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A good example of housing development along Gardeners Road Alexandria, built right to the footpath. Balconies and major living space face the street where possibly more than 60,000 vehicles pass by every day. It is the same along many other main roads, including in the Inner West Council municipality.  

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that I post fairly often about air pollution & the link to human health.  I’ve been pleased to read the recent research about this issue & enjoy having experts agree with what are fundamental beliefs of mine.  I once again got that feeling when I read the headline of a recent article in The Conversation titled, Transport access is good for new housing, but beware the pollution.’  See – http://bit.ly/2v0tOEl

The article says that it makes sense to build housing close to public transport, but building high-rise housing along busy roads exposes those people to traffic pollution to the detriment of their health.

The former Department of Planning has a 9-year-old interim guideline titled ‘Development near rail corridors & busy roads to help development limit harmful exposure to air pollution.  

Suggested design measures include:

  • building setbacks
  • articulation or “stepping” of building façades
  • avoiding creation of street canyons; and
  • mitigation measures such as greening close to the road.”

Locally high-rise buildings are built right to the footpath, instead of building away from the footpath & putting in a line of trees to make the air quality better for residents.  The stepping back of building facades is being suggested in planning documents for the Sydenham to Bankstown Corridor in a bid to lower the impact of an eight storey building being built next to single storey houses.

“The NSW document suggests:

The location of living areas, outdoor space and bedrooms … should be as far as practicable from the major source of air pollution.”   If you look, the majority of high-rise developments have balconies that face the street & are attached to living rooms, so this suggestion is obviously not working.

The interim guideline also says, “… it is preferable if residential uses are not carried out along a busy road unless it is part of a development which includes adequate noise and air quality mitigation.  So we know that the government at all levels & developers know that the way they are developing Sydney & other major Australian cities is not good for us & will have serious negative health impacts.

Road widening from 4 lanes to 7 lanes along Euston Road in Alexandria as part of exit management from the WestConnex Motorway resulted in the removal of two rows of quite big trees. These trees did much to improve air quality for these residents & also the public who walked along this road.  Now the residents will need to adjust from the “up to less than 6,000 [vehicles] a day to more than 50,000 when WestConnex is built.”   See – http://bit.ly/2nijiSD

Just how these residents will adjust to living 1.4 metres away from more than 50,000 plus passing vehicles every day is anyone’s guess.

“…..the Sydney Motorway Corporation, RMS and contractors have canvassed the possibility of installing noise insulation, sealing wall vents and installing airconditioning units in apartments that will jut up against the seven-lane road.”  So, use your balcony at your own risk then?  Even prisoners in gaol get access to fresh air from their cells.

The Conversation article summed the issue up in a nutshell – “We are in a situation where councils can refuse approval for a well-designed, aesthetically pleasing carport in front of a building line, while people’s health is put at risk due to new housing developments along main roads being prioritised.  ….The Parramatta Road Corridor is one example of the current approach.”

Nitrogen dioxide pollution “include increases in all-cause, cardiovascular and respiratory mortality and hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, decreased lung function in children, and an increased risk of respiratory symptoms such as asthma, stroke & lung cancer.  If left unchecked or unevaluated, planning decisions that put new homes along busy roads are likely to undermine public health protection principles.”

 

 

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Tonight the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) met at Marrickville Town Hall to consider the DA for the old Marrickville RSL site. Well, they did approve it (unanimously) despite around 100 people from the community attending & 12 people, including Clr Kontellis, Clr O’Sullivan speaking at length about what they believed were the problems of this development. I also addressed the Panel. There were many arguments  from the community including that the proposed building was ugly, inappropriately big, greedy, non-green & insensitive to the locality.

The Panel members were Clr Macri, Mr Ken Hawke, Mr John Roseth, Ms Mary-Lynne Taylor & Mr David Furlong.  The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

The JRPP gave the following reasons for approval:

  • The height of the development is not reasonably out of context with other developments & future planning
  • The current floor space ratio requirement is 2:1, the development will be 2.29:1
  • The height of 26 metres is allowed for this site
  • The traffic impact is acceptable
  • There will be some views loss, but on balance the proposal allows reasonable view sharing
  • The developer advertising the units before approval by the JRPP was noted, seen as ‘unfortunate,’ but did not influence the Panel.

The JRPP imposed 2 conditions:

  1. The waste storage had to be designed in a way that the garbage trucks can enter the property, this be dealt with & with the okay from Council before development starts
  2. Install appropriate AS115A street lighting across the street at no cost to Council

Essentially, why would the JRPP knock back a 7 storey development when Illawarra Road & Marrickville Road is about to be developed with 5-6-9 & 13 storey buildings?

The Architect spoke about his cultural background, that he grew up in Campsie, danced at the Marrickville Town Hall when he was younger & was an award winning Architect.

He said along the following lines,  I designed the Lamia development & am extremely proud of that. It was refused by Marrickville Council & has won an architecture award.  People were complaining about that. I’m not shy about landing a big building in Marrickville as it can do an enormous amount of environmental good. It’s called urban consolidation.

He said he had 25 more points (I would guess they were issues brought up by the residents to address), but decided not to, asking the Panel if they had any questions for him.  They had 3.

1. Why is the building so high?

A: We have a mandate to work within what is already presently there. 7 storeys is a significant offering to the street. There is an enormous amount of amenity in buildings these days. Hollowing out the centre does this.  High is an appropriate form.  Marrickville Town Hall has enormous height.  Any building next to a railway should be a public building.

2. Why haven’t you included solar panels?

A: Technology would be token. We do not have the solar cells. Better would be passive like not being required to turn the light switches on. (All 180 units have reverse cycle air-conditioning. Now that’s green.)

3. Had you considered a green roof?

A:  Not an environmental mandate.  You have to water a green roof. To what end is pumping water up to the roof? (Actually, I have read that certain succulents routinely used for green roofs planted on a purpose-built green roof base do not need watering, survive solely on rainwater & can sustain long periods without water)

So there you have it. The local people at the meeting left angry.  I feel very sad.  This building is just the start of high-rise development in Marrickville town centre.  The only building that I have heard discussed as having green requirements, is the Marrickville Hospital site. I can only hope that the new Local Environment Plan includes green building & sustainability such as green roof, green walls, solar power, decent sized trees & green space as a mandate.

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.

Tree of Heaven - a straggly plant that fills the air with the most gorgeous perfume during hot summer nights. It is a self-seeding weed & the birds continue the spread of this plant when they eat the berries

This post has nothing to do with trees, but I believe it is of interest in light of the fact that Marrickville LGA is about to undergo quite substantial high-rise development.

In 2002 Council decided to create a new rate of ‘rates’ to apply to large shopping centres like Marrickville Metro.  It charged Marrickville Metro the new ‘rate,’ higher than the rate that applies to homes & smaller businesses.

The company paid the new rate each year, but in 2008 objected & took the case to the Land & Environment Court. The court ruled in Marrickville Council’s favour.  The company appealed to the NSW Court of Appeal.  It argued the new rate should be overruled on a raft of grounds such as: Council had failed to comply with various sections of the Local Government Act, the rate was unfair, the rate was targeting only one site (Marrickville Metro), the 2002 & subsequent decisions about the new rate were manifestly unreasonable, the rate was imposed for improper purpose, the rate was discriminatory, some Councillors who voted in favour of the rate were biased.

On 24th June 2010, the 3 judges of the NSW Court of Appeal dismissed every ground of the company’s appeal. At paragraph 198 of the judgment Justice John Basten put it beautifully & succinctly, where he wrote:  In many respects the company’s submissions “were simply untenable” & its arguments “were largely misconceived.”

The General Manager’s report in 2002 that examined the rationale for the higher ‘rate’ said:

Council may wish to consider the following factors:

  • Larger shopping centres may attract additional traffic to the LGA & may concentrate traffic emanating from within the LGA placing a proportionately greater pressure on existing road & footpath infrastructure than other shopping configurations.
  • Larger shopping centres attract larger retailers who are more likely to draw from a wider employment pool than that available within the LGA. Small shops along shopping strips & local businesses may be more likely to employ local staff enhancing local employment & local economic prosperity.
  • Council may determine that the rate to be applied to shopping strips should be proportionately less than that applying to larger shopping areas to promote the survival of shopping strips. Apart from the more obvious issue of maintaining the economic vitality of local businesses, this action would support the following Council initiatives:

– Mainstreet strategies to promote local business

– Streetscape works designed to enhance the look & feel of shopping areas

– Community Safety objectives which are enhanced when people are attracted to prosperous, pleasant, well lit, local shopping areas

– Access for the elderly to shopping facilities particularly where car transport is not available.

  • Enhancing the economic viability of suburban businesses may assist in maintaining the individual character of shopping & business zones within the Marrickville LGA. This would reflect the cultural, social & economic needs of the diverse range of residents within these areas & may help promote the unique characteristics of the Marrickville Council area from a tourist perspective.”

This is a landmark decision. Well done Marrickville Council.  Businesses & developments are getting bigger & bigger, bringing increasing pressure on public infrastructure & impacts on the community that Council ultimately needs to pay for. It would be nice if the JRPP keep the above points in the General Manager’s report  at the forefront of their mind when considering applications for new large developments.

View of trees in the unused space beside the main entrance at Marrickville Metro

AMP, which owns Marrickville Metro, plans to expand the shopping complex by 35,000 sq mts, more than doubling its size.  They intend to bypass planning restrictions from Marrickville Council & apply to the Joint Regional Planning Panel under Part 3A.  In my opinion it is highly likely that the plan will get the go ahead from the JRPP, as they seem happy to permit development that local Councils have indicated they are likely to refuse.

The Marrickville Greens are opposed to the proposed expansion of Marrickville Metro & you can read what they think about the issue by clicking on this link – http://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/issue/marrickville-metro-expansion/ I am unaware what Marrickville Labor or the Independent Councillors think about the proposed expansion.

On AMP’s Marrickville Metro web-site they say their research showed:

  • One in 2 people found the idea of an expanded Metro “very appealing”
  • 81% of Marrickville LGA residents thought that an upgraded Metro would serve the community better
  • 58% liked both strip shopping locations & shopping centres

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

Apart from the obvious impact this development will have on our local shopping strips & issues like increased traffic, pollution & delivery trucks, SoT’s main concern is the probable loss of all the mature trees which surround the Metro site & all the mature Eucalypts which line the surrounding roads.

Around the perimeter of the current Marrickville Metro there are 54 Figs, 13 Brushbox, 3 Camphor laurels, 1 Peppercorn, 1 Palm. There are 11 mature Eucalypts on Smidmore Street. This is a total of 83 mature trees & I did not include the smaller trees.

Looking at the drawing of the new Metro on AMPs web-site I would consider all these trees at risk of removal.  The artist’s impression of what the finished development will look like is interesting.  The drawing of the new Metro shows 3 London Plane trees & lots of paving.

AMP say they want feedback from the community.  They don’t appear to be asking how we feel about the expansion or whether we want it or not, but what kind of shops & amenities we would like. Regardless, you can write to AMP & give feedback. franchesca.garciadarke@ampcapital.com

Personally, I don’t want a bigger Metro. Two supermarkets are enough for me. I definitely do not want all those trees chopped down.  I believe that for the Inner West we need the opposite to concentration of large volumes of traffic towards 1 block of land. A sustainable inner Sydney needs shopping strips near where people live as opposed to being forced to use their car & travel for kilometres each time they go shopping.

AMP’s Marrickville Metro web-site is at the following link – http://www.marrickvillemetroshopping.com.au/developmentupdate.amx

Trees are featuring in the news a lot at the moment, which is good to see.  The following is what I found most interesting.

1.  In Camden LGA vandals have been ripping out & chopping down street trees after dark. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/outrage-growing-over-tree-vandalism-in-camden/

2.  Similar vandalism in Northbridge with community fruit trees that were part of Willoughby Council’s Sustainability Street program were stolen last month. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/residents-sour-at-theft/

3.  In Western Australia the government is planning to log a Dardanup forest containing 500 year old Jarrah trees, which they can’t guarantee will be spared. The Preston Environment Group are fighting to save this forest.  These trees will make the princely sum of between $160,000 & $240,000.  Is nothing sacred anymore? http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/6894699/plan-to-log-500-year-old-trees/

4.  Residents in Dee Why are lobbying Warringah Council who are set to vote on a DA that will remove a healthy 45 year old Angophora just to fit 3 more units into a development.  A resident asked, “Why is it that developers have so much power over Warringah Council, yet local residents who have lived in the area for over 15 years & wildlife that use the tree as a habitat have been left helpless?” Sounds familiar? http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/old-tree-to-make-room-for-development-in-dy/

5.  The traditional owners of the Murray-Riverina Red Gum forest called for the forest to be managed by the traditional owners. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/01/2833148.htm

Later, federal minister Peter Garrett supported Premier Kristina Kenneally by agreeing to allow some logging to occur for the next 5 years despite prolonged activism to save these very special & unique forests.   It’s a hard decision to understand or support. http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/local/6881475/red-gum-park-decision-miserable/

6.  Residents are fighting Sunshine Coast Regional Council who have removed 2 Hills Figs & want to remove another 20 trees in Caloundra, South East QLD. A residents said, “Without the trees, Bulcock St is going to be another hot, characterless urban strip….” They will certainly bake.

Interesting, as my experience of this area of QLD is that there were large trees everywhere, including along shopping strips.  There were also massive garden beds & a green outlook that the locals were very proud of.  The area looked totally unlike Sydney. Perhaps the fact that much of the planting & maintenance was done by people serving Community Service Orders helped get such a green outlook.  Maybe, but there is also a culture which is pro-nature in QLD. The comments are overwhelming in support of retaining the trees. http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/residents-angry-over-plans-to-remove-bulcock-st-trees/story-e6freoof-1225821748442 and today – http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/story/2010/03/06/800-join-fight-to-save-trees/

7.  A November 2009 article from The Canberra Times because the trees in the ACT are mostly mature & the Council want to remove & replace them all.  Pertinent to Marrickville Council’s recent proposal to remove 59% of the public trees across the LGA.  A great many of the street & park trees in Canberra are Eucalypt’s & the city & suburbs are full of native birds because of this.   This article questions chopping a tree down if a branch falls & the issue of litigation.  Again, the comments are very interesting. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/greens-call-for-trees-probe/1673875.aspx

8.  In overseas news, the United Nation’s Billion Tree Campaign has reached 10 billion trees.  The BTC was launched in 2006.  170 countries participate & the latest to join were China late 2009 & India last February.  India has planted 6.1 billion trees since 2006 & 2.6 billion of these trees have been added to the UN’s program.

The UN says worldwide, 14 billion trees need to be planted annually to combat global warming.  This initiative is seriously tackling the serious problem of global deforestation.   Australia is a participant with the Boy Scouts planting trees.   I was unable to find out any other information about Australia’s input other than this reference.  http://www.prokerala.com/news/articles/a117813.html

So many of our street trees across Marrickville LGA try to survive in such dreadful conditions when it could have easily been fixed

9.  Not only is India making the news for their massive & commendable tree planting achievements (they don’t argue about the reality of climate change because they are living it), they have also an amazing High Court.  Why?  Because Delhi’s High Court ordered all concrete around street trees to be finished being removed within 3 months starting last week. 9,395 trees will have the concrete removed from around their trunk.  I wish the Delhi High Court had jurisdiction here. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Remove-concrete-near-trees-in-3-months–HC/586569/

10.  New York City’s Million Trees program has planted over 300,000 trees since it began in 2007 focusing on all the empty street tree sites as well as areas of land which are bare. They call it “revolutionizing urban street tree programs.”  Over 1,000 volunteers showed up to plant 20,000 trees on one day. I love this program.  There are Million Tree programs in other cities across America & they are all successful.  Not only do they result in a significant increase in the green canopy, programs like these educate people about the benefits of trees & by offering regular days where the community can be actively involved, create pride & ownership in the community. http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/02/24/2010-02-24_big_town_going_green_trees_bring_green_benefits_to_the_city.html#ixzz0h3k2oVDW

11.  In Wellesley, Massachusetts USA more than 90 trees that were almost 100 years old & were 60-70 foot tall were chopped down by accident. How does this happen?  Were the lumberjacks talking & just numbed out for a moment? http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/02/18/scores_of_trees_felled_in_error_on_wellesley_park_land/

12.  In a generous green act, Chris Clark from Middle Tennessee USA is donating 100,000 trees in memory of his father who died 6 years ago.  This is a fantastic gift to the community & further confirms my belief that people like to plant trees in memory of a loved one.  http://www.wkrn.com/global/story.asp?s=12087906

13.  2,500 shade street trees are to be planted in Worchester USA to replace the same amount of street trees which were recently lost to the Asian Long-Horned Beetle.  Where trees will be affected by overhead powerlines, they are planting ornamental trees & larger shade trees everywhere else.  The comments after the article are quite interesting. http://www.telegram.com/article/20100302/NEWS/3020415/1116

14.   In Lichfield Connecticut USA, it is illegal to tie a yellow ribbon around an old Oak tree or any tree for that matter even if it is to honor troops in Iraq & Afghanistan.  I anticipate there will be peaceful civil disobedience about this.  http://www.wfsb.com/news/22703733/detail.html

young Oak street tree

15.  Lastly, a Welsh Oak tree died of the cold aged 1,200 years. (not a typo)  It had a girth of 10.36 metres.  It was called The Great Oak at the Gates of the Dead. From the article, According to legend, in 1165, King Henry II of England, preparing to meet Owain Gwynedd in the Battle of Crogen, commanded his men to clear Ceiriog Woods, but ordered the Great Oak to be spared. I bet there are many people who are very upset about the loss of this tree.  It reached an astounding age & if it weren’t for the extreme weather this last winter, it may have lived for much longer.  http://greenanswers.com/news/127110/winter-overcomes-1200-year-old-oak

The evening opened up with an Extraordinary Council Meeting about our Sister City relationship with the island of Madeira, which was recently struck by flood & landslides killing 42 & injuring 250 people.

Discussion covered recognising the devastating effects of this & other recent natural disasters, Council’s poor financial position, the lack of financial capability to reciprocate to an equal level when representatives from Sister Cities visit Marrickville, the large numbers of Sister Cities we have & whether this should be reduced (imagine, “sorry sister, it’s goodbye”) & developing a policy regarding financial assistance to Sister Cities when Council is having problems financially supporting its own services.

The motion was carried to donate $5,000 from the Sister Cities budget to help with rebuilding the affected area. Mayor Iskandar had the deciding vote.

Then came the Development Assessment Meeting.  One wouldn’t think that DAs are interesting unless they directly concern you, but actually they are.

There were DAs for single block developments, shops & large residential housing.  The gallery was full & some residents waited for 2 hours to speak.  The following is my impressions & thoughts:

People from both sides feel quite passionate & emotional about DAs.  Some were frustrated by the time required for the DA process.

Local residents were concerned about developments they felt would significantly change the streetscape in terms of set-back & visual impact. Height, noise, parking, privacy & loss of light were other issues causing concern.

I have seen these issues raised many times both inside & outside Council meetings.  People who become involved by attending Council meetings, signing petitions or lobbying against certain DAs hold the streetscape of the Inner West in high regard & they want to retain it.  It appears that some people new to the area & developers want to build more modern buildings & this causes a conflict with the other residents.

Given that these developments are being built, I don’t think it will be too many years before the visual outlook of great chunks of Marrickville LGA will be significantly changed.  Unlike Haberfield, which has decreed no modern buildings will be allowed & heritage will be protected at all cost, Marrickville LGA does not seem to have a policy like this.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that if a DA ticks all the boxes, it is up to the councillors as to whether it gets approved.  Naturally, the Councillors have differing perceptions of taste & beliefs as to what constitutes appropriate outlook, as well as what should be knocked down.  Many cherished buildings considered heritage by the Marrickville Heritage Society & other authorities have been demolished over the years.

Last night one developer said the plans for a large  residential development were “unashamedly contemporary,” yet the area this development is situated is one of the most historical in the LGA in terms of housing, other buildings, parks, trees & other historical infrastructure. I see some box-like buildings plonked next to softer, filigree terraces, but I belong to Marrickville Historical Society, so of course I prefer the older buildings.

Only last week Paul Keating said on Lateline, “Well, I can’t teach you good taste” when speaking about the 60 storey glass hotel in red planned for a finger pier at Barangaroo. Interesting that I liked much of the proposed development, but not this particular building.

streetscape

I mention the issue of development & taste because our suburbs are changing.  Marrickville LGA is about to embark on major new development & much of it will be high-rise.  A lot will get through because the state government wants us to have housing for something like another 10,000 people & frankly Marrickville Council desperately needs the money which comes from Section 94 contributions (what the developers pay to Council).

The Councillors need our input either directly or via community lobby groups.  Mayor Iskandar said this in both Marrickville Matters & the Inner West Courier recently.  He also said that the changes coming would affect the community for at least the next 25 years.  If we don’t let the Councillors know what we don’t want, then we will have to accept what the developers give us.

Very soon, a DA for a Backpackers in Addison Road Enmore will come before Council.  This is a 130 plus bed establishment with 7 parking spaces, 2 of them designated Disabled Parking.  Is this of consequence?  Judging by the speakers last night & other recent community action regarding the proposed development on the old Marrickville RSL site, parking is a huge issue in people’s minds.  Council is passing DAs where residents question the parking ratio & sincerely believe parking opportunities will be worse with the new development.

It’s changing times.  Denser living will further impact on parking.  Backpackers often have sufficient funds to buy a car & most residences have at least one car & sometimes more than two.  Council & the government are encouraging public transport use, but living close to a railway station really doesn’t have much of an impact on vehicle ownership yet.  Perhaps later it will when petrol becomes costlier.  For now, there is the problem with a transport system that is already deemed inadequate.  It’s all food for thought.

Moving to trees, a DA at 23 West Street was passed last night.  This site will have 8 double storey modern townhouses built on a block where there are two 9 metre Council protected Canary Island Palm trees & a Fiddle Leafed Fig tree on the boundary of the back property.  Council’s own report stated that Canary Island Palm trees only live for 15-40 years so the development would ‘outlive’ them.  In fact, these trees generally live for 150-160 years, which is an enormous difference.

The Councillors agreed these 2 trees will be relocated to the back of the development, stipulating the root protection zone of the Fig tree will also be protected.  This is a good thing, though I’m sorry we will lose the Palms from the streetscape, which has or is about to lose 31 trees on the opposite side of the street.  Change.

It was good to hear that Palms relocated at Enmore Park for the swimming pool development are doing well.

Another DA passed was 63 Grove Street St Peters which will erect 34 double storey dwellings.  2 mature trees will be removed, yet the landscaping is great.  They intend to plant 10 trees capable of growing to 15 metres, 19 trees reaching 5 metres, 9 trees reaching 7 metres, 10 trees reaching 8 metres & 46 trees reaching 5 metres.  94 trees in total.  They also intend to preserve the current street trees.  I wish all developments planted this percentage of tall growing trees.

One final point of interest is that various sites across Marrickville LGA are considered contaminated, so don’t eat the dirt.  There is some serious toxic stuff around from poor industry practices in the past & dumping.  Like toxins that live on to create problems decades later, we need to think if an upcoming development will also be like that & whether we want to be involved in community consultation to shape our community for the better.

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