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2 gorgeous Gums in Dulwich Hill

The story goes like this –

In the yard of a home owned by public housing was an 18 metre tall Grey Gum (Eucalyptus punctata) with a 14 metre wide canopy.  Next door lived Ms R in a home also owned by public housing. The tree’s branches overhung the driveway. The tree had dropped some branches over the years. Ms R had asked the Department of Housing to remove the tree & the tree was trimmed a couple of times. During a storm branches fell from the tree breaking a couple of windows.

In 2005 the Department of Housing applied to the local Council for permission to remove the tree because it was unstable.  The Council’s Arborist inspected the tree & did not approve removal because the tree was in a sound/stable condition & removal was inconsistent with the Council’s Tree management Plan.  The Arborist said he had no objection to pruning deadwood & to thin the crown by 15%, but without height reduction.

In December 2005 Ms R was hit by a branch or dead wood. She sued Council & the Department of Housing for negligence.  Her consultant Arborist thought the Council’s Arborist did “not consider the intrinsic nature of Eucalypts to unpredictably shed dead branches or live branches that have been damaged,” & that the tree “will provide an ongoing source of potential hazard,” & “despite any further remedial pruning, it will continue to pose an unacceptable & ongoing risk of hazard to the safety of people & damage to property.”

Another 2 lovely Gums in Smidmore Street Marrickville

The District Court did not award Ms R damages. She appealed. On 13th September 2010 the NSW Court of Appeal delivered judgement (Rhodes v Lake Macquarie City Council & another [2010] NSW Court of Appeal 235).

The Court noted Council’s evidence that this particular species drop deadwood, but did not think Council was negligent in its decision that the tree should stay.

The Court said Council’s Tree Management Policy “favours retention of native trees, including trees such as Grey Gums which produce deadwood & drop branches; and that substantial justification is required for consent to be given for removal of such trees.”

To find the authorities negligent “the risk of substantial damage to property or significant injury to a person would be required.”

The Court acknowledged the accident was unfortunate for Ms R, but concluded “the history of 2 broken windows, some broken tiles & 1 very minor injury to a person, over a period of about 6 years, was not such to suggest that this tree was any more dangerous than the general run of such trees.”

Gum trees in Enmore

The injury to Ms R is regrettable, but one must acknowledge the Council’s policy that encourages the maintenance of tall Eucalypts with wide canopy is of great social utility.   Also, the Court’s endorsement of policies that say trees should prevail despite some risks naturally present. This decision is significant in this era of climate change when having trees has become more important than ever.  I hope that Councils take courage from this judgement & not go about chopping trees down unless they present significant risks.

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Wallangarra White Gum to be removed outside 1 Park Rd Marrickville

Marrickville Council has put up notification that they want to remove a Wallangarra White Gum (Eucalyptus scoparia) outside 1 Park Road, Marrickville (actually on Addison Road).

Reason for removal:

  • An independent arborist’s aerial assessment identified the subject tree as having an open cavity on its main stem at 4 metres above the ground.
  • Resistograph testing found that decay associated with the cavity accounts for 73% of the diameter of the stem at the point of testing & consequently the residual soundwood at this point constitutes 27% of the stem wall.
  • Stem failure potential has been established at starting in the range of 35-30% residual hardwood, with the frequency of failure increasing from 30% & lower. Therefore a stem with a residual soundwood shell of 27% presents a significant & unacceptable risk of stem failure.
  • Stem breakage would result in the tree falling onto Addison Rd, resulting in the possibility of serious injury or damage to persons or property.

It is great that Council is providing detailed information for the tree removal & that they are removing trees that are not healthy & for good reason.

It is obvious this tree is in decline & presents a significant risk of falling.  It’s a shame

Area of rot in the Gum at 1 Park Rd Marrickville

because it is a lovely tall tree & has a circumference of at least 3.5 metres.   It does have a considerable lean over Addison Road.

Council will replace this tree with a Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) though they don’t indicate when they will do this.

The deadline for submissions is 23 July 2010.  I will not be putting in a submission.  Thank you to Council for fixing up the link quickly.

We also went to have a look at the 2 Casuarinas that are to be removed so Sydney Water can repair a main water pipe.  They are nice mature trees & it’s a shame they have to go.  However, the Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylia) that line the road to Tempe Reserve are close by & replacing these Casuarinas will be a better fit in the scheme of this area.

Almost gone, these 2 Casuarinas will be removed from Tempe Reserve

On 26th June 2010 the Sydney Morning Herald published an article headlined: Why living near a road is bad for your health. A major study was done by the US Health Effects Institute who reviewed 700 worldwide health-pollution studies. They found:

  • traffic pollution within a 500-metre radius of a major thoroughfare was likely to exacerbate asthma in children
  • trigger new asthma cases across all ages
  • impair lung function in adults &
  • could cause cardiovascular illness & death

Because the results showed a clear health-risk for those living within 500 metres of a main road the National Environment Protection Council will consider the US study in a review of existing national air pollution regulations next month.

The National Environment Protection Council will be considering “whether a limit should be imposed on the concentration levels of particulate matter larger than 2.5 micrometres. Currently authorities need to adhere to limits set for particulate matter larger than 10 micrometres.”

That’s good, even if it is significantly overdue.  25 years ago a friend’s mother  told me not to rent a house in Leichhardt because it was a block away from Parramatta Road. She said the pollution will be dropping in your yard & you will be breathing it every day, especially when the wind blows towards the property. I took heed & let that house go even though the rent was low.

The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries is already trying to find loopholes saying, “the industry supported moves to minimise pollution from cars, but added that air quality was good in Australia & warned against comparisons in US studies.” Except the 700 health-pollution studies were taken world-wide, not just in the US.

A random view of the Pacific Highway, Sydney. There are just as many trees along most of its length to Hornsby.

Recently I posted on the differences between Parramatta Road & the Pacific Highway.  They are both main roads, but the differences between the two are astounding, so much so, one could believe they are in different countries, not in the same city separated by a bridge.  The Pacific Highway has large trunk tall trees along its length. Tree canopies cascade over the road & no one is in fear even though the majority appears to me to be of the Eucalypt variety.

Parramatta Road however, has very few trees along the section managed by Marrickville & Leichhardt Councils & most of this road managed by other Councils are just as treeless.  The Princes Highway also is almost devoid of trees, even though this road appears to have more obvious spaces that would allow for planting.  I would think these Councils made a decision not to plant street trees along these main thoroughfares as these roads have remained in this state for decades. https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/north-shore-versus-inner-west-main-roads/

A random view of Parramatta Road at Stanmore.

Now it is not just a matter of unsightliness (which has its own recognized impact on mental & physical health), it has been recognized as a serious health matter for the thousands of people who live within 500 metres of main roads. The pollution from Parramatta Road & the Princes Highway must be at astounding levels.  I don’t know whether anyone has measured the pollution levels along these roads, but I doubt it will be too long before a study is done on this.

All the people who live within 500 metres of these roads are having their health compromised on a daily basis when all that needs to be done is plant decent sized street trees.

A tree with a 76 cm-diameter trunk removes 70 times more pollution per year than does a tree with a 7.5 cm trunk.  This is not a big tree. Double the trunk size & you will be removing a much greater amount of particulate matter & other pollutants.  The trees along the Pacific Highway are not small thin little things. They are big trunked robust growing trees with a significant canopy.

Trees are best known for their ability to sequester & store CO2, but they also absorb other pollutants such as Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide & Sulfur Dioxide through their leaves. They reduce air temperature ground-level ozone, which contributes to greenhouse gas creation & global warming. They also remove up to 60% of street level particulate matter such as dust, smoke, ash & the sooty bi-product from car & truck exhausts. The more trees planted, the less heat is generated & the more air pollution is removed.

Now that health effects from pollution from main roads is finally being taken seriously in Australia, it is time all main roads are made safer.  The cars & trucks are not going to go away for the foreseeable future & it doesn’t matter that engines of newer cars spew out lower levels of toxic material, it is still happening year in, year out & having a major effect on the health & lives of residents & people who work on or near main roads.  Perhaps the Health Department will help cover the cost of trees for planting. It’s a valid argument as trees will help stop thousands of people becoming ill & landing up at hospitals.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/why-living-near-a-road-is-bad-for-your-health-20100626-zavi.html

In a few short years the City of Sydney Council have made this run down area opposite the Fish Markets at Pyrmont unrecognizable. Young Hills Figs line the road on both sides softening buildings & other grey infrastructure. I think the landscaping looks fabulous & all those trees are great for the health of the people who live & work in this area. The beauty of the area will also give a favourable impression of Sydney to the many tourists who visit the markets.

A random view of the Pacific Highway, Sydney. There are just as many trees along most of its length to Hornsby.

In this post I am discussing 2 main roads: the Pacific Highway & Parramatta Road.  Travelling on either road is like travelling in different countries.  I cannot help but be astounded by the difference.

There is really no difference in the utility between the two roads except that Parramatta Road has many more shopping strips. However, I don’t see why this should mean there should be dearth of trees along its length.

The section of Parramatta Road that is under the control of Marrickville & Leichhardt Councils is ugly & getting visually worse as the years pass. The almost treeless state of Parramatta Road under the control of these 2 Councils seems to be a planning decision that was probably made decades ago & little has been done to change it.  Of course, there are other parts of this road that are just as treeless, but I am presently concerned with the section under the control of Marrickville, Leichhardt & City of Sydney Councils.

You can see the demarcation line between Marrickville & Leichhardt Councils & the City of Sydney Council by looking for the presence of street trees.  Once they start you are in City of Sydney territory. Once they stop you are in Marrickville & Leichhardt territory.

A random view of Parramatta Road at Stanmore. The Palm belongs to McDonalds car park.

Sydney City has planted quite a number of Eucalypts along their section of Parramatta Road & the trees are already looking good.  Sydney Council’s action proves it can be done.  Interestingly they planted Eucalypts, trees which some regard as dangerous because of falling branches.  Mind you, the branch die-off is a slow process & is clearly visible to the naked eye. I’d guess that Sydney City Council chose to plant Eucalypts because they grow tall & straight, grow rapidly & also flower providing food for the birds.  I’d also guess they made a decision to check on the trees occasionally & prune any branches that die off as part of general maintenance.

The Pacific Highway is filled with a variety of tall growing trees along its length, again proving that trees can exist on a main thoroughfare.  The trees don’t cause visibility problems for the traffic & they certainly help keep pedestrians safer. The trees also provide a pollution barrier to local housing by capturing particulate matter from the exhausts of passing traffic.  People who live within a block of the Pacific will have much cleaner air than those who live along or near Parramatta Road.

Parramatta Road opposite McDonalds at Stanmore looking towards the city.

It annoys me that Sydney’s Inner West of has to be exposed to more pollution, including visual pollution.   What does it take to cut out concrete & plant trees in available spaces along Parramatta Road? If Leichhardt & Marrickville Councils followed City of Sydney’s lead & planted 3-4 metre high saplings, the effect would be to instantly beautify & green the place. The trees would also have a much greater chance of survival, as they are not sitting ducks to be vandalized.  The new street trees recently planted along Glebe Point Road are proof of this.

I know money is an issue, but is losing 95% of saplings planted each season due to dying for lack of water, accidents, vandalism & the like a wise investment?  Wouldn’t it be better to plant bigger saplings which do cost more, but if watered, are more likely to survive?

Couldn’t the nearest business owner be given a complementary watering can & asked to water the tree?  Council could give them a big bright sticker to put in their window saying that they are caretakers of the street trees with much thanks from Council & the community.  Something like I am a volunteer caretaker of the street tree/s outside this business.

View of the Pacific Hwy just before Chatswood. Even in this area street trees are regularly spaced & of a tall growing species.

People notice these things.  Couldn’t community appreciation awards be given each year to those people & businesses that kept the street trees alive?  Surely this type of recognition would be good for their professional reputation because a large percentage of the community cares about green issues these days.

My dream is that once businesses catch on to the fact that shoppers spend around 11% more where there are shady trees, they will be beating down Council’s door demanding trees be planted.

Parramatta Road is also a main route south of Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Tourists travel along it daily & they will gain an impression of Sydney from this road.  As for the Princes Highway, straight out from the airport…….

The Princes is shamefully ugly.  The section from St Peters to the Cooks River always looked dreadful &, like Parramatta Road, is only getting worse.  Rockdale Council made their section look considerably better & more people-friendly by planting street trees every 3 metres along the whole length of the shopping strip.  Rockdale Council prunes & maintains these trees & although they are trees in cages, they look good.  It is the kind of care that is noticeable & makes people feel good, better connected in their communities & happier.

Trees have this extraordinary capacity to cause people to feel happier & peaceful. Research has been done regarding the effects of trees on peoples’ physical & mental health, so it is not just me banging on. 100 Tree Facts has more information regarding the benefits of trees.  https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/100-tree-facts/

Marrickville Council won’t do anything about this unless we let them know that we want more trees in areas like Parramatta Road where there is tree-poverty.  We should not need to get used to ugliness when the solution is so simple & good for us & our children. If we work or live in areas with a predominance of grey infrastructure, it will have a negative impact on our health & our quality of life.  Besides, the UN says we should be planting 14 billion trees a year across the planet if we are going to have a chance of holding back the thrust towards climate change.

On 19th March, the following 3 street trees were put up on Marrickville Council’s web-site for removal.

1. Mature Corymbia citriodora (Lemon Scented Gum) outside 11 Union Street Dulwich Hill.  This tree was the first campaign for SoT in June last year.  At that time Council said the problem was ‘whole tree failure’ which I & other members of the community disputed.

showing the recent splits & the 'bleeding' from the nails which were hammered in last June 2009 - using a wide angle lens makes the tree appear taller than it is

The outcome was Council surveyed the tree & intended to monitor to see if the lean increased.  Their report says a lot has happened to this tree since then.

This time they say: Asymmetric root–plate development due to restrictive growth environment. (as does a huge percentage of mature trees in Marrickville LGA due to failure to remove cement from around their trunks), buttressing of the base of the tree over the adjacent kerb.  This predisposes the tree to wind-throw in extreme weather conditions.  There is also a risk of whole tree failure if the kerb collapses. Extensive structural root & crown decay in the plane of compressive stress.  This condition is compounded by the tree exhibiting a moderate lean in the plane of decay.  The decay has been caused by the presence of the naturally occurring fungal decay pathogen Armilaria leuteobubalina.  The tree is exposed to south-easterly winds in the direction of lean & in the plane of decay.  This is compounded by the tree exhibiting an asymmetric canopy, with the majority of the canopy being present in the direction of the lean of the tree (what does Council think of all the masses of asymmetric trees which have been made this way by Energy Australia?)  Severance of structural roots on the windward side of the tree as a result of excavations undertaken by Sydney Water.

I interpret the above as: this tree is likely to fall over if there is an extreme weather event, especially if the wind comes from a south-easterly direction or if the sandstone kerb collapses.  The tree has been placed at risk because Sydney Water severed its structural roots.  Finally, the tree has caught a fungal disease & this sews up the argument for removal.  As this fungus stays in the ground for a while, Council will not replace the tree for 2 years. Council does not say what species the replacement will be.

I went to have a look at this tree & its condition has really changed.  In my opinion it needs to go.  I can’t identify Armilaria leuteobubalina, but I can tell when a tree is deteriorating & this one is.  It has recently developed 2 large vertical splits in its trunk that regardless of the other things afflicting this tree, indicate its demise.

Its loss is going to have a dramatic affect on the streetscape as it cascades beautifully over Union Street & is clearly visible from the café on the corner.  The deadline for submissions is 2nd April 2010.

2. The second street tree is a Eucalyptus scoparia (Wallangarra White Gum) outside 70 Railway Street Petersham.  Council’s report says:  Extensive stem decay & is at risk of

showing the decay & damage by borers

breakage. No disagreement from me with this tree.  It looks like it has or had borers & they entered via a newly cut branch.

I am pleased to note that Council says they will replace it with a Lemon Scented Gum.  I do know a number of Petersham residents who are worried that Council will remove their Gums.  (I just realised how this reads like & will leave it for a bit of fun).  Put in a way that does not sound like dental work, residents fear that Council will remove the Eucalypts, so replacement with a tall growing Eucalypt will please many.  The deadline for submissions is 9th April 2010.

3.  The third tree required a certain amount of sleuthing on my part to locate because I failed to notice the word ‘adjacent.’  This is another Eucalyptus scoparia (Wallangarra

massive damage to this tree as well as termites

White Gum).  It sits in a lovely little space between 2 types of stairs (ordinary/normal stairs & thrill-seeker/kill off your granny stairs – see photo in this post) that connect Day Street with Hampden Avenue.  There are a number of mature trees in this little triangle of dirt.

Council’s report says: Extensive column decay in trunk. Termite activity evident. Again, both these were easy to see.  I also think the people who live in the house directly next to & below this particular tree may breath a sigh of relief when it goes.  They may have held their breath through a few storms, worried that it would crash on their house.  I know I would have.  Council will replace this tree with a Eucalyptus microcorys (Tallow Wood), which will be nice.  The deadline for submissions is 9th April 2010.

I was enormously pleased to see that Marrickville Council had used wide sticky tape to fasten the ‘notice of removal’ signs on all 3 trees.  Thank you for doing this.  This is a big

The ramp on the right is very steep - I assume it was used when the quarry across the road was active

change from previous practice of nailing in the signs & seems more effective because all 6 signs are still in place.

I was also very pleased to note the more detailed information provided with the ‘notification for removal.’  Although I recognise this takes more time for Council staff, it helps them in the long run because the community does not have to guess why the trees are up for removal.  All 3 notifications & especially the one in Union Street gave clear & descriptive reasons.  Coupled with the use of tape instead of nails, this is a great improvement & goes to generating goodwill.

Apparently the period for submissions for public trees is 14 days, not 21 as we have experienced throughout the latter half of 2009.  Council says they allow 21 days for submissions if the tree is significant in some way.  14 days doesn’t allow much time, but if we are organised, it can be done.  It also means that I cannot be slow in noticing new trees for removal on their web-site.

I am not going to put in a submission for any of the current trees as I believe they all should be removed.

Last week I discovered that 1 large street tree (Revolution Green – Melaleuca bracteata) outside 23 Ivanhoe Street Marrickville South is to be removed. 2 others of the same species along the same stretch of Ivanhoe Street are to be removed near to the corner of Warren Road.

Marrickville Council's tree notice

I posted last Friday about this saying that Council has nailed notices on the trees. I wish they would stop doing this.  It sends a clear message the decision has been pre-determined. Council did not put a notification on their web-site.  After my previous post, the notifications appeared on the web-site.

I have sincere reservations about Marrickville Council’s capacity to stick to it own procedures & would not be surprised if other trees have been removed without proper notification to the community.  This is not a small oversight.

Council’s notice on the tree said the community had a period of 2 weeks to send in submissions.  Previously it has been 3 weeks.  Why the change?  Why weren’t we notified of this change?  Why the rush?  These trees are definitely not dangerous.

I visited the trees on Ivanhoe Street & thought that, although the trees could do with a prune to remove some dead undergrowth (normal with this species) & apart from damage to 1 branch from a passing truck, there is nothing wrong with them.  Why do they have to remove 3 mature trees that flower prolifically in Spring & attract many birds?

The notices on the trees have in the meantime been ripped out, bar one. Therefore, I inspected 4 trees in the vicinity.  The trees have lifted up the paving & adjacent gutter because many years ago they were planted in a small hole in the cement.

Ivanhoe Street showing the trees to be removed on the right & the new plantings on the left

Marrickville Council’s web-site says reason for removal is “as part of a civil works upgrade.” This means there is nothing wrong with the health of the trees. They just want nice neat footpaths.

What is really interesting about this is that over the past fortnight, Council have replaced the footpath on the opposite side of Ivanhoe Street & planted 4 more Bottle Bush trees.  I had intended to post one of my complimentary posts saying how well Council had done because they not only repaired the footpath, but they also left substantial areas with soil around the new Bottle Brush trees where they will obviously plant something more. I acknowledge that this recent work is wonderful.

Footpaths can be fixed.  So can gutters.  They don’t all have to be uniform at the cost of trees.  Trees of this age & size are of far greater benefit to the community & the urban wildlife.

Council can retain these trees as well as do the proposed civil works. Like they did on the opposite side of the road, they can remove the restricting cement from around the trunks, fix the kerb & let the community continue to enjoy these trees for a few more years. Council can replace the affected part of the gutter with some cement thinner than is usual. This little bit of guttering will need replacing with new cement anyway. Just make it a bit thinner.

The DEADLINE for submissions is MONDAY 8th MARCH 2010.  You can send your submission via e-mail to : council@marrickville.nsw.gov.au or write directly into Council’s online feedback form: http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/getinvolved/yourfeedback.htm

Ivanhoe Street showing the new footpath with large nature strip for the mature trees

2 other trees are also up for removal.  They are both in Steele Park Marrickville South.  1 is a Hills Weeping Fig “before 16 Thornley Street.”  Council says, “Decay at base of trunk will lead to whole tree failure.”  As I have only just seen the notification, I haven’t visited this tree yet.

Council also says there is another tree to go in Steele Park, but the page says there is an error.  I will write about these trees when I know more.

Warren Road has 3 dead trees that have been sitting there for months. Tempe has 2 dead trees, one of which is very large & a Wattle that is dying for lack of a prune.  Victoria Rd Marrickville has a couple of dead trees & many of the Eucalypts around the LGA have dead branches that I have been watching for months.  I fear Council wants to allow these branches to become dangerous so they have a reason to remove the whole tree. Their priorities are skewed.  They leave dead trees standing, but want to chop down living trees. If Marrickville Council wants to be proud of its climate change policy, they need to chop down trees only as last resort & look after the trees we have before it becomes too late.

Another tree lost from the St Vincent's de Paul complex at Lewisham - photo taken by Brigette - thanks

1. It’s with sadness I report another tree has gone from the St Vincent de Paul complex at Lewisham.  This time one of the lovely Eucalypts has been removed from the front of The Rectory in Thomas Street.  I was told recently that they intend to remove all the Eucalypts in the complex because of dropping branches, which is a crying shame because they all have 2-3 metre plus girths so they will be doing a terrific job at sequestering CO2.

All the Eucalypts are straight growing & as far as I can tell, don’t pose a threat to nearby buildings.  Most importantly, they support local wildlife.  I witnessed a family of Kookaburras perched in one & was told many birds have made these trees their home.

I don’t understand why a dying branch can’t be pruned.  Chopping the whole tree down seems to be overkill.  Oh well, less loveliness in the area & more cement.

The locals are extremely unhappy about the removal of this tree & some cried while they watched it being chopped down.  I can relate as I could not bear to watch the Stanmore Gum be removed last month as I knew it would be too upsetting.

2. Marrickville Council’s web-site has 2 street trees up for removal.  The first in Dixon Street Dulwich Hill is an old Eucalypt.  It’s a lovely tree, but it is riddled with borers & if left, will most definitely fall down.  I’d guess it to be of the stock that was planted in the early 70s.

This Dixon Street Eucalypt in Dulwich Hill is riddled with borers

The second tree is in Belmore Street Enmore.  This tree also has significant & obvious problems.  If left, it is likely to drop at least one branch soon.  Pruning will not help it as it has deep rot high up in its branches & in parts of its trunk.

Remember this post, because I have agreed 2 trees should be removed.

2 other trees up for removal are in Ivanhoe Street Marrickville.  They both have signs on them, but there is no mention of them on Council’s web-site.  Why?  How many other street trees go this way without notification on Council’s web-site?

3. The Cumberland Courier reported that Ryde City Council has just received a government grant of $97,566 to help protect fauna.  This is great news for the significant wildlife corridors between the Lane Cove & Parramatta Rivers. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/funding-to-help-fix-up-habitat-for-our-wildlife/

4.  Another Cumberland Courier news item reported that Liverpool Council is calling for suggestions for sites where they should undertake bush regeneration.  This will be funded by their environment levy.  Liverpool Mayor Waller said they have “funded some 30 bush regeneration projects…planted 147,757 trees & restored about 12.4km of creek line.”  Not bad!  This is a significant amount of tree planting & will be of major benefit as the years pass & the trees grow. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/help-restore-liverpool-sites-to-their-natural-beauty/

5. The Cumberland Courier reported that Hornsby Council has a problem.  Local heritage Bunya trees dropped a 7kg nut through a roof of a resident’s house.  They will debate whether to pay for the seasonal removal of the Bunya nuts or chop the trees down.

I know which option I would choose.  How many Bunya trees are there in Sydney?  A day’s work (maximum) removing the nuts & the community gets to keep important & beautiful trees.  Has Hornsby Council ever thought of asking the local Aboriginal people if they would like the nuts?  I understand they taste wonderful & are prized bush tucker.   http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/bunya-debate-to-be-heard-by-full-council/

6. The Herald Scotland reported fantastic news that gained international attention & applause. The Scottish Government’s Scotland Rural Development Program has given a grant of 1 million pounds to create 600 acres of new native woodland & 193 acres of productive conifer woodland.  The area is the size of 323 international rugby pitches & will be planted out with 450,000 trees that are expected to sequester around 130,000 tonnes of CO2 over 50 years.   Interesting also is that Scotland is aiming to become zero carbon producers. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport-environment/450-000-trees-set-to-be-planted-in-woodland-scheme-1.1006809

7. The UN’s Billion Tree Campaign released its achievements saying that, by the end of 2009, participants in 170 countries had planted 7.4 billion trees (not a typo) This gives me hope for the future. http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/

8. Residents in Pittsfield Township, Ann Arbor USA came out & stopped the power company ITC Holdings Corp from chopping down several 25 year old trees which were within 10 metres of power lines.  The residents sought & were granted a restraining order against the company until a court hearing on 24 February 2010. Interesting reading & commendable commitment from residents. http://www.annarbor.com/news/pittsfield-township-homeowners-block-power-companys-attempts-to-cut-trees-today/

9. A letter was published in the Pub Beaufort Island Gazette, Hilton Head Island USA refuting the local airport’s stance that they need to chop down 1,400 trees on airport property & another 983 trees on private property supposedly for safety of planes.  However, removing these trees will seriously affect noise control & the area is a Bald Eagle habitat amongst other issues. phttp://www.islandpacket.com/opinion/letters/story/1135750.html

this street tree in Belmore St Enmore is diseased

10. If we lived in Portland Oregon, we would have the opportunity to be involved in their City-Wide Tree Project, which is deciding on regulations for trees to complement their urban forestry plan.  Portland is making the news a lot recently because they have officially recognised the benefits of street trees & have recently proven that property values increase significantly when there is a healthy street tree out front.  They calculate the benefit of a street tree at US$7,000 citing this is the cost of a new bathroom.  Try seeing what you get for that kind of money here!  House prices in Portland are also significantly cheaper than in Sydney.

Portland plans to increase their tree canopy by 50,000 street trees & 33,000 garden trees by 2015 (again, not a typo) to improve the lives of citizens & wildlife as well as help combat the effects of global warming.  This is quite different form the recent recommendation in a Marrickville Council report to councillors to remove 1,000 street trees a year for the next 5 years. The report  did propose to replace them with saplings, but how beneficial this will be is questionable as it says most do not survive.  http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2010/02/street_trees_increase_home_val.html

11. To end, Thornlie (Perth) man Richard Pennicuik is still sitting up in the street tree out front of his house after commencing his protest on 5th December 09 to stop Gosling Council from removing the street trees.  Judging by comments on internet-based reports about him, views about his protest are polarized.  Some think he is a hero.  Others are filled with hatred toward him.  Strange that people would be so abusive toward someone they don’t know & whose actions have zilch effect on them.  Me, I admire him & wish him success.

1. Marrickville Councillors will be voting on a DA soon which will see the demolition of 2 houses built in the 1920’s at 34-36 Piggott St Dulwich Hill, the conversion of the original area manor house built in the early 1880’s as well as the loss of 15 mature trees to build a 3 & 4 storeys development overlooking Hoskins Park.  The local community is rallying to prevent this development. They believe the DA has many negative impacts on the community as well as destroying a green corridor & the green outlook of Hoskins Park.  It is DA 201000022 & can be accessed via Council’s web-site.

2. The Manly Daily reported last week that Warringah Council removed a much-loved palm tree planted on the verge in Forestville without consulting the community. http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/loved-palm-tree-gets-the-chop/ Interestingly, a cross was spray-painted on the tree’s trunk a few days before it

What is the purpose of these symbols?

was chopped down.  I note similar strange rune-like markings sprayed on a couple of the Hills Figs in Carrington Road Marrickville South.  Were these put there by Council?  Are Marrickville Council intending to remove these trees?  I seem to remember 1 Fig tree was agreed to be removed for the new development which has recently commenced.

3. I wrote in the post Tempe Wetlands protest & trees at risk in Tempe that I would try to get further information about the mature trees at risk at the State Rail land in Edgar Street Tempe.  Kerry, a local resident kindly left a comment (see comment roll) saying “I believe they (the trees) are under threat by the 27 townhouse development going in on the land next to the railway line.  An underground car park & water tank retention system is to be built along the boundary line with the railway.  At no stage have these trees been mentioned by the DA or State Rail or Marrickville Council’s tree officer.”

4. Sydney is getting it’s own 5.8 hectare Central Park at the old Carlton & United Brewery site at Broadway. This is a huge boon for the community on may levels & for Sydney’s urban wildlife.    http://www.smh.com.au/national/central-park-off-broadway–thats-sydney-not-manhattan-20100209-notw.html

5. A little old as it was published last November.  Hornsby Council intends to plant tree-lined boulevards with a councilor suggesting council create ‘immediate’ boulevards by planting trees which are already 4-5 metres tall.  Wonderful if it happens & maybe cost effective considering the high loss of saplings Hornsby Council also experience. http://hornsby-advocate.whereilive.com.au/news/story/tree-lined-boulevardes-plan-for-hornsby/

new street trees - hanging baskets & planter box

6.  City of Sydney Council recently planted numerous young trees along Glebe Point Road & some side streets.  They used a porous hard substance to cover larger than average planting holes.  The new street tree planting resulted in instant & significant greening of this already green street.  Because of their size, I doubt they will be vandalized.  It looks terrific.

7. The Star Tribune reported that a woman in Eden Prairie USA took to a tree service worker with a shot-gun to stop him chopping down a tree.  We should never have this kind of action here. http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/homegarden/83607162.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU

8. The Home Owners Association in San Diego California will chop down in excess of 200 mature Eucalypts because 1 fell on a house recently. The residents are campaigning to prevent the removal of the trees saying they are prepared to live with the risk.  You can read the story & watch a video which is an interesting look at their urban environment. http://www.760kfmb.com/Global/story.asp?S=11985277

9. World Forestry day is coming up on 21 March 2010.   Many countries plant thousands of trees on this day.  I don’t know as yet whether our Council is participating. The NSW Department of Industry & Investment has a range of activities planned – http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/forests/info/escape

10. Lastly, the NSW Department of Climate Change & Water has a great resource about threatened species which may be of interest to those of you are concerned about the Bandicoots at Lewisham. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspecies/index.htm & http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/Search/QuickSearch.aspx

Last Friday, I was called to Excelsior Parade Marrickville, home of ‘The Pride of Excelsior.’ (see Shame Page) “Energy Australia are pruning the trees.”  I arrived just as they were finishing.  Whether due to recent bad publicity plaguing the energy companies or just a good crew of contractors, they had done a good job.

Energy Australia removed only what was necessary

I always give credit where when it’s due. This is one such occasion.  I have been worried about these trees knowing that Energy Australia were due.  This time there were only a few branches on the road & they had taken care not to over prune.

Interestingly, a small crowd had gathered to assess the work, indicating that others hold these trees in high esteem as well.

The trees are Brush Box, large & old, just the type that Council have recommended to be chopped down & replaced in their Tree Strategies Issues Paper (see last post).  No one knows when these trees were planted, but the housing was built in 1915.  Older residents said the trees went in around that time.  They form a canopy over the street & support a myriad of wildlife.  Everyone who comes to this street mentions the beauty of these trees.  Even the real estate agents mention them in their advertising when a house is up for sale & I am sure the house prices reflect their presence.

A Fire-Wheel tree (Stenocarpus sinuatus, Wheel of Fire, White Beefwood, White Oak for those of you who like botanical names) had to be topped for the cables.  This native species of tree can grow to 40m, but more commonly to 15m in cultivation.  Question is, why was this tree planted under electricity wires around 5 years ago? It will continue to grow & by the time Energy Australia return, the trunk will have grown taller.  Routine pruning will then turn this tree into a flat umbrella & Council will probably chop it down.  In Los Angles, Fire-Wheels are classified as heritage trees & they are described as a ‘fragile tree.’ So, well done Energy Australia.  Thank you for leaving the trees looking beautiful.  I am sure the community will be happy you did.

Integral Energy butchered these street trees in Valentine Ave Blacktown

Not so for the residents of Valentine Avenue Blacktown & Browning Crescent Lalor Park, who complained about the pruning practices of Integral Energy contractors recently.  (see my posts More butchering of street trees & Bakers dozen or it dozen matter).  Curious to see just how bad the damage was & to compare with what has happened in Marrickville LGA, we took a trip there last weekend to see the trees. What a shocker!  They were butchered & the residents were entitled to complain.

Compare the two trees

The visit was worthwhile on a number of fronts.  I now know that Blacktown Council took action to prevent savage over-pruning, whereas in cases of severe over pruning in Marrickville LGA no action seems to have been taken.  Marrickville Council also can intervene in the future, rather than sit back & allow our assets to be destroyed.

Tree-lined M4 which must assist local wildlife

I haven’t been on the M4 for a while.  After leaving the eyesore of Parramatta Road, which seriously needs the intervention of multiple councils, we reached the expressway.  This has become a green corridor as the trees planted for the Olympics have grown & now present a tall, lush, green screen.  It is quite an achievement to make a highway look nice, but they have done it.

I also discovered that Blacktown, Seven Hills & Lalor Park are as green as Eastwood.  There are tall trees everywhere, many of them Eucalypts & it is impossible to count the trees on the horizon. I think Blacktown Council has done well regarding street trees. I found other articles about the recent pruning of street trees & in other locations the Blacktown area.  From the Blacktown Sun – http://www.blacktownsun.com.au/news/local/news/general/pruning-vandalism/1729453.aspx & another from the Blacktown Advocate – http://blacktown-advocate.whereilive.com.au/your-news/story/why-is-energy-australia-mutilating-blacktowns-trees/ & from the Cumberland Courier – http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/your-news/comments/why-is-energy-australia-mutilating-blacktowns-trees/

During my research I was stunned to read that Blacktown City Council gives away 70,000 trees every year free to residents as part of the Visionary Greening Of Blacktown Program.  It’s working.  Then I came across “more than 7,000 native trees have been planted in Fairfield as part of Blacktown City Council Council’s Regenesis Project.” (Aug & Sept 09) http://www.streetcorner.com.au/news/showPost.cfm?bid=11987&mycomm=WC A look at Blacktown Council’s web-site revealed more.  Over 500 residents & businesses people helped plant 23,370 native trees, shrubs & grasses over 8 month period ending June 09. http://www.blacktown.nsw.gov.au/news-and-events/news-releases/wow-23370-trees-planted-since-october.cfm

The Sikh temple & a street in the new housing estate

Even the Sikh Centre, a massive temple, has been given an Environment Grant ($4,200) to rejuvenate the local streetscape, as this is a new housing development with building still under way.

Blacktown City Council has done a Tree Inventory & they also have a Significant Tree Register.  Our Council has  neither & at present have no intention to do so.

I’m going to stop now because I sound like I have set up the Blacktown City Council Fan Club.  http://www.bccfanclub.org.au for your free t-shirt! (NOTE: no such web-site) This research started because I wanted to know why our Council ignores what happens to our street trees & Blacktown Council doesn’t.  Now I can see why.  It’s also good to know what other Council’s are doing about street trees & over-all greening of their municipality so we know what is a reasonable expectation.

Back to the Brush Box trees on Excelsior Parade.  These trees are also at risk of being damaged by passing trucks.  Residents in the area are campaigning on a number of issues & one of their concerns is that long semi-trailers on Excelsior Parade will destroy the trees.  Considering the damage heavy vehicles have caused to trees in the nearby Carrington Road (see post –https://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/5th-january-2010-saved-by-the-land-environment-court-maimed-by-trucks/) I think their concerns are justified. To view their concerns go to the Council Gripe web-site at – http://councilgripe.com/content/marrickville-council-police-inaction-re-traffic-safety-warren-road-marrickville

Top right shows the overhead cables cut across the corner-the trees here were scooped out even though they were a fair distance from the cables

The Marrickville Council Tree Strategy Issues Paper was up for voting last night & what a doozey of a meeting it turned out to be.  It’s clear there are very strong & opposing views about public trees & the community cannot afford to be uninvolved when our turn comes to contribute.

Some good news before I report on this.  Council unanimously & with much enthusiasm voted in favour of the creation of a new community garden in Denison Street Dulwich Hill.  3 residents spoke in favour of setting up a community garden citing the many benefits it will provide to the community. Council then went on to say that any resident can apply to have a community garden set up in any council owned disused space or reserve in the municipality.  There is mention of this on council’s web-site.

Now back to the Trees Strategy Issues Paper (TSIP).  3 residents addressed the meeting.  While each speech addressed different issues, all of us were against the recommendation to remove 1,000 trees per year for the next 5 years.  Although the TSIP says Council intends to plant replacement trees, their own report states a significant percentage of new tree plantings fail.  Since 1972 Marrickville LGA has planted approximately 42,500 street trees.  Today we have 20,000 street trees.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Other points raised that I recall were:

  • Essential that the councillors themselves be knowledgeable about the value & benefits of public trees & tree management before voting to remove 59% of trees within Marrickville LGA.
  • The need for education, communication & consultation with the community about trees.
  • Climate change, the heat island effect, the benefits of trees, the value of mature trees, strategies to look after trees to retain them, history & continuity that mature trees bring, the streetscape & character of Marrickville LGA, supporting increasing the tree canopy, better choice & placement of street trees & the need to care for this significant asset.
  • The recommendation not to establish a Significant Tree Register was also very disappointing, as was the lack of a Tree Inventory.  It is essential the Council knew what its only appreciating asset was & an inventory would serve to keep a record of our history even if trees were removed.
  • The good points were acknowledged as was the work staff had done to prepare the TSIP.

With 3 minutes & a maximum of 6, all 3 of us felt pressed to cover everything needed in this time-frame.  You should try it at least once in your life.  Speaking at Council is much harder than I expected it to be.  You can read my speech here – Speech-MC-9_2_10

Clr Thanos seemed to take affront at the residents’ speeches saying that he was proud of Marrickville, proud of the tree planting that has happened, speaking at length about how we had misunderstood the TSIP.   Well, all 3 of us read it, the Greens understood the same message, as did Labor’s Clr O’Sullivan.  He also said we were using the issue of trees to pursue our own agenda.  For me this was true.  I am trying to save public trees inappropriately earmarked for removal, yet somehow he made my motivation sound like I was scum & he did this from the safety of ‘privilege.’

Clr Thanos needs to understand it is poor form to criticise residents after they have addressed Council suggesting they have no pride in their community & somehow want to take it down.

I will speak for myself, but I know the other speakers were taken aback with his comments.  I also know they care deeply about this issue & have spent a great deal of their leisure time over the years working to help improve this locality.

Melaleucas targeted by TSIP

Deciding to follow what is happening at Council, find documents on Council’s packed web-site, download documents that are often large, read & analyse them, devote time to preparing a speech, spending the evening at Council, the nerves associated with this & putting opinions out in the public arena, are not small things.  Public speaking is classified as the number 1 biggest fear people have, so I ask, why would we do all these things if we didn’t have pride in our LGA & if we weren’t trying to help bring improvements for the community?

Clr Thanos debated & debated.  Clr O’Sullivan added some valid points in an amendment.  She spoke of how she finds herself clinging to shade when she walks in her area because of the heat island effect.  She also spoke about how climate change has become a significant issue & that there have been advancements in tree care & approaches to public trees since this report was last submitted in 2007.  She cited other Councils & suggested that experts be brought in to educate about current trends.

Eucalypts targeted as well

Clr Hanna reasonably suggested that residents be consulted about what tree species to plant outside their houses & said if they had a choice in the matter they would more likely care for the tree.

The Greens spoke about their tree policy, done with consultation with some members of the community, but this was lost in the ensuing melee, which was again disappointing.  Clr Peters reminded us that it has been 17 years since Council has reviewed its Tree Policy saying this current TSIP was not productive.  Clr Olive & other members of the Greens tried many times to discuss certain points of the TSIP, but this was stopped by Clr Thanos with Clr Tsardoulias in the Chair ordering the Greens to stop for points of order.

The Greens suggested their amendment & Clr O’Sullivan’s amendment were really saying the same thing.  Eventually, this was passed.  1,000 trees get to live for another 6 months while a working party of councillors work on this TSIP.

It was unpleasant to be in the Gallery due to obstructionism from Clr Thanos & Clr Tsardoulias.  I gather this is accepted as the culture of this kind of workplace.  Just last week a Strathfield Council made the news due to a Councillor arguing with residents in the Gallery.  Eventually, this argument was continued out in the street. To read the Inner West Courier article – http://inner-west-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/strathfield-council-in-chaos/

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