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Very exciting to see a video of a shark swimming up the Alexandra Canal at Mascot yesterday. Apparently, it headed back to the Cooks River, which is a good thing because the water is awfully shallow where it was.
You can watch the video taken by Simon Dilosa here –
Something interesting is happening at Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland, but I don’t know what. It is obvious that work is being done because the pond has been drained & large areas have been covered with netting. It was like this three weeks ago & everything had grown into jungle-like proportions by last weekend.
Canterbury Council holds regular working bees in the wetland & are looking for new volunteers. To register your interest & for more information about how you can get involved, call Council on 9707 9000.
I am posting these photos purely to counterbalance yesterday’s post. Having access to a river makes us a very fortunate community in my opinion. Even better is the waterbirds & other wildlife that we come across when we are lucky. Here is what we saw today during a short bicycle ride.
This morning I went to the Community Open Day celebrating the newly upgraded Alexandra Canal & other works beside Tempe Recreation Reserve.
The event was opened by an indigenous man who said the area was near enough to the meeting point of three indigenous tribes. After a short speech about the Cooks River, he welcomed us to Country.
Then representatives from Sydney Water & the contractor Total Earth Care each gave short talks explaining what they had done with the river bank. They appeared very happy with the outcome & so they should be. It looks excellent.
I asked how long the work on the banks should last & was told it will see us all out. I think it is wonderful that this restoration work will be long-lasting. I am used to seeing work all around the place last a decade if that.
I had other commitments, so was not able to stay for the full program. Unfortunately, I missed what promised to be a very interesting talk about the indigenous history of the area, plus actual exhibits. I also missed a talk & showing of a variety of animals & insects that Taronga Zoo brought to the park, though I did get to see a gorgeous echidna before their talk. It was very windy, so the echidna wanted to burrow in hay & get out of the wind, but I was lucky enough to get a photo of him.
So what is the restoration like & why all the fuss about a river/canal bank? Firstly, the lovely & significant Fig tree that was badly affected by erosion & had many roots submerged in brackish water every time the tide came in is now sitting pretty in thickly mulched soil as it should be. It is now one happy tree.
Had the erosion continued, it is highly likely we would have lost this tree. It has a beautiful bowl-shaped canopy that reaches all the way to the ground – something we don’t see much in this area anymore.
The area between this tree & another large old fig tree on the point has been made into a garden habitat area & lookout with signage that explains the work done, the ecological significance & also the history of this area. I think the signage is excellent, as it may change the culture of many who use this park by encouraging them to respect the park & the river.
I’ve noticed minimal vandalism & littering at Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland & also the bank restoration work in the same area – both major restoration works by Sydney Water. People read the signage & learn how important to the river & the wildlife this work is. The outcome has been negligible rubbish left behind & signs, structures, seating & re-vegetated areas have been mostly left alone & not destroyed or graffitied. I hope the same level of respect happens here in Tempe Recreation Reserve.
From the lookout area you can see right along the curve of the bank with all the new sandstone & slots that hold plants. It looks fabulous.
I had a chat with the contractor & was told that they used 1,742 slabs of sandstone to complete the work. Each slab was hand-cut into eight pieces. These were then laid to form the wall. Each slot in the wall was also hand-cut. To me this is a significant feat. Some of the slots create intertidal block pools – places for small fish, seaweeds, snails, shellfish & small crabs to live. Block pools have also been created above the tideline to cater for any future sea level rise.
When you look at the wall, each slab has its own unique markings. It’s quite attractive. The slope of the wall also allows birds to perch safely away from people. Crabs will benefit too.
The work is much more than saving a significant tree, restoring the bank & building a lookout area. Sydney Water has done re-vegetation work all the way to the bridge over the Alexandra Canal. They created curved garden habitat areas that swing around & encapsulate the fig trees, surrounding them with mulch & plants, therefore protecting them from people. I like this very much.
Many of the trees have repeatedly had bark gouged out by people of all ages intent on engraving their initials. This is a relatively new pastime, starting only a couple of years ago. I’ve seen kids standing at the tree using kitchen knives to cut into the trunk while adults looked on.
Damaging the bark is a very quick was to introduce disease into trees & can bring about their early death, so I am very pleased that the tree trunks are now protected by plantings all around them. The tree canopies are big enough to provide shade on the lawn areas outside of the garden areas, so picnicking people will still be able to access much needed shade.
A range of native plants have been planted & a good number too. It is not stingy planting. It looks good now, so will look terrific once grown.
The work makes this area look maintained & cared for, which also may change the culture of some who use this park for recreation. I imagine it will be harder to leave lots of garbage behind when it is obvious that a lot of work & money has gone into making this a beautiful place. Here is hoping anyway. It would be nice to be able to spend time in this park without feeling upset at the amount of garbage left around or blowing into the river.
All the fences along the canal have been replaced & they are attractive to look at. Fences are needed here to keep people safe because the bank is steep & the drop is dangerous. Fences will also stop people from driving their car to the bank & launching their speedboats into the river at this location.
All in all, Sydney Water & contractor Total Earth Care should feel proud of what they achieved. The community has benefited by this major improvement to our park & the wildlife now have additions that will help improve their life.
Beauty always lifts the spirit, so this work will make people feel happier after time spent here. I also think the work will educate people as to the importance of the river & its ecology. Hopefully, this will spinoff into respectful behavior toward the river & the park environment.
Lastly, Tempe Recreation Reserve is highly visible from the Airport Drive. I am sure many thousands of people look & wonder about this park every day. Now when they are driving past they will get an excellent look at the bank restoration work & instead of seeing a rundown eroded area filled with weeds & junk, they will see beauty. The benefits will flow on further than just the users of the park. To me this is priceless.
A massive thank you to Sydney Water & contractor Total Earth Care from me. You give me hope that one day the Cooks River & the Alexandra Canal will be restored & we will have a healthy river system once again. All work here is worth it many times over.
Sydney Water & contractor Total Earth Care are holding a Community Open Day to celebrate the newly upgraded Alexandra Canal beside Tempe Reserve.
I last wrote about this work in January 2016 & was impressed with the extent of restoration work that had been done. I am sure it looks quite different from my last visit. See – http://bit.ly/1ZjIYhv
WHEN: Saturday 5 November 2016.
TIME: 10 – 12 noon.
WHERE: Next to the Alexandra Canal at Tempe Recreation Reserve.
Parking available in the park at the end of Holbeach Avenue Tempe.
I have been aware of this issue for a while since first reading about it on Facebook. Apparently, no local council knew or could provide reasons as to why the trees had been tagged or who was responsible.
It has now come to light, thanks to the persistent work of Peter Munro, Secretary of Cooks River Valley Association.
According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald –
“As many as 1000 trees along the Cooks River are being assessed for potential removal by energy companies, which operate an underground network of pipelines running beneath kilometres of parklands in south-western Sydney. Hundreds of mature trees – including Moreton Bay figs, eucalypts, and casuarinas – which line kilometres of pipeline easement from Port Botany to Newington in Sydney’s inner west have been tagged by arborists to determine whether they pose a threat to the pipelines.” See – http://bit.ly/2cYuBK2
The underground pipelines are operated by Viva Energy Australia & Sydney Metropolitan Pipeline.
“A spokesman for Energy Minister Anthony Roberts confirmed his department was aware of the tagging, and said: “The pipeline route [was] being assessed for any possible threats to the pipelines. If any trees are identified as possibly requiring removal, the licensee will have to go through all normal approval processes.”
Around 2-years ago, I spoke informally with a manager of the gas company which was repairing pipes near the storm water drain beside Mackey Park. I asked why trees were not allowed to be planted along the riverbank as had been told to me by Marrickville Council a few years back. His response was to laugh & say that the pipes are buried so deep that they would be unaffected by the roots of any tree.
Therefore, I would question the need to remove any tree along the Cooks River by Viva Energy Australia & Sydney Metropolitan Pipeline.
The trees along the Cooks River are vital for the health of the river & the community. There has been much research of late about trees & their positive impact on the mental, physical & spiritual health of human beings. Trees are recognized as important assets & a public health issue.
The Cooks River & the riverbanks are classified as a ‘biodiversity corridor.’ They support a wide range of wildlife, which is growing due to the good work being done by local councils & Sydney Water to increase the biodiversity & restore the riverbanks.
There would need to be a very good reason why any tree would need to be removed from this location, let alone 1,000 trees. The impact of removing hundreds of trees would be massive & not only destructive to the environment & the wildlife that rely on the trees, but also throwing away the time, hard work & ratepayers money that has gone into re-vegetating the riverbanks.
I believe the manager who told me that the trees were no threat to the the deeply buried pipelines. So, I am not persuaded that anyone considering tree removal along the Cooks River has made their case.
It was great to watch a video about the Cooks River by Tony Burke MP, Labor Member for Watson & Shadow Minister for Environment & Water. This short, but encouraging video was filmed yesterday.
He speaks about the history of the Cooks River & says, “The job for the local area now is to try year after year to return it into a beautiful environmental asset for our local area. To replace the concrete with real river banks & to clean up the water.”
You can watch the video called, ‘Cooks River’ here – https://www.facebook.com/burke.tony.mp/videos
The Cooks River Alliance is holding their annual Cooks River Day Out, this time at Steel Park in Marrickville South. Expect crowds. Last year’s event was great & this is a busy park anyway.
I wrote about last year’s event here – http://bit.ly/1KBDWjo
There will be live music, art & craft, a jumping castle, food stalls, plus kayaking & cycling tours. There will also be education about Aboriginal traditional & contemporary ecological knowledge & how to maintain & enhance the river.
The workshops are –
- Cooks River kayak tour 10-11am & 11.30am-12.30pm.
- ‘River Stories’ creative writing workshop 11am-12.30pm.
- Backyard rain gardens, wetlands & frog ponds 1.30pm-2.15pm
- Save water with greywater recycling 2.30pm-3pm.
WHEN: Sunday 21st August 2016.
WHERE: Steel Park Marrickville South.
TIME: 11am – 3pm
The Cooks River Alliance request that people planning to attend take the time to register, as this will help them plan for the event. Also, if you would like to take part in the activities or attend the workshops, you will need to register to reserve a place. See – http://bit.ly/29RUJqk
Sunday afternoon ‘light’ post of a range of birds I saw along the river today. After weeks of Little corellas, I saw none this weekend. Instead the Galahs were out in force. Birds make everything better in my opinion.
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