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Both the Draft Marrickville Urban Forest Policy & the Draft Marrickville Urban Forest Strategy are now on Marrickville Council’s website. You can download them here – http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/get_involved/community_consultations/urbanforest.html?s=2018938229

These are important documents as once passed, they decide how our LGA will look in terms of street trees, parks trees & overall canopy. If you want Marrickville LGA to be greener, have more street trees, plant more tall growing trees, plant shade trees, use different trees than what they are currently using or have something to say about trees in Marrickville LGA, then it is important to let Council know.  A submission doesn’t need to be a technical document.  It  can be as simple or as detailed as you want it to be. The important thing is to comment because silence sends a strong message that we approve & it will be very hard to get changes after these policies have been passed.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 28th February 2011.

I last wrote about the Draft Urban Forest Policy & Strategy here – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/1986/

A section of trees along Victoria Road Marrickville. Street trees of this quality is not an unusual sight

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/

Gloriously beautiful trees which are a huge asset to Newcastle

I have posted about Newcastle’s Laman Street Figs on 3 occasions. Newcastle City Council have wanted to remove the 14 Hills Figs since late 2009. The trees that could realistically described as ‘grand’ are planted on both sides of Laman Street creating the most perfect cathedral effect. It is a glorious entrance to the Newcastle Art Gallery.

The Laman Street Figs have been around for around 8 decades & are a significant part of how the people of Newcastle see their city.  I guess an equivalent would be to remove all the Fig trees from Sydney’s Domain. It would change our experience of the NSW Art Gallery all together. We may get used to no trees, but if it wasn’t entirely necessary, I doubt anyone would want it to happen at all.

This is how it is for the people of Newcastle.  96% of submissions said they wanted the Laman Street Figs to stay.  On 17th August 2010 five out of 7  7 Councillors 7 Councillors voted to remove these iconic Figs. 5 Councillors voted to retain them.  The community went into meltdown.

Caitlin Raschke set up Save Our Figs http://saveourfigs.wordpress.com/ &

continually fought for the Figs.  A group of residents called Fig Jam support Save Our Figs & have protested on a number of occasions by holding placards & picnics trying to draw attention to the plight of the Figs.  People said over & over again that it wouldn’t happen & the Figs will stay.

And why not? Anyone could see these trees were bursting with health, except health wasn’t really the issue.  Newcastle Council said the trees had no roots & were a severe danger to the community in that they would fall down & kill someone. The community didn’t believe this assessment.   These trees survived the 124km/h extreme winds that occurred during the Pasha Bulker storm in 2007. That they would now fall in much lesser winds did not make sense.

The annual Arts Fair held under the trees were cancelled. Council erected signs to stay out of the area during high winds. Then they made the street one-way. Then they started blocking off the street during windy days. Then they started blocking off the street at night, then permanently, except for the few hours when the NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir was an esteemed quest at a function at the Art Gallery. For those few hours the chauffeur-driven limousines were parked outside the gallery under the killer trees. This time the community wondered why it was safe for the NSW Governor, but not for anyone else.

Newcastle Council had a charette (big talk-fest). From the original 2 days to talk about the future of Laman Street the issue was given a bit of time tagged onto the end.

Then the Mayor said that the Figs should be chopped down leaving the stumps in the ground & these should be carved into famous people making a dramatic entrance to the Newcastle Art Gallery.  This was voted against at a subsequent Council Meeting.  Then Council suggested that Liquid ambers be planted in place of the Figs & the community started writing letters about what they saw was an inappropriate choice of tree for this location. Then came the Councillors vote on August 17th 2010 & the trees are lost or so it may seem.

An Independent Arborist Mark Hartley, a senior consultant for The Arborist Network was contracted by the community to comment on the previous Arborist’s Reports & assess the trees, as well as their risk of falling.  His report is very interesting. I am attaching the final draft as a pdf that you can download if you are interested.  Mr Hartley has the skill of writing about specialized issues in a way that people who don’t work in the industry can understand.  The report also compares the assessments of 3 other Arborists so you get to understand what has gone on before. Mr Harley outlines substantial errors in previous assessments.

So where to now?  The community is not sitting by until the men with chainsaws arrive.  Newcastle people are very upset about the decision to remove these trees & many who didn’t believe that the trees were at risk have now written letters & spoken to the media & radio. Thankfully, the media is responding to the community by reporting on this issue often.

You can read the Final Draft of the Independent Arborist’s Report by clicking on the following link. The document is 340kb in size.  Thank you to Save Our Figs for allowing me to share it.  Independent-Arborist’s-Report-Laman-Street-Newcastle-final-draft

The following are earlier posts on the Laman Street Figs –

August 2010 – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/newcastle-council-to-chop-down-the-iconic-laman-street-figs/

July 2010 – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/a-plan-to-turn-newcastles-laman-street-figs-into-sculpted-stumps/

April 2010 – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/newcastles-iconic-laman-street-fig-trees-at-risk/

A view of part of the canopy of the Laman Street Figs from Civic Park

Submissions opposing the Marrickville Metro expansion were due by 27th August, but I am pleased to say a 2-week extension has been granted by the NSW Department of Planning.  Marrickville Council initially requested an extension of 30 days to allow the community 2 months to campaign against the Metro expansion.

The deadline for submissions is now Friday 10th September 2010.

Their e-mail is – Plan_comment@planning.nsw.gov.au It is called – Major Project – MP_0191 – 34 Victoria Road Marrickville.

To read about the issues & the potential loss of 142 healthy trees – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/marrickville-metro-expansion/

The periphery of Marrickville Metro is surrounded by trees. The site is a significant patch of green in this largely industrial area. Marrickville Council protected the wall and the brick path by a heritage order when Metro was built. This part of our history deserves preserving as well.

This week I counted the following trees around the current Marrickville Metro & the block where they intend to expand.

67 Fig trees, 9 Brush Box trees, 3 Camphor laurel trees, 8 Eucalypts, 4 Palm trees, 1 Canary Island Palm, 2 Melaleuca trees, 8 Bottlebrush trees, 4 Peppercorn trees, 10 Wattle trees & 26 unidentified species of trees.

TOTAL POTENTIAL TREE LOSS = 142 trees

There are another 24 medium trees on site that may be included in the development bringing the potential total tree loss to 166 trees.

Just some of the trees at risk of removal if the Marrickville Metro expansion goes ahead. The trees create a lovely ambience around the Metro, collect air pollution from vehicles, bring significant beauty to the area, sequester large amounts of CO2, help to lessen the Heat Island Effect & provide homes & food for urban wildlife. Their loss will be devastating.

AMP Capital say the Fig trees only have an average 5-15 years left to live. In ideal conditions, Figs live 150-200 years.  Although these trees are not in ideal conditions they are very healthy. To replace the trees they plan to plant 28 Eucalyptus paniculata (Grey Ironbark) along Murray Street & low level accent, grass & groundcovers “to ensure that general safety, sightlines & CPTED principals are maintained.” – meaning all signs & the building will be very visible as if the height of the new buildings is not enough.

More of the trees at risk of removal.

I think losing these trees will be a huge loss for the community, for air quality, for beauty of the area & for urban wildlife.  Currently most of Marrickville Metro is hidden behind large beautiful, healthy trees. I cannot imagine the area without them. Most of these trees are mature & took decades to grow.

Still more trees at risk of removal

The Metro expansion will also result in a 65-68% increase in traffic from an estimated extra 4 million customers a year. It will destroy our local shopping strips & remove much of the individual kind of shop that make the Inner West unique.

I asked a taxi driver standing outside Metro what he thought, thinking he would be for the expansion as it would bring him more business. He replied, “It will kill the local shops in Marrickville, Enmore & Newtown. I don’t think it will be good for us.”

Marrickville Metro want to buy Smidmore Street. Every bit of green is at risk of removal

AMP Capital also want to purchase Smidmore Street from Marrickville Council.  I think there is a big chance that Council will sell Smidmore Street to help with their financial situation.  In last Wednesday’s Sydney Morning Herald

Council sources said a figure of $8 million has been discussed for the purchase of Smidmore Street, along the shopping centre’s southern boundary, but that no formal offer has yet been made. Several councillors told the Herald the council is united in refusing to sell Smidmore Street ”on principle”, but would not comment on whether that position would change if the project gained approval. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/mall-goes-a-street-too-far-opponents-say-20100811-11zqg.html

In return for traffic gridlocked streets, parking problems, much more noise, air pollution, visual pollution & the potential loss of at least 142 beautiful trees, AMP Capital will give us many more shops like we can get at close-by Roselands, Eastgardens or Broadway shopping malls. They are also offering a small library & a community education board.

We already have a number of fabulous & free-to-use libraries courtesy of Marrickville Council & a public education board is nothing to get excited about.

The car park of Marrickville Metro is surrounded by the canopy of the Figs & other trees providing a buffer to surrounding properties & creating an ambience unknown anywhere else in Sydney. They also prevent particulate matter (known to cause lung & heart disease) from the vehicles from dropping onto the street & surrounding properties.

The expansion to double the size of the current Metro makes me wonder where the customers are going to come from. Around 2-3 years ago, all the shops in Metro were required to do a specific renovation as part of sprucing up Metro & their rents were raised.   A number of shops were struggling to meet this cost & some moved out to set up shop elsewhere.  Since then, there have always been vacant shops in Marrickville Metro.

I am of the belief that AMP Capital would not be investing millions to do the expansion if they weren’t absolutely sure they will make bucket-loads of money.

All these trees are at risk of removal as well

Right now the area is classified as a village, but if the expansion goes ahead, the Department of Planning may be within their rights to reclassify the area as a ‘Town Centre’ simply because of the size of Marrickville Metro.  This will mean that development in the league of Bondi Junction & Hurstville will be allowed.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see the industrial-zoned areas around Metro being rezoned residential.  Once that is done, a ‘unit city’ can be built very close to Metro.  Then, to cope with the massive increase in traffic, the M6, an arterial road that is planned for Edgeware Road may one day be built. Edgeware Road is already often bumper-to-bumper.  The Marrickville Transport Action Group say – Cardigan St, Edgeware Rd, Liberty St & Kingston Rd are key to the F6 plan.

http://www.marrickvilletag.org/html/transport_johnsonscreek_history.html

Who knows if my theories have any weight, but it does make more sense as to why such a huge shopping mall is being planned when there are not enough current customers & it constantly has a number of empty shops.

The proposed Metro expansion is going to have a massive impact on Marrickville & surrounding suburbs in terms of traffic & pollution.  To my mind, it is not just an issue for residents who live nearby & shop owners, although it is an appalling prospect for them.  The expansion is an issue that will affect many of us because:

  • it will choke many of the roads that are at capacity now
  • it will likely weaken our shopping strips reducing choice & this often negatively affects variety of products & price
  • it will reduce competition
  • it will bring more 19-metre long semi-trailers to our narrow suburban streets  &
  • it will take away the community feeling that shopping strips help create, because these are public spaces where we retain all our rights as citizens, whereas shopping malls are private spaces under the control of developers/corporations.

Unless the community come out in great numbers & say they do not want the Metro expansion, it will happen.

If you are against any aspect of the planned expansion, please send in a submission to the Department of Planning by Friday 27th August 2010.  Their e-mail is – Plan_comment@planning.nsw.gov.au

It is called Major Project – MP_0191 – 34 Victoria Road Marrickville. If you would like a draft submission please send me an e-mail.

Community group Metro Watch are having a public meeting –

  • this Thursday 12th August 2010
  • 7pm
  • Herbert Greedy Hall 79 Petersham Road Marrickville.

The plans for the massive expansion of Marrickville Metro are now on public exhibition & will be presented. There will be a range of guest speakers – Marrickville Mayor Sam Iskandar, Federal Greens Candidate for Grayndler Sam Byrne, some Marrickville Councillors, some local business owners & the Metro Watch secretary.

THEN

  • this Saturday 14th August 2010
  • 11.15am
  • Gather at the BBQ spot Enmore Park at the corner of Black Street & Victoria Road Marrickville

After a 15-minute update, the group will walk together 100 metres to Marrickville Metro to attend a community consultation session held by the AMP project team & Elton Consulting.

This is a seriously big Fig with a girth of many metres. It stands near the front entrance of Marrickville Metro on Victoria Road & it is one of more than 100 mature trees that will be removed should the expansion of Marrickville Metro go ahead

Resident action group Metro Watch say they have communicated with over 1,000 local residents.  Almost everyone was under the misconception that Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre was undergoing ’revitalization’ & that revitalization meant a cosmetic face-lift of Marrickville Metro.

AMP Capital is planning everything but a cosmetic facelift.  More than 4 million extra shoppers & a 65-68% increase in traffic is not a cosmetic facelift. Nor is the removal of more than 100 trees, (how much over 100 trees is not known as yet), many of them big, beautiful substantial trees.

The community has this perception because the term ‘revitalization’ is used in all of AMP’s community newsletters.   Oh the power of words.

Please come to both these community meetings. Children are welcome.

The deadline for submissions to the Department of Planning is Friday 27th August 2010.  I will be writing more about this development & will write a draft submission that I can e-mail to you for you to change as you like.

We do not stand a chance against this corporate giant unless the community joins with Marrickville Council, Marrickville Councillors & local shop owners in our shopping strips that are saying a loud “NO!” to this development.  We also need to help the people who live in the 11,430 homes within 1km from Marrickville Metro.  They will be the worst affected, but traffic problems tend to spiral outward, especially now that the new IKEA in Tempe is just around the corner and more massive high-rise housing development is planned.

To read past posts about the proposed development – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/marrickville-metro-expansion-the-trees/

https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/marrickville-metro-expansion-public-meeting/

Missing the base guitarist - sorry

9.30am today & the crowd had gathered to hear Federal Labor Grayndler MP & Transport Minister Anthony Albanese speak about the M5 4-lane highway that will now not happen.  About 130 people listened to local residents sing 4 songs about roads that no-one wants.  They were great & it was a terrific start to the meeting.

Bernie Hobbs of ABC TV & local resident was MC. A local Aboriginal elder & Tempe resident opened the meeting & welcomed us to Cadigal Country.  Pat McInerney of community group Tempe 2020 spoke about the campaign’s  history, the strong community support & the overwhelming opposition to the planned highway.  Marrickville Mayor Sam Iskandar spoke saying Marrickville Council had supported the community against this highway from

Left - Marrickville Mayor Sam Iskandar, middle - Federal MP Anthony Albanese, right - Bernie Hobbs, local resident & ABC TV presenter

the beginning.

Then Anthony Albanese MP addressed the crowd saying how it really was a road to nowhere & said something like – the more active the community was in opposing something the more they are likely to achieve their goals.  In essence, if the community comes together in a campaign, politicians listen.  This is important to remember.

Everyone was happy, including the Mayor & the Minister. Clrs Olive & O’Sullivan also attended as did Sam Byrne Greens Candidate for Grayndler & Pip Hinman, Socialist Alliance Candidate for Grayndler.  There may have been other political representatives, but I missed them.

Then people stuffed themselves on hot bbq sausages donated by a Tempe pub.  Thanks to Tempe 2020 & everyone else who sent in submissions, wrote letters & attended Tempe 2020 protest events to stop this highway.  Apart from the obvious horrendous impact this highway would have had on the community, the Wetlands, Tempe Reserve & a lot of mature trees both sides of the Cooks River have been saved. We are all richer for this.

I wrote about this issue & the impact to the environment in February 2010 – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/community-protest-in-tempe/

local resident who wants more than just roads

Marrickville Council intends to remove 1 Chinese hackberry (Celtis sinensis) outside 3 Calvert Street Marrickville.

Council gives the following reasons for removal:

  • Root growth from the tree has apparently caused fence damage on private property.
  • The species is considered a potential environmental weed.

Council say they will replace the tree with a Queensland brush box (Lophostemon confertus) though they don’t say when they will do this.

3 Calvert Street Marrickville

I went to visit this tree today.  First impressions were this is a beautiful tree planted in a lovely garden bed making this little area of Calvert Street look very nice. It is the only large tree in the street.

I was sad to see that Council’s Notice of Removal signs were nailed into the tree.  I had thought Marrickville Council had ceased this practice as they have been securing signs to trees with sticky tape for the last few months. I did notice that the trees in Toothill Street & Park Road also had their tree removal signs nailed, but as it was a given that these trees would be removed, I made no mention.  I am very disappointed that this practice has become the norm, as once again Council is sending a clear message to the community not to bother sending in a submission.

Council has excavated the footpath exposing a large root that travels underneath the brick front fence of the property.  No other roots enter the property.

The damage to the brick fence appears to be caused by the tree root, but the damage is restricted to one pillar on a 8-10 meter brick fence.  As is common with pillars regardless of whether there are trees nearby, the pillar has sustained a medium sized crack, which threatens to disconnect it from the remaining fence.

fence & tree root 3 Calvert Street Marrickville

I always take a man experienced in building with me where the tree is said to have caused structural damage.  His advice was the fence pillar is unlikely to fall in the near future without some other causative factor like a car crashing into it.  He said the fence could be easily repaired by filling the crack with cement & giving it a splash of paint. He said it they were really scared that the pillar might fall, they could fit a connector bolt to secure the pillar to the main fence.

I do not believe the damage is sufficient to warrant the removal of this beautiful street tree & will be putting in a submission asking Marrickville Council to repair the footpath, but deny the request to have the tree removed.

The tree is mature & healthy. I don’t care that Marrickville Council regards it as a potential environmental weed.  They also think Camphor laurel trees are environmental weeds, but City of Sydney Council has retained them as street trees in many places across their LGA such as Glebe Point Road, while Marrickville Council removes them.

Calvert Street is one of those streets that has very little green & almost no tree canopy.  This tree is important to the local community for the visual beauty & for maintaining property values. It also cleans up pollution from the large volume of traffic that drive through this street every day.

It would take many years for a street tree in these conditions to grow to this size.  We as a community need to keep all the trees we can.

Chinese hackberry is said to compete with native flora & is therefore detrimental to the local environment.  However, there is no native environment nearby.  Much of what surrounds this tree is cement, buildings & bitumen.

City of Sydney Council protects Chinese hackberry trees if they are 10 metres tall or more.

street tree Calvert Street

I would only support this tree’s removal if Marrickville Council plants more good-sized street trees along Calvert Street & only at a time when those trees have grown to a decent size. If this tree is removed now, it will denude the street of its greenery & have a negative impact on property values.  If it were happening on my street, I would be doing what I could to save this tree because of the impact its removal will have on my property value & the health of my family, especially if the tree was close to my house.

I know properties are going for high prices in Marrickville even if they are imbedded in cement, but ask any real estate agent whether a house is likely to go for a higher price if there is a good looking street tree out front & they will say yes.  The difference in what a property can sell for is significantly higher.  If people realised this, they would never allow street trees to be removed or be butchered by energy companies.

As is always the case, if mine is the only submission, the tree will likely go. I ask that you please send a submission to Marrickville Council.  You don’t need to live near the tree to be allowed to do this. The trees across the LGA belong to all of us & they benefit all of us.  I need others who care about street trees to help by sending in submissions even if the tree is not in their area.

I am happy to send you a draft if this will make it easier. You can change it as you see fit or just sign & e-mail it to Council. The deadline for submissions is Monday 9th August 2010.  Thank you. J

The Public Meeting organised by Marrickville Metro Community Watchdog  (MMCW) happened last night at St Peter’s Town Hall. It was incredibly well organized for a first action of a new community group & their written information is terrific.

We were taken through a series of powerpoint slides that showed what was going to happen with the proposed expansion. This was the first time I have seen images & site plans.  The new Marrickville Metro is going to be enormous.

AMP is submitting 2 proposals: One that will incorporate the area across from Smidmore Road & one without. Basically it will be like Broadway in Marrickville. Terrific if shopping malls are your thing, but awful for all the business along King Street, Enmore Road & Marrickville Road to name a few.  I doubt all those wonderful little unique shops will survive & we will lose much of the creativity that makes the Inner West great.

MMCW organised a good range of speakers to go through the issues, Joe Khoury from Marrickville Chamber of Commerce, 4 residents directly affected, Marrickville Councillors Hanna, Macri, Peters, Olive & Mayor Iskandar.  Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt also spoke.  I spoke about the 83 trees that are at risk of being lost. It will be more now I have seen the actual size of the proposed development.

Some of the issues raised were:

  • The building is estimated to be between 19 -21 metres high. 2 storeys with 2 other levels of parking.
  • 65-68% increase in traffic & street parking problems from an extra 4 million shoppers a year.
  • More than 2,000 residences are within 600 metres of Metro.
  • 11,430 residences in a 1km radius will be greatly affected by traffic & parking issues. Local parking has already been earmarked for the Enmore pool.

The proposed DA will be put up for exhibition on 28th July 2010. From then the community has 30 days to get submissions in, though Marrickville Council is writing to the Minister to ask that a further 30 days be allowed.  This is not a given so the community needs to campaign inside the first 30 days.

The DA comes under Part 3A meaning the state Minister of Planning will decide whether to approve the development. Recently, the proposed 13 storey re-development of the Balmain Tigers was defeated due to massive opposition from the local community proving that if the community gets together, the state government will listen.

I will write a draft submission that I am happy to send to you. You can it change as you like. 200 submissions from the community will be insufficient to stop the expansion from happening. We need to send 1,000 at least to ensure our message is heard.  Every shop owner along our shopping strips needs to send a submission as well.  Petitions are great, but in my opinion, nowhere near as powerful as a submission.

MMCW are looking for people to help with this campaign. e-mail – metro_watch@optusnet.com.au

I am posting this separately from the full Report from the Gallery because of the Public Meeting about the Marrickville Metro expansion tonight. The following is my understanding of the discussion & all mistakes are mine.

The Public Meeting is to be held at tonight Wednesday 21st July 2010 at 7pm at St Peters Town Hall, 39 Unwins Bridge Road Sydenham.

Click on the following link for more details – https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/public-meeting-regarding-marrickville-metro-expansion/

Request for extension of time for community submissions concerning the DA for Marrickville Metro expansion – 2 residents spoke asking that instead of the usual 30 days given for submissions, that this be extended to at least 60 days. They said AMP has had masses of time to get themselves organized & that most of the nearby residents are not aware of the planned expansion.  They said there is not much information about the expansion on the Marrickville Metro website, that supposed door-knocking & letter drops by Elton Consulting to the residents has not been successful in that most don’t know what is happening. They also spoke about current problems of traffic, 4am deliveries & maintenance, staff parking in the streets & noise.

Clr Hanna put up the motion to have the consultation period extended to 60 days.  He spoke about being blocked for 15 minutes while a Woolworths truck was doing deliveries. He said none of the residents know what is happening & there are a lot of complaints about Metro as it is currently. He said to make it double the size & buy the street is going to create major problems & asked where the 700 new staff are expected to park.

This is a seriously big Fig with a girth of many metres. It stands near the front entrance of Marrickville Metro on Victoria Road.

Clr Phillips put up an amendment that Council is to write to the Minister to hand the assessment of the DA back to Marrickville Council. He said the expanded Metro would be a disaster, that it would hurt our shopping strips & cause problems with parking.  He said AMP want a privatized space where there is no infrastructure & the process allows a limited scope for consultation.

Clr Thanos supported the 60 day consultation period. He said the planning process has been the most disgraceful process he has come across & it looks like a deal has been made with the state government with AMP as the beneficiary.  Mayor Iskandar said Council was preparing everything to oppose the expansion & the shopping strips will suffer, but the law is as it is. He said we will fight the process together, but shouldn’t raise false hopes.

Clr Marcri said parking does not exist for local shopping strips so people drive on to Metro & the shopping strips cannot compete with this.  He also said the local streets near Metro have been earmarked as parking for the new Enmore pool & that if Metro expands, there will be a huge gridlock further out & residents will suffer. Clr Byrne said if the Metro DA is passed, the state government Department of Planning will not be following fundamental planning processes as Council has been told they cannot change the zoning in this area.  Carried unanimously.

What I did notice was that no-one mentioned the many, many trees that will need to be removed if the expansion goes ahead.

The community now will have 60 days to put submissions in regarding the Marrickville Metro expansion & they will do this with the knowledge that all Councillors oppose the expansion.  Hallelujah!   Hope to see you there tonight.

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