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1.        In 2010 Norwood, Payneham & St Peters Council in South Australia were very unhappy about energy company ETSA’s pruning of

This gorgeous beetle landed in my garden this afternoon

their street trees. In response they commissioned a study of 1,613 street trees by Arborists Treevolution.  The company monitored 811 street trees that were pruned by ETSA & found that, “most trees had foliage trimmed in excess of the 2.5m distance from the powerline as set out in ETSA guidelines, with only 2% of the trees trimmed to a satisfactory standard.” Pretty shocking considering the tree numbers.   The report also said, “The level of experience & qualification could also be questioned … & the level attained by the cutting crews well below that accepted as best practice within the arboricultural industry.” The Council acknowledged that ETSA has a legal obligation to prune street trees in the area, however, they thought ETSA’s method of pruning caused long-term damage to the trees.  I hope more Councils decide to challenge & monitor tree pruning practices by energy companies. The community has been unhappy about their work for some considerable time & need their Councils to stand up for their trees.

2.         Residents of Monash Parade Croydon were very upset with Energy Australia after they “tore through (21) brush box trees that had stood for about 80 years.  …it looked like a cyclone passed by with some trees losing almost 70% of their foliage.” “Energy Australia confirmed to The Courier that the trimming had breached guidelines.”

3.         Waverley Local Court fined a resident $19,000 for cutting through what he described as a ‘fat root’ of an old Brush Box growing outside his home.  The tree was under a tree protection order.  Because of the damage caused by the resident, Waverley Council had to remove the tree. Magistrate Milledge described the vandalism to the tree as ‘disgraceful.’ ”Trees not only beautify otherwise stark urban streets, but they offset carbon emissions, provide shade & attract native wildlife.” It was great to see that the judicial assessment went toward the value of the tree & its loss to the community.

4.        Yarra Council in Melbourne are seeking whoever it was who

I wish there were more of these trees

poisoned 2 mature elms on Napier Street Fitzroy & a flowering pear tree on Egan Street Richmond. “Mayor Alison Clarke said killing trees in inner-city streets was a disgraceful act. Natural vegetation & wildlife are scarce enough as it is in a place like Yarra & are highly valued for that reason. So for someone to set out to destroy those things is an extremely selfish act that deprives our community of what is rightfully theirs to enjoy & appreciate.” If caught, the vandal could face a fine of up to $2,000. A low fine might be a measure that allows room for a culprit to still want to risk for cutting a tree illegally. Maybe Yarra Council should think about raising the level of fines for such wrongdoing. $19,000 would not be something one easily risks coping.

5.        An Adelaide tree lopper has just been fined $22,500 for cutting down


a River Red Gum at Kilburn in April 2010.  “He said he did not care about the fine because large gum trees were dangerous & the law regarding so-called significant trees was inflexible. Mr Carlin said he had been working in the industry for 20 years & had come to know trees.  He said that in his experience, some council arborists did not do thorough analyses of trees when preparing reports on whether tree removal should be approved. He said the tree – with a 3.4m circumference – had dropped a branch on a building on Churchill Rd, loosening asbestos.” He wants no Eucalypts in suburban areas. I wonder what the Australian Capital Territory, which has thousands at public places, would say about that?

6.         In a fantastic move City of Sydney Council is planning a community farm in Sydney Park.  Residents will be able to grow & sell produce.  It’s at the community consultation stage at the moment. Page 2

7.         A report by Aerial Acquisitions found that over the last few years up to 8,500 hectares of NSW forests may have been approved for logging when they were actually old growth forests & should have been preserved. Many of the forests contained native animal & plant species classified as vulnerable. Forests in Macleay, Dorrigo & around the Hastings river were deemed the worst affected.

8.        Brigidine College in St Ives intends to remove much of the work completed last year that was paid for by a $200,000 grant from the federal government’s Building the Education Revolution program to build a car park.  To do this they will remove 50 trees.  Last year they removed nine trees.

9.        If you are interested in Eucalypts, EUCLID is a computer program that covers identifying features of all 894 eucalypts of Australia. Available since 2006, it was produced by the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research at the Australian National Herbarium.  EUCLID covers Angophora, Corymbia as well as Eucalyptus.

Frangipani tree in winter



In August 2010 Energy Australia held a couple of community consultations where they explained the new works they intend to do through Marrickville laying high-voltage cables. See –

The bridge over the Cooks River next to the old Sugar Factory

They intend to drill under the Cooks River at the bottom of The Warren across to Arncliffe.  This has got the community talking. Why not put a bridge across the Cooks River for the cables & make it a pedestrian bridge with the cables encased in the undercarriage of the bridge?

Personally, I think a pedestrian bridge across the river in this location is needed. I have my doubts that Energy Australia will agree to high-voltage cables above the ground because of associated risks by vandalism. However, I do believe that they would have the ability to encase this sort of high-voltage cable if they wanted to & build the bridge in a way that would protect the cables from any vandalism. The issue would be cost as I think they prefer to dig, bury & walk away.  A system of above ground cables would need to be checked on at intervals. But it could be done if they wanted to.  Point is, would they want to?

Even if Energy Australia was adverse to building a bridge or dividing the costs between Marrickville & Canterbury Councils, a pedestrian bridge should be seriously considered for this location.

The bridge over the Cooks River the connects to Ewen Park

There are 4 pedestrian bridges across the Cooks River in the Canterbury Council area & they all are heavily used by cyclists, walkers & joggers.  We have spent quite a bit of time along the Cooks River in recent weeks & I have been astounded at the people traffic across these bridges.  Everyone I have spoken to about them say they love the bridges & love the ability to do a circuit walk, run or ride.  They also love that they have access to both sides of the river.

In South Marrickville there is the Bayview Avenue bridge & the bridge across Illawarra Road. Only the Illawarra Road bridge has a pedestrian lane. A pedestrian bridge in South Marrickville below Richardsons Park would allow people to do a circuit & allow them to get to Gough Whitlam Park without using their car.

It may be seen as a luxury, but it is only copying what has happened elsewhere along the Cooks River. The bridge would encourage more walking & riding & bring a varied experience of the 2 banks. A pedestrian bridge would make this area of the Cooks River better & would improve amenity dramatically.

People have written & spoken to me about this. There is public interest. If built, the bridge will be used. It won’t be a white elephant.  I would encourage both Marrickville & Canterbury Councils to talk with Energy Australia to see if a bridge can be built in conjunction with the cable installation.  If not, the two Councils can go it alone. It would be money well spent.

If you agree, now is the time to write to our Councillors to get the discussion going. Their contact details can be found on –

Looking across the Cooks River to Mackey Park from the banks of Gough Whitlam Park

This tree in Meeks Road Marrickville is up for removal

Marrickville Council intends to remove a Revolution Green Melaleuca bracteataoutside 87 Meeks Road, Marrickville & give the following reason for removal –

  • Repeated lopping by Energy Australia has reduced the amenity value of the tree.

Council says they will replace it with a Ivory CurlBackhousia citriodora, but don’t say when they will do this.

Council is correct. This tree is butchered beyond repair. Unfortunately, so are a number of others along this stretch of Meeks Road. The residents must have been appalled when they came home & saw their streetscape ruined.

I expect Council will do a staged removal of other street trees in this street that have recently undergone the EA Chop, though I’m not suggesting they do. It’s just that I can’t see much difference between this tree & quite a few others within spitting distance. They all look mutilated, but perhaps the others will grow to look a bit better over time.  Across the road are a number of normalMelaleuca bracteata street trees & they look lovely.  I will not be putting in a submission.

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 12th October 2010.

Here is the Calvert Street tree still standing with its leaves growing back. A decision whether to remove the tree has not yet been made by Marrickville Council

Energy Australia recently sent a letter to all residents along a proposed route from Beaconsfield to Kogarah where they intend to install new underground cables.  The cables will run through the following streets of Enmore & Marrickville:  Burrows Road, Campbell Road, Barwon Park Road, May Street, Edgeware Road, Edinburgh Road, Fitzroy Street, Sydenham Road, Meeks Road, Myrtle Street, Charlotte Avenue, High Street, Ruby Street, Warren Road, Excelsior Parade & Richards Avenue. They will tunnel also under the Cooks River Between Marrickville South & Arncliffe.

Energy Australia say the trenches will cause no damage to street trees

We went to the first of 2 Community Information Displays for Marrickville last night.  Two 132,000 volt feeders comprising of 3 individual cables will be placed in trenches approximately 1.5 metres wide & 1.3 metres deep. The trenches will be dug in approximately 30 metres sections.  Work for each section should be completed within 2 days.  Underground Joint Bays that will be approximately 12 metres long, 3 metres wide & 2.5 metres deep. They will need 1-2 months to complete, though at the Community Information Display the picture boards said 1-3 months.  Energy Australia hasn’t decided yet where the Underground Joint Bays will be located.  They will dig under the Cooks River to a depth of 12 metres or more.

Energy Australia says they need to use this route because, although the maps don’t show it, there is a substation at Meeks Road Marrickville.   They said they couldn’t use Carrington Road because it has been used for other services & placing the cables there could “derate” the cables if they are close to other cables.

Energy Australia representatives gave us explicit assurances that digging the trenches in our suburban streets will have absolutely no effect on the roots of the trees or affect the health of the trees in any way.  They said they have been doing this throughout Sydney streets for 40 years without affecting trees & cited leafy Roseville as an example.

The next Community Information Display will be on Thursday 2nd September 2010 & you can go to ask questions anytime between 2-4pm. It will be in Meeting Room 1 at the Debbie & Abbey Borgia Recreation Centre, 531 Illawarra Road Marrickville South.

Cooks River Marrickville side showing some of the new native grasses recently planted by Marrickville Council

This was the Council Meeting. All Councillors attended as Mayor Iskandar had returned from his Sister Cities tour.  For around half of the meeting I found it difficult to hear so parts of this post are incomplete. The meeting was not recorded in full because of problems with the sound system. For the first time since I have been attending Council meetings there was a large screen that showed the recommendations as printed on each business paper. I found this very helpful to fill in the blanks when I was not able to hear.  This new technology is a good addition. Any mistakes are mine.

Review of Community Cultural Events Program – Mayor Iskandar wanted to postpone this item for further discussions. Clr Kontellis & Clr Thanos objected. Clr Thanos said he was against the events program as it costs $450,000 a year & this money could build a new library that Council has been discussing for 12 years. This developed into Clr Thanos asking for a motion of dissent as Chair Mayor Iskandar was calling him out of order.  Clrs Thanos, Byrne, Phillips, Peters, Olive & Kontellis supported the dissent motion which was lost.  The Greens & Clr Thanos voted against deferral. Item deferred on the Mayor’s casting vote.

Management Plan & Budget 2010/14 – A number of issues pertaining to the budget were debated. 3 speakers

lovely colour

from the community spoke in support of the budget with regards to fees for outside seating for cafes/restaurants. They asked fees not be increased above the CPI.

3 residents, 2 of whom were children, spoke against the budget in regards to delaying half-road closure works for Audley Street Petersham that were approved by Council 3 ½ years ago. The speakers wanted works included in the budget, saying 24 children on the street were at risk by through traffic.

The main debate centred on where to find the money to do the Audley Street works & fund the Greenway Co-ordinator’s position. Clr Tsardoulias made an amendment to take $50,000 from the Marrickville Station works & give $40,000 to Audley Street & $10,000 to the Greenway position. Clrs Olive, Thanos, Byrnes, Peters, Phillips & Kontellis opposed the motion, not wanting any money taken from Marrickville Station upgrade works. Carried. Clr Olive said that $100,000 for Wilga Avenue upgrade needs to be returned to the budget allocation.

State Government changes to infrastructure contributions – The NSW State Labor government has capped Section 94 contributions from developers to $20,000. (wow!)

Conditions of a 12 month Licence to Tempe Basin Motor Boat Club Association – 2 people spoke, one representing the current lease holders.  He asked that the 12 month lease continues as is, outlining the work they have already completed at the site & the training opportunities they have offered to TAFE students. Another speaker spoke about what work they would do if the lease was rescinded & given to their organisation &, as a charity, how they would involve the community.  Clr Phillips moved an alternative motion to open the tender to allow all interested parties to apply. He said the process was rushed & other parties were not even included.  He & other members of the Greens spoke of a perception in the community that due process wasn’t followed.  This was debated strongly. The motion to rescind was lost & the motion to continue the lease as is for 12 months was carried with the Greens voting against.

Street lighting – Council wants low voltage lights used, particularly on main roads, to lower greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce the escalating costs of street lighting. Energy Australia has increased costs by 31%. Council will write to NSW ministers & the opposition regarding the crippling costs & seek financial assistance. 50% of Marrickville LGA carbon emissions come from street lighting.

(To read how Victorian Councils are attempting to address this issue, see the first item – )

Greenhouse gas emissions target – Clr Phllips moved a motion that Council prepare a report about greenhouses gasses for 2010 & make budget adjustments to meet targets.  He said Council set a target in 1997 to reduce emissions by 2010. This hasn’t happened & we are either 4,444 tonnes or 2,222 tonnes over, depending on the estimates of a recent report. He was against Council going the way of buying carbon offsets & instead move over to renewable energy as much as possible. Motion lost with all Councillors against except the Greens & Clr Thanos.

Here ends the Report for this week.

I have long thought the birds in my area were hungry. Last Spring I watched with dismay Energy Australia remove at least ½ to 2/3s of the foliage from the trees in my street. They did this just when the native trees were in flower. The disputes amongst birds to gain access to the remaining food was sad to witness.  After around 3 months they calmed down somewhat & seem to have organized a system of shifts. I guess this is their method of conflict management as they have learnt to share what has become a scarce resource.  Perhaps also, other plants have since flowered lessening the crisis of availability.

The bird population hasn’t dropped.  In fact it has increased.  Initially I thought this was a good thing, but after reading that bird experts consider the Lorikeets to be starving, I lost some of my delight in the increase in birds.  They are moving into other areas in search of food.

I know Energy Australia have a pruning schedule to adhere to & this post isn’t one of my usual ones where I question their practices.  It was just unfortunate that it was the turn of our area & it was spring, when all the trees were in flower at a time when there had been a long period of drought.

In the last month nature conservation groups have noted that the flying foxes have left QLD & travelled as far as Victoria, Adelaide in South Australia & Tasmania. This unusual mass migration has occurred because of record floods in QLD.  The continual rain has prevented many native flowers from opening & washed nectar from those flowers that had bloomed. This especially affected the bats’ favourite food, Eucalypt flowers.

Numbers of reported injured bats to June this year are almost as high as the total for the whole of 2009. The bats are flying longer distances & taking more risks in search of food.  They are travelling to country areas where they have not been before & eating citrus fruit from orchards despite this not being a food they generally eat.  They are even remaining on fruit trees rather than fly to another more suitable tree to roost.  Experts are saying this is because they are weak from starvation & do not want to relinquish a supply of food even if it is food they don’t usually eat.

Grevillea Moonlight - the bat was eating from the barely open flowers

While I was writing this my husband called me out to the garden to watch a small bat eating from the Grevillea flowers that have just started to open. The bat quietly licked the nectar from the flowers for around 20 minutes.  Neither of us have seen this before.

In my immediate neighbourhood a number of trees on private property were chopped down to get rid of the bats that lived & sourced food from them.  As far as I can tell, the bats haven’t gone far, just a few gardens down which was perhaps an unwelcome surprise for those people. Hopefully they won’t decide to chop their trees down as well.

The flying foxes stay in this area because there is usually some food & importantly there is access to water. Sydney’s temperature is also getting warmer & it is thought the Heat Island Effect from so much concrete is making the air temperature more to a bat’s liking.

Prior to the 1930s flying foxes were only found in Rockhampton & further north. Now, they live & breed in Sydney with the colony in the Royal Botanic Gardens undergoing or about to undergo noise dispersal & sleep deprivation to encourage them to move.  Conservation groups & scientists believe there is nowhere for the bats to move to, but it’s going to happen anyway.

Many people don’t like bats, but they are vitally important to the Australian landscape, as they are great pollinators.  If they become extinct, this will have a dreadful impact on Australian rainforests.

This tree doesn't flower for longer than a few weeks, but when it does it looks spectacular

Starving bats, starving birds, not much long grass to gather seeds, inedible gardens, lots of cement, fewer trees in back gardens & non-flowering street trees result in a general lack of biodiversity.  I wish our community would undertake to do something to remedy this awful situation.  All we need to do is plant 1 or 2 flowering trees or shrubs in our gardens. We also need Councils to plant more trees that provide food for urban wildlife.

There are many things one can do to create a friendly environment for birds, such as planting a variety of native plants & trees of different heights & include native grasses & a prickly shrub to provide refuge to the smaller birds like Wrens. I will address this in a later post.

Even just planting 1-2 shrubs or a small tree will alleviate the desperate situation of urban wildlife.  If many of us did this, there would be a great improvement in food supply.  The key is to plant native plants that flower as these provide food for wildlife.  It is best to choose plants that flower at different times so that food is available for many months rather than just one season.

This was the monthly Council Meeting. Clrs Thanos, Iskandar & Tsardoulias were absent. Clr Tsardoulias is in hospital so I wish him well & hope he has a speedy recovery.  Apologies for the length of this post. There was a lot on the agenda & I find it hard to be both brief & fair.  The following is my take of the proceedings & any mistakes are mine.

Old Marrickville Hospital Development This debate was recorded by 2SER radio.  A representative from Climate Action Newtown (CAN) addressed the Councillors saying that 500 households in the LGA receive updates about CAN’s activities &

I found these on a tree in Enmore

they constantly hear that the community want action about climate change on a local, state & federal government level. CAN believe making the development a 6 star sustainability site & carbon neutral, making it a fabulous opportunity to show real leadership to other councils across NSW.  (contact information for Climate Action Newtown is in the blogroll located in the left-hand column).

Clr Phillips moved a notice of motion that the development of the hospital site be designed to achieve a 6 star sustainability rating & carbon neutrality saying it was important that Marrickville Council lead on environmental issues & set a good example. He cited Council House Two in Melbourne as an example saying it may cost a bit more, but will pay for itself in the long run.  While Clrs Wright & Marcri said they were concerned about upfront costs, all Councillors supported the motion.  A staff member advised Marrickville Council had at last count $4M – $5M value in unencumbered property. Clr Phillips said that the costs could be an impediment, but CO2 also has costs to society & the environment & that this kind of development should be the standard in new buildings.  Carried unanimously.

Support for the 100% Renewable: Community campaign for clean energy. A community representative associated with CAN & with the 100% Renewable Campaign (national grassroots campaign calling for Australia to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources to mitigate climate change) addressed the Councillors saying this campaign was a great way to engage the community. She spoke about the campaign & asked for Council & government support saying Council’s support would send a strong signal to the community about renewable energy.

The motion by Clr Phillips was 1. Provide a link on Council’s website 2. Mention its support in the Inner West Courier 3. Co-sponsor a banner to be hung from Newtown Town Hall for 1 month 4. Give a grant of $500 for campaign materials. Clr Wright asked about costs & staff said each banner costs around $700 & if it comes out of the Contingency Fund it can only be to support incorporated organisations.  CAN is incorporated, but 100% Renewable is not.  Clr Wright supported points 1 & 2, but not points 3 & 4.  Clr Hanna supported points 1, 2 & 3, but not point 4 saying that garbage on the streets was more important & this money belonged to the ratepayers.

Clr O’Sullivan supported Clr Wright’s comments suggesting it may be more fruitful for CAN to apply to Council for a community grant. She could not support point 4.  Clrs Kontellis & Byrne supported motion in full with Clr Byrne suggesting CAN apply for a community grant anyway.  Motion carried. Clrs Phillips, Byrne, Kontellis, Peters & Olive supporting & Clrs Wright, O’Sullivan, Hanna & Macri against.

Affordable Housing. This was definitely one of the agenda items where I think it would be hard to be a Councillor.  The gallery had around 17 young people who were members of a group called Centrepiece Queer Art Collective.  One of their members addressed the Councillors & the debate was recorded by 2SER. She spoke about how the Collective are homeless & have been squatting in the old Marrickville Hospital. Council have asked them to leave so an audit can be done for fire safety issues. The Collective wanted to be allowed to use the building if it is

tree canopy

deemed safe & said they had the local fire station assess the area & do an informal inspection.  The Fire Brigade said exit signs & smoke alarms would be sufficient. She asked how come they could organise a fire check in 1 afternoon & Marrickville Council couldn’t in 15 years saying this was “bureaucracy before human needs.”

A resident in the street spoke in support for the Collective saying he bought 12 years ago & was told development was imminent, yet the building has remained empty.  He said the building could have been used for housing & Council should consider what they can do to remove fire & health hazards & support this group of responsible homeless young people. He said they created no problems for the local residents.

Clr Byrne wanted to add to the motion that Council write to the state government about providing more affordable housing. She said the old Marrickville Hospital site is in Major Projects, but there are financial aspects, fire safety audits were done 2007 & 2008 & there were key reasons why Council can’t allow the young people to live in that site. She said it would be morally corrupt to allow people to use it because of asbestos on site.  She also said Council staff have found housing for the Collective & Metro Housing Group is offering 12 months accommodation.  She said Council has just worked on the Draft LEP to provide flexibility in industrial areas to provide live/work areas for our creative residents.

It was a long debate where all Councillors acknowledged the difficulty of homelessness, the demand for housing & the availability of affordable housing. Clrs Byrne, Hanna, Macri, Phillips, Kontellis, Peters, Olive  & O’Sullivan spoke on the issue. They were concerned for the Collective, but could not agree to allow them to live in a building that was unsafe. Clr Peters asked staff to outline recent developments about affordable housing in the LGA.  The staff member said Council has applications for Boarding Houses & the Dept Housing has more houses in the area. He said the biggest growth was through St George & Metro Housing who have probably added 30-40 houses, but the reality is affordable housing has got less. The motion was for Council to explore potential use of unoccupied buildings, audit these buildings & assess the costs to make them liveable dwellings & ensure any development of Council owned property contains affordable housing.  Carried unanimously.

Protect our National Parks from privatisation. Motion by Clr Byrne for Council to write to Frank Sartor Minister for the Environment & Climate Change,  requesting he withdraw his bill to allow commercial development in National Parks & ensure any attempts to increase visitor numbers are done with the best interests of local communities & local environments.  Carried unanimously.

Third Quarter Performance Report 2009-2010 & GST Compliance Certificates. Received & noted. Carried unanimously.

Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre Plan of Management. There was some discussion regarding the café, with Clr Olive asking what happens if the café ceases to operate, does it return to the control of Council. Staff said they would seek legal advice. Clr O’Sullivan had some concerns regarding the restrictive nature of the contact citing the clause ‘no use of butter’ as an example.  Staff said there was a 1½ page nutritional statement to serve as guidelines for minimal standards of food served by the café so we don’t end up with pie & chips. Carried unanimously.

Safety around Sydenham Station. Clr O’Sullivan said that residents have started a Clean Up Sydenham campaign as they are concerned about safety walking from the station to Unwins Bridge Road past the derelict Station Masters house & another empty house & rubbish in this area.  Motion to ask Railcorp to clean up, remove weeds & overhanging vegetation & for Council to advise of options for improving amenity & safety. Carried unanimously.

Henry Tax Review & Housing Affordability. Clr Phillips spoke briefly about the report & said given that affordable housing comes up in Council debates he would like fellow Councillors to be familiar with it & said Council should be writing to all levels of government about affordable housing. Carried unanimously.

Energy Efficient Street Lighting. Clr Peters put forward a motion to request Energy Australia to replace all street-lights with energy efficient bulbs on main roads throughout the LGA & to notify residents of Council’s action.  Clr Wright moved an amendment that instead of writing to residents about this, to notify them via Council’s website, Marrickville Matters & rates notices to save money. This was accepted by Clr Peters. Clr Olive said he wasn’t against writing directly to residents as they needed to know both sides of the story & this may push the supplier into action. Carried unanimously.

Support for Refugees & 2010 World Refugee Week. Clr Peters wanted Council to promote a rally on Saturday 26th June 2010 saying many residents of Marrickville

native grass

LGA are refugees. She said we would like the federal government to lift the freeze & close Curtin & Christmas Island detention centres immediately. Clr Wright said she noticed Council displayed a banner at Petersham Town Hall & would now be doing the same at Newtown, Sydenham, St Peters & Marrickville Town Halls at the cost of $2,500. She said she would rather use the money on people rather than on banners.  Clr Peters asked for guidance from staff as to the issue of reuse of banners by Council.

Clr Phillips said it was “atrocious” what the government has done with refugees saying it is “back to the dark days of Howard.”  He was worried that sewing lips & self-harming would start again. He said it was “the regime of cruelty with people behind razor wire just because of their mode of arrival.” Clr Kontellis supported the motion saying Council should be taking supportive action & said the government’s action on refugees was appalling. Carried unanimously.

Meeting concluded.

The University of Tasmania have just completed a 3 year nation-wide study as to why some people prefer a leafy front garden while others don’t. Interestingly, tertiary educated people preferred trees & the higher the  income, the more trees.

An unusual story of public tree removal in Newport:  The Cumberland Courier reported that an unspecified number of trees & scrub has been removed from Barenjoey Road by Pittwater Council. Residents requested the trees be removed saying the trees were not native & removing them would open up the area to ocean views from North Newport.

Pittwater Council’s Natural Environment Reference Group has submitted a plan to have all new DAs required to maintain wildlife corridors across their land. This would also include retaining dead trees, as these are especially important for providing homes for a variety of wildlife.  The new plan specifically targets the protection of Green-&-Gold Bell Frogs, Swift Parrots, Squirrel Gliders, Southern Brown Bandicoots & (would you believe they are even there) Koalas.  Any DA will also be required to plant more trees & wildlife sustaining landscaping.

Mid April 2010 North Sydney Council decided to explore the idea of replanting garden beds in parks & reserves with vegetables.

North Sydney Council stopped mowing verges early 2009, but after complaints from residents, they will now do a one-off mow at the cost of $58,000. They also intend to reinstate verge mowing by the end of 2010.

Just as an aside, I was told Marrickville Council spends about $2 million per year mowing our verges.  Makes me wonder what that that money could be used for if we just mowed our own & our neighbours if they didn’t have a mower.  $2 million could repair the Coptic Church in Sydenham for history’s sake & for community use or it could buy a lot of street & park trees amongst many other things. I saw a sign in Catherine Street Leichhardt yesterday that read something like – ‘2.3 million dollar footpath upgrade.’ Or we could just grow veggie or flower gardens on our verges.

Energy Australia has angered the community once again by ‘butchering’ 2 large trees in Allambie Heights shopping centre.

An 18 metre high Port Jackson Fig tree with a canopy spreading about 15 metres listed on the Significant Tree Register of City of Sydney Council was removed last month due to extensive rot.  It was part of a row of Figs in Joynton Aveneue Zetland.  The lost tree will be replaced by a mature Port Jackson Fig.

City of Sydney Council has joined with Marrickville Council in formally opposing the M5 extension that will go through Tempe Reserve, over Tempe Wetlands & terminate at Euston Road at Sydney Park. Terrific news.

It will be interesting to learn how the trial at removing smog in the M5 during March went.

A home up for sale in the Brisbane suburb of Mackenzie incurred $20,000 damage after the front garden was excavated & 10 Palm trees stripped down by unknown workers who fled when people came to watch.  It is thought they were working on the wrong property.

Finishing the ongoing story about the trees in the carpark of Walmart in Henderson Tennessee that were savagely pruned recently, Walmart have been ordered to replace 100 of the Elm trees. This will cost them around US$25,000.

row of trees along a footpath in Birchgrove

Street trees in Eastwood. Most of the residential streets in this & surrounding suburbs have many tall trees.

Dr Jago Dodson from Griffith University’s Urban Research Program is advocating the creation of many more community gardens in cities saying there will be increased pressure on urban areas to produce food in the future.

“In the context of some of the big challenges we’re facing – challenges about the sustainability of rural & regional agriculture, challenges about drought conditions, changing environmental conditions, questions about global warming’s impact on food supplies across the world & also questions about the sustainability of petroleum, which is one of the key inputs into industrial agricultural systems – those big changes are going to start to motivate more creatively how we produce food in society.”

Most residential streets in Chatswood have many tall, shady street trees. This is the norm.

Dr Dodson has some innovative ideas that I think are really exciting.  Judging by Marrickville Council’s support for the latest verge gardening project in Wilga Avenue & the community garden in Denison Road Dulwich Hill, I would imagine Council will also support other community gardens in the LGA.  This year they have said they will provide help in-kind such as removing cement to facilitate such projects & that there are a number of suitable places for community gardens in the LGA.  Access to water is the main issue if the gardens are not on the verges out front.

I predict community gardens will be as popular as book clubs in the not too distant future & as is with Book Clubs, only limited places are available so it pays to be involved from the beginning.

The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health published research from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam showed that living less than 1km (0.62miles) from a green space had a major impact in lowering the incidence of major physical disease & mental ill-health.

Professor Barbara Maher of the Lancaster Environment Centre said, “The study confirmed that green spaces create oases of improved health around them especially for children.” She said, “At least part of this ‘oasis’ effect probably reflects changes in air quality.”

More proof that a good-sized street tree out front does more than beautify, raise property values & reduce your power costs for heating & cooling.  Street trees also remove up to 60% of street level particulate matter such as dust, smoke, ash & the sooty bi-product from car & truck exhausts that we would generally filter through our lungs & which cause asthma & other respiratory illnesses.

A recent study found tripling the number of street trees could reduce asthma among children by 25 percent.  Researchers from Columbia University in the US found rates of asthma fell by a ¼ when there were around 350 more trees in a square kilometre.

The research found that children are less likely to develop asthma if they live in tree-lined streets, particularly in areas with more street trees.  Here, I think they mean nice big trees with a canopy, not the hacked variety that are so prevalent in Marrickville LGA.

Part of the aims of New York City’s Million Tree Program is to reduce the incidence of respiratory illness as well as improve the overall mental & physical health of its residents.  They also believe in global warming & in 2005, New York tallied its CO2 emissions & found they were approximately 1% of US totals & less than 1/3 of the average US per capita level. 79% CO2 came from buildings. They believe their emissions are so low because there is a heavy reliance on cycling & public transport use. They still to reduce their CO2 emissions by a further 33%.

Rockdale City Council planted street trees along both side of the Princes Hwy Rockdale for approximately 2 km. The awnings posed a problem, so each tree was pruned into a ball & these are maintained regularly. I like what Rockdale Council has done. It looks great & brings green every 3 metres along the shopping strip.

A short, succinct article from Real Estate Agents about the monetary worth of trees on your property, which says, “mature trees & a well-landscaped yard can improve your home’s value by 10-25%.”

Every time I mention this to others I watch the disbelief on their faces, yet this estimate is a number I come across repeatedly in research & articles about the value of trees.

Try looking in the local community papers in the Real Estate section.  If there is a street tree in front of the property, the photographer always includes a branch or leaves from the tree in the photo of the property.  They do this because the sight of trees has a subconscious effect on us.  When we see leafy green, we get a feeling of peace & safety even if we are not directly aware of this. Leafy green means good place to rear children, safety & happiness.  Not to many of us will look at a photo of a property surrounded by cement with no green & compare it favorably with a property that has trees & landscaping, even if the greener property is of lesser value.

The iconic Coral trees in Clifton Gardens were chopped down mid April 2010 by Mosman Council as part of an upgrade of the picnic area. They said the trees had a high-hazard rating.  The residents were very unhappy to lose these & 4 other trees.

Professional tree trimmers in Gilroy California killed 2 owlets when they chopped down a palm tree despite being warned twice about the nest. The Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center is caring for the third owlet, who survived the fall. Police are investigating.

Energy Australia reduced a Frenches Forest woman to tears after their tree pruners entered her property & ‘butchered’ her trees.  She said her trees grew straight upwards & were 4 metres away from the power lines & Energy Australia’s intervention was unnecessary.  The first comment by ‘Chips’ is also interesting as he says this has happened to trees on his property numerous times.

Good news… Buffalo, Illinois, a town of 500 residents has no more room for street trees. They have been focused on street tree planting since 1986 & have now run out of room.  Mike Dirksen, city arborist in nearby Springfield said, “There are so many benefits from trees.  They shouldn’t just be seen as having an ornamental purpose.” This should be engraved on a gold plaque. Bet the town looks stunning!

CELEBRITY NEWS (drum-roll please) Last April, in Sao Paulo, Avatar Producer James Cameron & actor Sigourney Weaver planted a native Brazilian tree pau-brasil which is 99% extinct to kick-off a global Earth Day Network which intends to plant 1 million trees in 15 countries by the end of 2010.

Chatswood, Ashfield, Pacific Hwy & Alexandria - all are very busy roads & they have large street trees at close spacing.

1.          The Cumberland Courier reported that Energy Australia is to spend $62 million installing high-voltage power lines between substations at Allambie Heights & Balgowlah to protect endangered tree communities at River Flat Eucalyptus Forest & Duffys Forest Ecological Community & to not damage historic Sloane Crescent Bridge.  This is a great thing they are doing.

showing the Optus cables clearance - extreme at this end of Renwick St Marrickville South. At the other end of this street the branches were pruned to & above the Optus cables

Pity about what Energy Australia did to the street trees at the Woolworths end of Renwick Street during ‘routine pruning’  last February.   People just looked at the trees with their mouth open.  As usual, the feeling was “the damage is done & there is nothing we can do about it.”

It is such as shame as we know they can do better.  See where just last February I complimented Energy Australia for the good pruning they did in Excelsior Parade.  Even Renwick Street has different pruning outcomes.  The lower end, towards Carrington Road, the street trees were moderately pruned. Some trees that had been almost destroyed during the previous pruning cycle 7-8 years ago were looked after this time.  Interestingly, Energy Australia workers did not clear branches below the Optus cables at this end of Renwick Street, whereas up the other end the Optus cables where given a huge clearance. The trees on the corner of Renwick & Excelsior had more than 2/3s of their canopy removed.

2.         Brisbane City Council announced they will plant 2 million trees across the city by 2012.  This is a fabulous initiative & the community can participate.

Their website says residents can request a street tree be planted & provides a list of suitable trees.  Brisbane City Council also say they plant trees which will not interfere with overhead powerlines & that street trees are classified as “valuable Council & community assets” & protected under the Natural Assets Local Law making it an offence to prune, interfere with or remove street trees.  Wonderful.

In another lovely initiative, Brisbane City Council has organised Tree Trail. Information & a map of 20 locations can be downloaded highlighting special & significant trees around the CBD.  I think this is a terrific idea & believe it would be a boon for tourism.  HTTP://

3.                 Hornsby Councillor Bruce Mills’ proposal to plant mature trees to create ‘instant boulevards’ was voted in during a March Council Meeting.  Residents need to request that their street become a tree-lined boulevard. Councillor Mills says this initiative will be “returning ratepayer funds in a way which adds to their property value.”

After pruning by Energy Australia, this tree on Renwick Street is a shadow of its former self

The Boulevard in Dulwich Hill is an excellent local example of a street loved because of its many, large street trees that cascade over the road.  Ask any real estate agent & they will tell you this street is sort after with buyers paying more to purchase property here because of the presence of these trees.

The following is a short, but relevant article about trees & property value in America.  Adelaide University has assessed the value of trees upwards to 25% of the property’s value in line with Australian property prices as they are more expensive than in the USA.

Personally, I would love it if our Council copied the ‘instant boulevard’ idea. Even planting more developed trees would be a step forward as these have a greater chance of surviving.  City of Sydney Council planted 200 litre root-ball 4 metre high Simon Poplars along & on the corner of side streets in Glebe Point Road  in 2009.   All these trees have survived & are growing well.  There positive impact was immediate & the area looks greener & prettier for it.

4.                 City of Sydney Greens Councillor Chris Harris wrote about a proposed cycleway in Johnstons Creek that he says will destroy wildlife habitat.  This new 2.5 meter wide cement path starts at Orphan Creek, an woodland & wildlife habitat area in Forest Lodge that was decimated for a similar path in 2009 despite enormous & organised community opposition.  What is also disturbing in this article is residents from Minogue Crescent who are directly affected by the new cycleway, were refused permission to address the Councillors during a Council Meeting who ‘voted in a block’ to deny them this opportunity.  I would have thought it a right.

5. The Daily Telegraph reported that State Forests NSW started woodchip logging in the Mumbulla & Murrah state forests on 29th March 2010 despite this being the last area in SE NSW where the threatened species Koala lives. A group of residents attempting to save the Koala habitat managed to stop logging by getting in the way of loggers.

This street tree in Renwick Street had a naturally round canopy. Before it was pruned early 2010, it looked something like the area shaded in yellow. It may have been taller

Koalas are listed as a threatened species & classified as ‘vulnerable.’ From the NSW state governments own web-site – A ‘vulnerable’ species is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances & factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate. Yet, they are taking down forests where Koalas are known to live.  I just don’t understand this.

Everyone fell in love with the burnt Koala who was filmed drinking water given by a Fireman during last year’s Victorian bushfires, but we can’t rely on our government to save our national emblem.  For more information about this issue including how you can help, go to Nature Conservation Council of NSW



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