom units, a total 180 units.   The previous plans were for 128 units.  The community thought this was too big so they have returned with a plan for 180 units.

It has parking for 171 vehicles so they expect owners will not have cars.  There is 663 sq metres of retail floor space, enough for a supermarket, so I wonder where the shoppers are going to park.

It appears they have removed the RSL from the plan because of concern having shoppers & kids able to see drinking & gambling from the shops & added another 3 metres to the overall size.

There is a petition going around with hundreds of signatures & I urge you to sign it.  Once I know where it will be I will post the locations and date/times.  If you would like a draft submission, you can send me an e-mail & I will send you the draft which was sent to me.

You can download a copy of the DA at Marrickville Council’s website –http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/p190800/eproclaim/index.asp?request_url=ptgeApplications/ptgePublicNoticeAppsList.asp It is 12 down in the list for 359 Illawarra Road Marrickville.  You can also view in hard copy at Council’s Citizens Service Centre during business hours.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 15th April 2010.

You will need to quote DA201000115, your reasons for objecting & provide your name & address (preferably your email address) & a contact phone number.

I sincerely hope that many people take the trouble to send in a submission.  This development is regarded by many as the test run.  If it gets through, then it signals what is okay for Marrickville LGA & we will get a lot more developments of this kind.  It won’t take long before our Inner West area is changed for the negative with ugly high-rise & masses of traffic congestion.

Everyone I have spoken with acknowledges development & housing is needed.  They just want it to blend into the neighbourhood, be greener in outlook, creative & not create towers & canyons that they feel will ruin the area.  I agree.

While I was writing this I watched the news which was outlining the proposed massive increase in population in NSW.  Isn’t it interesting how this topic has become accepted in our language in just a few months.  Everything else has followed, including the pushing of high-rise throughout Sydney’s suburbs.  From an idea, it’s become a ‘must.’

Eucalypt outside 11 Union St Dulwich Hill - Council says tree is seriously sick with many other problems

1.        3 street trees are up for removal in Marrickville LGA.  One of them is a Eucalypt outside 11 Union Street Dulwich Hill that SoT & the community campaigned to save back in June 2009  https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2009/06/16/first-tree-at-risk-union-street-dulwich-hill/ & https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/26th-october-09-beautiful-healthy-street-tree-lives-on-because-of-you/ The other trees are in Hamden Avenue Marrickville & Railway Crescent Petersham.  I will go have a look at them & post something when I know more.

2. Save Hoskins Park was established by Dulwich Hill residents who are vehemently opposed to a DA which plans to demolish two 1920s Federation houses & build 11 modern

View of the DA site from the high end of Hoskins Park - the residents are also concerned about 2 mature park trees located close to the boundary

3 storey town houses with underground parking.  9 of the townhouses will face Hoskins Park. The community is opposing this DA for a variety of reasons.  They are also very concerned the townhouses will loom over Hoskins Park.  This is a reasonable fear because the bulk of Hoskins Park is located at the bottom of a natural valley.

SoT is concerned about this DA for 2 reasons.  Many mature trees will be removed (hopefully Council will insist that a mature Palm on the site is relocated).  The proposed development does not appear to leave any room for replacement tree planting as it seems to want to occupy all the land with the buildings & rely on the park for green space.  The DA is expected to be before Council sometime in April.

Save Hoskins Park has an active petition that I am told is heading towards 1,000 signatures.  The group can be contacted via their Face Book page – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Hoskins-Park/321996854627

3.        Volunteers are needed to help local community environment regeneration group Marrickville Bush Pockets for the following dates:

  • Friday 26 March 5.30-7.30pm – barbeque afterwards
  • Saturday 10 April – 9am – 12 pm
  • Sunday 23 May – 9am – 12pm
  • Saturday 19 June – 9am – 12 pm

See https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2009/12/29/29th-december-09-beauty-the-beast/ to see a recent project.  Contact details are available on the Community WHAT’S

One of the 2 houses in Piggot St which are to be demolished for the DA next to Hoskins Park. It’s gorgeous from the outside. This would not be allowed in Haberfield as they are protecting their heritage.

ON page of this site.

4.             The Wentworth Courier reported that Presbyterian Aged Care NSW plans a major development at the Scottish Hospital in Paddington.  They plan to retain the heritage-listed trees as well as restore the 1848 house & the terraced gardens.  This is good development as it preserves the history & the landscaping. http://wentworth-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/hospital-redevelopment-called-in-by-state-government/

5.        The Cumberland Courier reported of a dead/dying/nearly dead 45 metre Gum street tree in Lindfield & how a resident’s 6 phone calls to Ku-ring-gai Council asking for the tree to be removed were unsuccessful, until she went public in the North Shore Times newspaper. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/ruth-s-six-requests-over-three-months-to-remove-danger-tree/

6.         Not local, but good reading anyway from the Marshfield Mail which concerns the question & answer session during a Marshfield Council meeting (St Louis USA) where the Mayor, who was totally against the city watering newly planted trees, accidentally sided with the yes vote. http://www.marshfieldmail.com/articles/2010/03/17/news/doc4ba12c5f7ca8a795218253.txt

7.        Back to local Council news – the Inner West Courier updated the drama unfolding regarding Strathfield Councillor Lim & alleged breaches of conduct as well as making 17,217 photocopies (not a typo) between October 2009 to January 2010 – http://inner-west-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/they-re-out-to-get-me-lim/

8.        The Inner West Courier reported that many hundreds of fish were found dead in Hawthorne Canal on the boarder of Leichhardt & Haberfield. http://inner-west-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/eyes-pop-as-fish-die/

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