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The Greenway at leichhardt. This is a natural peaceful place that was being used by quite a few people while we were there. Thsi is a major asset for both people and wildlife.

The Greenway at Leichhardt. This is a natural peaceful place that was being used by quite a few people while we were there.    The Greenway is a major asset for both people and wildlife.

Another view of The Greenway filled with Hills Fig trees and an almost continuous canopy. Very special.

Another view of The Greenway filled with Hills Fig trees and an almost continuous canopy. Very special.

The Hawthorn Canal with floating flowers form a Jacaranda tree

The Hawthorn Canal with floating flowers from a Jacaranda tree.  The Greenway is on the left of this photo.

I’ve seen signs pointing to The Greenway at the Cooks River & at Hercules Street Dulwich Hill, but the first is just a sign & the other leads to a locked gate. I’ve seen The Greenway through the fence at Hoskins Park & also beside the Waratah Mills Light Rail Station. I’ve even seen videos of people riding their pushbikes along The Greenway, yet I was unable to find it until recently & it happened quite by accident.

I wanted to check out a bushy area at Grosvenor Crescent Summer Hill where it leads under the railway bridge and becomes Lewisham at Longport Street. It turned out that there is a handy car park, which is much needed, as on street parking is not available at this curve in the road.  The park is called Cadigal Reserve.

The first thing we saw was a sign by Ashfield Council explaining The Greenway Bushcare site. Then off the bitumen path along a dirt path lined with small rocks. This section is a bush pocket maintained by the Year 7 students at Ashfield Boys High School. There was evidence of recent planting. I think it is great that school children get the chance to be active participants in greening the local area & creating habitat for wildlife.

"Yellow dot trees" - there are quite a few Fig trees marked like this. I sincerely hope this does not indicate removal.

“Yellow dot trees” – there are quite a few Hill’s Fig trees marked like this. I sincerely hope this does not indicate removal.

This path takes you down a small hill past quite a row of lovely sandstone pillars that support a large pipe that travels through tunnels under the railway line. There is another bush garden area down there.

The path takes you to the left & this is The Greenway. Yes! Only 20-years to finally make it to this place, so we started walking.

The bitumen path takes you alongside the Hawthorn Canal on the right with houses on the left. After a while you reach Parramatta Road. To cross you need to take the lift up a level & walk across the overpass to the Taverner’s Hill Light Rail Station. The lift takes you back down to the other side of Parramatta Road & from there you continue along The Greenway. This is where the walk turns really green.

Someone went to a great deal of trouble to paint this sign.

Someone went to a great deal of trouble to paint this sign. I thank them.

I counted 113 Hill’s Fig trees along this section between Parramatta Road & Marion Street Leichhardt. Of concern is that a number of these trees have been spray-painted with a yellow dot, which in my experience indicates a tree to be chopped down. I hope I am wrong, but I did read that Leichhardt Council plan some improvement works here, including widening the path, so this will probably result in tree removal. There was also a sign, “Save Our Trees,” which was a bit ominous.

Something that is unique about The Greenway is that the bulk of the walk is under a continuous canopy. This is extremely rare in the Inner West. It is a wonderful experience to walk under a continuous canopy filled with birds flitting around & birdsong.   If all the “yellow dot trees” are removed, much of this continuous canopy will be lost & that is a shame to my mind.  It’s actually a big loss. We found the path wide enough for both cyclists & pedestrians. Perhaps others do not.  It’s nice that The Greenway is natural with nothing more than a bitumen path.

Halfway along this section is a pedestrian tunnel to Lords Road Leichhardt. Instead of this tunnel being a dingy space filled with graffiti that I am used to seeing, it has been transformed into an artwork called, ‘The Hawthorne Canal Mosaic Mural.’

On one side is a series of 44 panels with images & quotes that tell of the history of the Hawthorn Canal & The Greenway. It is filled with positive messages about the environment.

On the other side is a large mosaic mural, which again is all about the environment. It runs the length of the tunnel. Those who read this blog know that I am very keen on public art having an environmental message, as I believe these have the ability to raise the consciousness of people to consider & respect the environment in a non-confrontational way.

Leichhardt Council’s website says, “The Hawthorne Canal Mosaic Mural, which commenced in 2005 and was completed in 2011 was a collaboration between community volunteers, Railcorp, Leichhardt Council, and local artists.  …… Volunteers aged from 4 to 75 worked on the project contributing over 5,000 hours of time creatively placing over 475,000 mosaic on its walls. Before it was installed this tunnel was miserable, dark and vandalised. Now it is a glowing example of community art and best practice community safety intervention.See – http://bit.ly/1TkhP6G

Unexpected and lovely green space at the exit of the tunnel at Lords Road Leichhardt.

Unexpected and lovely green space at the exit of the tunnel at Lords Road Leichhardt.

They are not exaggerating. It has lights embedded into the floor that shine light onto the mosaic lighting up fish, octopus & other sea creatures. It’s very beautiful.

On the Lords Road side is small area with a cluster of trees, providing a nice enough an area to spread a picnic blanket & relax for a while, though I doubt anyone does this. It’s just nice to see a cluster of trees & an area of green space.

From the tunnel we continued walking to Marion Street where I decided it was time to head back. We plan to return on another day with our bicycles & ride the full route to Iron Cove.

Ashfield & Leichhardt Council has done well here. There is room for more variety of plants, especially food-producing plants for wildlife.  However, to have such a long green corridor next to water, even if it is only a canal, is a great asset.

Volunteers are working on re-vegetating The Greenway, so it will only improve on beauty & habitat for wildlife as the years pass.  See the Blogroll on the left of this blog if you are interested in becoming a volunteer.

I will certainly use this as a local place for get amongst nature for a ride or a walk. The path was fairly busy with cyclists & pedestrians while we were there. This was good to see, as people mean safety & I did feel safe.

Bring on connecting the rest of The Greenway & have it open for the community to use. It will be fantastic when we can ride of or walk from the Cooks River to Iron Cove. I hope it is sooner rather than later.

You can learn more about The Greenway here – http://www.greenway.org.au/

Cadigal Reserve Bushcare site cared for by Year 7 of Ashfield Boys High School.

Cadigal Reserve Bushcare site cared for by Year 7 of Ashfield Boys High School.

Tunnel that caontains the Hawthorne Canal Mosaic Mural,

Tunnel that caontains the Hawthorne Canal Mosaic Mural,

A small part of this fantastic mosaic of the Hawthorne Canal Mosaic Mural,

A small part of this fantastic mosaic of the Hawthorne Canal Mosaic Mural,

 

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I received the following email from the Friends of the Greenway –

“We have been hearing credible rumours … that the Greenway is going to be cut from the State budget in September & will not be built.  Only the light rail will be built.

The Minister has not responded to our recent letter nor our phone calls to her office.   The Greenway is in trouble and its needs your help to save it.  If you want to see the Greenway built please send the attached letters with your name & address to the Premier & the Minister for Transport. It is imperative that we act now before the final budget is handed down in early September – it is much harder to change a decision once it has been announced.  Please don’t delay we need a campaign to start now.  Also send a copy of your letter to your local member. 

If you, your kids, your friends want to enjoy this Greenway before another 10 years passes we must tell the Government now what we want.  If everyone can please pass this email onto 5 friends we can build up momentum very fast! ~ Friends of the Greenway Committee”

http://www.friendsofthegreenway.org.au

They attached 2 draft letters, one to Premier O’Farrell & Ms Berejiklian Minister of Transport, plus their email addresses –

Berejiklian – budget 2011 Greenway letter

 

Premier – budget 2011 Greenway letter

This is serious stuff. The Greenway has been loved & nurtured by many community volunteers & Ashfield, Canterbury, Leichhardt & Marrickville Councils have poured money & time into its creation & maintenance for over a decade.

It is vital habitat for the critically endangered Long-nosed Bandicoot & a much needed green corridor for urban wildlife.  To not have the Greenway is unthinkable & the impact will be nasty for wildlife.

People also benefit from the Greenway in that it offers a safe track along regional routes for walking, jogging & cycling.  23 schools in the catchment area expect that the corridor will be available for children to walk safely to & from school without the need to cross busy roads.

Please send a couple of emails & share this information with others.  Perhaps any thought of dismissing the Greenway will go once the government realizes the community support behind it.

A section of the Greenway at Dulwich Hill

I just watched a lovely 4.42 minutes YouTube video called ‘The GreenWay – an urban green corridor in Sydney’s Inner West.’  It’s well worth watching.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFLSzpBe2-g

 

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

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