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Dying Evergreen oak tree in Hoskins Park Dulwich Hill. Unfortunately it stands above the playground.

Dying Evergreen oak tree in Hoskins Park Dulwich Hill. Unfortunately it stands above the playground.

Showing some of the branches where you can clearly see this tree struggling to recover.

Showing some of the branches where you can clearly see this tree struggling to recover.

The lovely big trunk.

The lovely big trunk.

Marrickville Council gave notice of their intention to remove an Evergreen oak (Quercus ilex) in Hoskins Park.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has significant level of canopy dieback & deadwood & is in an advance state of decline.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”

This is a devastating loss in my opinion.  The tree is one of the very special trees in Hoskins Park & likely would have been planted when the park was formed in 1938.  It has a beautiful shape & once had a large canopy.

Council says this tree will be “replaced with trees and understory from the Sydney turpentine-ironbark forest community as part of a combined Green Way planting initiative by 30 June.”  Unfortunately there was not a ‘Notification of Removal’ sign on the tree.

Council does not say how many replacement trees they will be planting.  They keep missing out on opportunities to declare the good work they are doing, which I do not understand.

The replacement turpentine-ironbark forest community & understorey is a good choice. This is an ‘endangered ecological community’ in the area & will support the great work re-vegetation done by the Friends of the Greenway.  Just standing beside the greenway one can hear the number & variety of birds that live in this small corridor.  It sounds great, as it should sound when there is habitat, food & water available.  More trees & understorey will only widen the area of habitat & improve  the lovely amenity of Hoskins Park.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 6th May 2016.

Last Friday I was notified by a resident that Marrickville Council had chopped down a number of street trees on Victoria Road Dulwich Hill nearest street for location reference is Nelson Street.

Sadly the trees on Victoria Street Dully are being removed without warning or consult!!   Healthy & young trees. Gone!  A lady I know that lives there, stopped them from removing the one at the front of her house by then they had removed about three or more. She was so upset!!!  She had called council & the guy wasn’t very helpful – tree team leader or something? So awful!! Apparently according to the resident, they were following a report from 2012. But that was the old trees. They were removed & replaced.
On Friday they removed the young trees that were planted as replacement!!!”

So I went to have a look today & found four stumps.  I am presuming these trees were 5-metres or less in height.  Marrickville Council chooses not to inform the community when they remove trees 5-metres or under, which I think is something that often causes anxiety, anger & distrust toward Council, as the above communication clearly shows.  Also, it gives Council carte blanch for tree removal, as the Marrickville Street Tree Inventory Report found that the average height for our street trees across the whole of Marrickville municipality is just 5.2-metres.  What’s 0.2-metres when choosing whether to inform the community or not?

What is left after the tree removal is a long stretch of nothing, but grass & the concrete footpath.  At least two families are upset about the removal of the trees here.  I hope Council plans to replace the trees this tree planning season.

What is left after 4 street trees were removed by Marrickville Council last week.

Victoria Street Dulwich Hill after 4 street trees were removed by Marrickville Council last week.  I suspect the Callistemon in the distance was the one saved by the resident.

The playground at Hoskins Park is lovely & naturally shaded by the surrounding big trees.

The playground at Hoskins Park is lovely & naturally shaded by the surrounding big trees.

After a long & solid campaign by the community, Marrickville Council is proposing to classify Hoskins Park as a Heritage Item & classify Hoskins Park & surrounds as a Heritage Conservation Area.

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 18th December 2014.   See –

You can watch a short video of beautiful Hoskins park here –

This was the Council Meeting. Absent: Clr Byrne. The following is how I understood the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

Heritage Study Review & Scoping Report – 2 residents spoke. First resident: speaking on behalf of Hoskins Park (HP) residents. Thanked Council for their support & redesign of HP making it very usable for the community.  Said 3 generations of families use HP. There is nearly always a birthday party held in the park on the weekend. Appropriate heritage will protect the canopy of mature trees & the park for future generations.  There was overwhelming opposition to the previous DAs overlooking HP. Asked for HP to be a heritage item of local significance & a heritage study of Piggot Street as it’s a potential heritage area & should be a HP Precinct.  Second resident: Supported recommendation 1. Wanted extensive community consultation, especially with the indigenous members of Marrickville LGA. Said heritage matters in Tempe were being ignored. The War Memorial at Tempe Bus Depot is not listed. 139 Unwins Bridge Road has no heritage listing, nor has 2 stone houses in Quarry Street. Need a full study of the history of the area, including indigenous history. This creates community pride, belonging & connection.  The historic buildings need to be retained. Particularly concerned about our industrial history.  People like heritage & want the old houses to remain.  Heritage equals profit. You could incorporate the community consultation into the library process.

Clr O’Sullivan:  Motion to go with Option 2 understanding that each of the 3 options has a cost estimate that is a stab in the dark. Marrickville Heritage Society made a comment for the LEP saying that the south was the most neglected in terms of heritage research. The area is quite rich in Aboriginal history & there are notable industrial sites & buildings.  Concerned that we look at Option 1 & it goes on for 3-4 years before we get going on it. Development is proceeding at a pace. That’s a positive phenomenon, but also extremely dangerous for much of our heritage. Otherwise we will have a beautiful report with much of our heritage gone. We need a supplementary report before the end of the year that gives good costing that will survive the budget process.

Clr Thanos: Against Clr O’Sullivan’s motion. The only way to have a heritage report is to cover the whole area. Very large areas have not been looked at since 1998 & 2001.  We said once the LEP was finalized that heritage would be next.  Clr Olive: Against Clr O’Sullivan’s motion.  Put up a foreshadowed motion for a comprehensive review of the whole LGA, excluding existing heritage areas & prioritizing Hoskins Park & surrounds.  We have the uncomfortable situation of heritage tied to areas rather than age of the building.  Clr Iskandar: Strongly support Option 2 (Clr Clr O’Sullivan’s motion) because of the costs, the whys & the timing of it. If you want people to be involved in their heritage you should go to the community.  Clr Macri: Support Clr O’Sullivan’s motion. The LEP process did a significant heritage report & strengthened our heritage areas & tightened up our controls.    Clr Kontellis:  We lessened heritage because of the LEP. I disagree with Clr Macri. Heritage is worth investigating. Against Clr O’Sullivan’s motion because it is piecemeal & will limit heritage to one area. Clr Olive’s foreshadowed motion creates opportunities for the whole of area for heritage. Clr Phillips: Supports Clr Olive’s foreshadowed motion. There are a lot of areas that need to be looked at, especially South Ward. Voting against Clr O’Sullivan’s motion because we should be doing more.  Mayor Hanna:  Voting for Clr O’Sullivan’s motion because I don’t know where we will get the $200,000. We don’t have the money.  Clr Clr O’Sullivan:  My motion adds preliminary work south of the railway line.  It could be delivered mid 2013.   This is urgent. We have a new government bent on improving infrastructure & Tempe East is right in the path. Development pressure is for the south part of the LGA.  Vote for Clr O’Sullivan’s motion – Clrs O’Sullivan, Iskandar, Tsardoulias, Wright, Thanos, Macri & Hanna.Against – Clrs Olive, Peters, Phillips & Kontellis.  Passed.

Supplementary Report: Application for Special Rate Variation for New Marrickville Library – 1 resident spoke. Community consultation is a pressing need. Ratepayers should be consulted if they want a new library & if they are prepared to pay. Council must explain the current function of the library & what will happen in the new library.  Not everyone uses the library. I want a mailout to all residents explaining the rate rise for all house types, the increase of the CPI, to state whether other libraries will close if this one is built & to state the full use of the library.

Clr Macri: Move amendment to Point 1 that, Council resolves not to move for a Special Rate Variation  (SRV) to assist in building the new library.  I support continued community consultation re design & function & want it extended until February 2012 & a further report of the SRV in June 2012.  Community feedback will help guide us. If the community wants a new library, by June 2012 we will know whether to proceed.  Council rates have gone up 40% over last 10 years. Consultation with people in the salon, only 1 was prepared to pay. One looked at the drawings & said it is not a library; it has a lot of functions. It is also a heavy burden on commercial ratepayers.

How a Melaleuca should look. This one is on the Canterbury Council side of the Cooks River

Clr Kontellis: I reluctantly deferred 2 weeks ago. It doesn’t matter what the paint colour is, what the fountain looks like, the community is demanding a  library. Today’s libraries are learning centres. We know it will cost $28 million to build it, we know we will have to raise money. There is no other way than to share the cost with the residents. What it looks like is up to the community. Against the motion.  Clr Thanos: Point 1 referring to Council not to lodge a SRV should not be there. Staff: Correct. Clr Thanos: Council never resolved for a SRV.  (After some debate it was deleted.) Clr Thanos: It’s a rush to apply for a SRV this year. The hospital site cannot yield that much money to enable Council to build a facility to last the next 50-years. Council does not have the assets to sell to fund this project. $40/week for a commercial property.  Clr Phillips:  I think this has to do with the election next year with some Councilors not wanting to say they support a SRV.  We need to have political courage & be open & transparent. I hope this doesn’t become a political football.  Clr Olive: Do we have legal obligations because of tendering for concept designs?  Staff: No particular concerns at the moment.  Clr Wright: My understanding is that we have a strong case for a SRV, including that the community actually wants it. Community consultation needs to be extensive & rigorous.  It’s not really a library; it’s a community centre.  Clr O’Sullivan:  I support the motion. I believe the consultation strategy is of critical importance. Clr Peters:  We will have 14-months now because we will wait until December 2012. The plan we go with will be decided by the Councillors. We have to be careful about seeking design consultation.  Clr Tsardoulias:  Moved to establish a Major Project Committee to come up with 3 designs & take to the community.

Mayor Hanna: First time that we are going to show the community without knowing the cost.  How can I show this to someone without knowing the cost? Tell them from now on the cost of the library & how much the SRV levy will be. You are giving only 2 months – that’s mean. (I missed some words here). Clr Phillips: You are verballing the other Councillors unfairly & putting forward hypotheticals.  Mayor Hanna: If everyone wants to be fair, how much is the library going to cost? Clr Olive: $27 million.  Clr Phillips: You are saying all the Councillors are not being honest. Say that or retract. Mayor Hanna: You need to be honest & tell the community.  Clr Phillips: You are casting aspersions on the Councillors.  Mayor Hanna:  You have to tell them how much.  Clr Thanos: On one hand you are saying you don’t know how much it will cost, then saying $6.7 million extra.  We can bring down to $15 million if we remove some items, get rid of basement car park, extra level & others.  Any resident can get this  information from the Council.  It will cost $27.100,000.  Mayor Hanna: Can you put in a DA without parking? Clr Thanos: Car park $3.7 million, but will be recouped once we sell. No one has lied to the community. I urge you to be careful when accusing Councillors of lying to the public.  Clr Phillips: You cast aspersions on the Councillors. I ask you to withdraw. Mayor Hanna: No. Clr Phillips: I move to censor the Chair. Mayor Hanna: You are out of order. Clr Phillips: You make aspersions on the Councillors & should withdraw. You make a lot of popular comments. Clr Hanna: Put it in the election. (A vote was held – after some abstaining, all Councillors voted for Mayor Hanna to withdraw his comments.) Mayor Hanna: I withdraw it.

Clr Tsardoulias: I support a library, but strongly support community consultation, every household, kids & schools.   Clr Macri: This is not about delaying. I haven’t had a chance to fully digest the plans.  One [plan] had a Council Chamber in it.  We haven’t got a proper costing. We got a SRV for the pool & got burnt.  I want to make sure I fully explore all the options before I go to the people.  Levy of pool was because sale of property would fund the library. I’m happy to go to a plebiscite. I care about residents who can’t afford the levy. I will not make an uninformed decision & don’t expect our Councillors to do so either. Vote – Clrs Macri, Hanna, Tsardoulias, Wright Iskandar, Clr O’Sullivan, Olive, Peters, Phillips & Thanos. Against: Clr Kontellis.   End of Part 1

A Grevillea street tree in Marrickville

End of Part 1.

In February 2010 I posted about community action to save Hoskins Park in Dulwich Hill from a 3-storey development of 11 town houses next door that would remove 15 trees & which would ‘loom over’ Hoskins Park. Two development applications were submitted & both were refused.  Council cited non-compliance with local planning controls & the huge community opposition to the development as reasons for refusal.  The Marrickville Heritage Society also put in a submission against the development, particularly the intent to demolish two 1920s houses.

It was regarded as an overdevelopment back then & now another DA has been submitted, this time almost twice the size at 20 units. Currently the site is zoned 2A – low residential density, prohibiting multi-level & mulit-unit residential development in the Hoskins Park area. Half of the 20 units will be affordable housing (20% off market rent for 10 years). Perhaps they are hoping that the affordable housing component will ensure that the zoning requirements are ignored & the DA gets approved?

In the latest DA they want to do the following –

  • Demolish parts of the historic Brooks Lodge. This building is being considered for heritage listing.
  • Demolish 34 & 36 Piggot Street, two Federation houses that appear to be in excellent condition.  36 Piggott Street in particular has its original features, tessellated tiles, chimney & stained glass windows.
  • 3-storey units will overlook Hoskins Park. As the land is on the hill directly above Hoskins Park, which slopes down towards the Greenway, the units will indeed ‘loom over’ the park.
  • They also want to remove a mature Melaleuca street tree on Denison Road & an Evergreen Ash (Fraxinus griffithii) street tree on Piggot street. New trees will be planted here when the development is completed.
  • They want to remove 4 trees from the front formal garden of Brooks Lodge & replace with a formal garden of their own design.  3 of the trees are of significant size & at least one is visible on the skyline from Hoskins Park & surrounding streets.  A Frangipani will be relocated somewhere else.
  • 4 small to small-sized trees inside the property will be removed.
  • 1 mature Canary Island Palm will be removed. At the very least this tree should be transplanted somewhere into the streetscape of Marrickville LGA or a few metres across the fence & replanted in Hoskins Park. These trees cost thousands of dollars to source & are great sources of food & habitat for many species of birds as well as flying-foxes. They also handle transplanting well.
  • All up this DA seeks to remove 11 trees.

Healthy Canary Island Palm - instead of chopping it down, why not relocate it across this fence into Hoskins Park or at the Cooks River or into a traffic island or somewhere else in Marrickville LGA?

I personally think there is much to be concerned about with this DA apart from the unnecessary loss of trees.  To remove 4 healthy mature trees in a formal garden of an historic house to create another formal design is totally unnecessary in my opinion.  The loss of these trees will have a major impact on the skyline & the leafy feel of this area.  It will be also removing food sources & habitat for urban wildlife. Throwing away the Canary Island Palm is dreadful.

Local community group ‘Save Hoskins Park’ believes that the development, should it be approved, will have a significant detrimental impact on both Hoskins Park & the character & amenity of surrounding streets. They need others in Marrickville LGA to help them preserve the amenity, privacy, unique character & view corridors of Hoskins Park by sending Marrickville Council a submission opposing this development.  You can contact ‘Save Hoskins Park’ if you would like a draft submission to make it easier at –

The DA (DA201100201) can be viewed here –

The deadline for submissions is 12 noon 19th May 2011.  Submissions can be emailed to –

I made a short video of the trees that will be lost & the houses that will be demolished if this DA is approved –

& a short video of Hoskins Park –

Showing the front garden of Brooks Lodge - every bit of green including the street tree is going to be chopped down or removed to create a new formal garden. It is already a beautiful formal garden.



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