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Sunset on the Cooks River....sunset on Marrickville Council despite massive community opposition.

Sunset on the Cooks River….sunset on Marrickville Council despite massive community opposition.

Well it is official.  Today the NSW Premier Mike Baird sacked all local councils that are to be merged, renamed them & “administrators brought in to run them until elections in September 2017” though merging councils will have elections next March. See –  http://bit.ly/23IivHa

Marrickville, Ashfield and Leichhardt councils will be renamed Inner West Council. Auburn and Holroyd will be renamed Cumberland Council. Hurstville and Kogarah will be renamed Georges River Council and Manly, Pittwater and Warringah will be called Northern Beaches Council….”

More later when I know more.

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Wattle is in flower at the Marrickville Bush Pocket on Victoria Road.

Wattle is in flower at the bush pocket on Victoria Road.

At last night’s Council Meeting Clr Mark Gardiner & Clr Sylvie Ellsmore put themselves up for the position of Mayor. Clr Gardiner was voted in as Mayor. The votes were as follows –

For: Clrs Haylen (Lab), Woods (Lab), Iskandar (Lab), Macri (Ind), Gardiner (Ind), Hanna (Ind) & Tyler (Lib). Against: Clrs Ellsmore (Greens)- Phillips (Greens), Leary (Greens), Brooks (Greens) & Ellsmore (Greens).

Clr Gardiner was elected as a Liberal candidate, along with Clr Tyler.   Clr Gardiner is now an Independent Councillor.

Clr Morris Hanna & Clr Sylvie Ellsmore put themselves up for the position of Deputy Mayor. The vote was the same as the position of Mayor with Clr Hanna being voted Deputy Mayor.

For the positions of the Committee Chair & Deputy Chair the voting was the same as above.

Congratulations to Mayor Gardiner & Deputy Mayor Hanna.

The following is a guest post by Hasmukh Chand, a local resident interested in environmental protection & conservation through science & policy research.

This post is part of his candidacy to be selected to attend the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru in December 2014.  See – http://unfccc.int/2860.php

I wish Hasmukh success. J

______________________________

 

Marrickville: leading the way in climate action

 

I have been living in Marrickville for over five years now and I have been noticing that Marrickville Council and the people of Marrickville are becoming increasingly progressive towards climate change and environmental issues. At first I thought that it was odd that all this good work that was going unnoticed. A close friend of mine who has lived in the area has made similar observations on a number of occasions. Perhaps, this is because the political and mainstream media cycles these days are dominated by conservative news when it comes to Australia’s position on climate change and the environment.

Harnessing the sun’s power has been long recognised as an important mechanism for reducing our current reliance on conventional fossil fuels which contribute to climate change. According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Australia receives about ‘58 petajoules worth of sunlight each year, approximately 10,000 times Australia’s annual energy consumption’.

This was taken on Thursday afternoon (28.8.14). The sun provides energy that drives life on earth and it's free.

This was taken on Thursday afternoon (28.8.14). The sun provides energy that drives life on earth and it’s free.

Marrickville Council has recognised the importance of the sun. For example, part of Marrickville Council’s Community Strategic Plan includes ‘the uptake of energy efficiency and low carbon, renewable energy in homes, businesses, street, public spaces and Council facilities and operations’ forms a core part of the Council’s Community Strategic Plan. The Council Administration building in Petersham, for example, is sporting eighty new solar panels, which will collectively save nearly thirty tonnes of emissions per annum. Solar panels have also been installed on the Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre, the Council Depot, Tillman and Deborah Learning Centres and the Chrissie Cotter Gallery.

In an effort to further reduce the impact on climate change, Marrickville Council is also actively encouraging its constituents to embrace the power of the sun. To achieve this goal, information such as Your Home: Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes as well as other fact sheets are available through the Council’s website. I think that the leadership shown by the Council has been one of the driving forces behind the uptake of solar power by residents in Marrickville Local Government Area.

In fact, the people of Marrickville should also be congratulated for embracing the Council’s vision and helping do its part in addressing greenhouse gas emissions. Anyone commuting by train (particularly between Marrickville and Sydenham train station) would have noticed an increase in the number of households with solar panels on their roofs.

photo-by-Hasmukh-Chand-2

Solar panels on roofs near my place. Good on these households.

Solar panels on roofs near my place. Good on these households.

The benefits of solar and other renewable energy systems go far beyond that of addressing climate change. Earlier this year, a research by Pew Charitable Trust and the Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that in 2013, $4.4 billion was invested in renewables in Australia alone. Nearly half of this came from household investment into solar technologies. In other words, investing in renewables means more jobs and innovation.

A second and perhaps over looked benefit has been highlighted by Marrickville Council’s Green Equity Paper (2009). The Council found that solar panels and other solar technologies not only reduced emissions, but also reduced the cost of electricity. This is particularly important for those from low income households. This is why I feel greatly heartened by the fact that Marrickville Council has added its voice to many other stakeholders such as climate change activists, conservationists, political parties and the renewable industry, asking the Federal Government not to alter the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Under the RET, the Government set goals to generate 20% of national electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydro, by 2020. To meet this goal, the RET provided financial support to households and businesses through the sale of renewable energy certificates for those installing solar panels, solar water heaters and heat pumps. Unfortunately though, as I write this the Federal Government’s RET review panel has released their report. The panel is recommending that the Renewable Energy Target either be ‘scaled back or scrapped entirely’. If the Government adopts this, it would be a significant obstacle for renewable technologies uptake and emissions reductions.

Regardless of the outcome, while the higher levels of government drag their feet on acting on climate, I congratulate Marrickville Council and the people of Marrickville Local Government Area for doing their bit (whether small or big) towards making a positive difference. I personally find these acts encouraging, as the news on all things climate change and environment related continues to be bleak and depressing. I look forward to seeing more solar panels and other great initiatives taking root all over Marrickville.

By Hasmukh Chand

 

Marrickville Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias.

Marrickville Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias.  Photo from Marrickville Council & used with thanks.

Sad news. Last weekend Marrickville Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias died after a long battle with cancer.  He was 38-years-old & is survived by his wife & two children.

Clr Tsardoulias was willing to devote his time to work for the community on many levels & this is something to be applauded.

He was elected as the Labor Councillor for West Ward (Burraga) & held that position since September 2008. This was his third term as a Councillor.

A Condolence Book will be available for anyone to sign at the Council meeting tomorrow night.  His death is a great loss to the whole community of Marrickville.

You can read Council’s Press Release here – http://bit.ly/1vZY7pw

A common streetscape in Marrickville

A common streetscape in Marrickville

Marrickville Council released their Street Tree Master Plan to public consultation last Friday.

At sixteen documents this is a lot to read & I am working through it. I have already received feedback that expressed disappointment about the lack of Eucalypts. I have not arrived here in my reading yet.

What I have read so far is very good with some significant changes from the past.   Hopefully, we will go into a greener future with a better urban forest.

The community consultation document was extremely interesting. For me the most incredible information was that two percent of residents did not want street trees in Marrickville municipality.  I am glad that hasn’t got a chance of becoming a reality.

Council has not given the community long to comment.   Submissions are due by Friday 20th June 2014.   With such an important document that decides just how our municipality will look for the foreseeable future, I believe the community consultation should be a minimum of 2-months.

You can download the documents here –

http://yoursaymarrickville.com.au/street-tree-master-plan-draft-on-public-exhibition/documents

You can leave comments online here – http://yoursaymarrickville.com.au/home1

Or send a written submission to Marrickville Council at – council@marrickville.nsw.gov.au

More later – after I have had a chance to read through the mountain of documents.

Magpie

Magpie

This is a ‘guest post’ is by Nick about Greens Clr Max Phillips winning his appeal against his suspension, which would have prevented him serving the community as a Councillor for a period of two-months.  You can read my first post on this issue here – http://bit.ly/1fv0CFg

Imagine that you put your garbage out on Tuesday night. Marrickville Council makes a resolution that you must apologise, alleging that the correct night is Thursday. They say you breached the legislation & the code of conduct that governs garbage collection.

You say you will not apologise because you did not know from any Council papers or anything Council officers said that Tuesday was the wrong night.  You say you will not apologise because it would be insincere to apologise for what believe you did correctly.

Marrickville Council’s General Manager refers you to the Office of Local Government who gives you a $500 fine for refusing to apologise. You appeal to the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal & the Office of Local Government comes in & says you cannot really dispute the merits of Council’s finding that you breached the garbage legislation & code.  They say the only issue is your refusal to apologise & you clearly admitted that.  That is, they say the Tribunal hearing is not about the merits of the allegation that you breached the garbage legislation & the code.

They say challenging Marrickville Council’s finding can only be done in the Supreme Court in “judicial review proceedings.” But such proceedings are expensive & take a long time to resolve. More importantly, they are not appeals where you can challenge the merits of a primary decision.  Only serious errors of law or jurisdiction can quash the primary decision.

Nice work you think: the Office of Local Government is trying to close the door in my effort to challenge the merits of Marrickville Council’s decision; they are just trying to cover up the fact that they did not prove that it was wrong to put out the garbage on Tuesday.

This is what seems to have happened in Clr Phillips’ suspension case for publicly discussing the fact that Meriton offered Council $5 million in order to be allowed to build the Lewisham Towers development at heights over & above limits in the planning instruments. The offer was not illegal, but many community groups opposed the overdevelopment & Clr Phillips discussed the offer publicly. Marrickville Council accused him of breaching confidentiality.

There was a meeting where Council staff orally briefed Councillors of the offer.  Clr Phillips was not present.  Another Councillor told him the sum of the Meriton offer. Clr Phillips did not understand that the offer was confidential. He spoke to community groups & the media about it. Another Councillor also discussed the sum with ratepayers. Then there was a business paper prepared by Council staff that went to a Councillors’ meeting. The paper was in a red envelope suggesting confidentiality. Clr Phillips did not publicize much of what was in the paper. But he had publicized the sum offered.

The then Mayor Clr Macri & Labor & Liberal Councillors made a complaint.

The disciplinary investigator made some findings about Clr Phillips’ conduct. Significantly, the report said that Marrickville Council should “take steps to adopt polices & procedures for conveying & dealing with information that is intended to be confidential so that there is no potential for confusion …,” &, “… the invitation to the Briefing contained no reference to the matter being confidential & that the discussion would be about a confidential offer,” &, “On consideration of all the material it was concluded that the information provided to the Briefing was not confidential.” Also, that the material given in the Briefing “… could not be retrospectively made confidential.”

Despite such findings of fact in favour of Clr Phillips’ judgment a vote was taken requiring him to apologise. After he declined, Marrickville Council referred him to the Office of Local Government.  After some investigation the Office of Local Government imposed a two-month suspension from civic office.

At his appeal in the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal the Office of Local Government argued the only issue was his refusal to apologise, not the actual merits of whether or not he breached confidentiality.

On 6th May 2014 the Tribunal decided in Clr Phillips’ favour. The judgment notes some six times that the Office of Local Government did not bring relevant evidence to support a number assertions against Clr Phillips.

It is not forgiving towards the Director-General of the Office of Local Government. It said: “The Director-General may not presume misconduct for disclosing confidential information & deal only with the consequential allegation of misconduct of not complying with the resolution concerning the apology…”

The judgment includes the following significant findings:

“The Reviewer ultimately accepted that the information provided to the councilors briefing meeting was not confidential & had been disclosed to a community group by another councillor.”

“It was also concluded that that the information could not be retrospectively made confidential. These were among the findings accepted by resolution of the Council. None of these matters can therefore form the basis of an unauthorized disclosure of confidential information by Clr Phillips.”

“In short, apart from placing the agenda item in a red cover, no action had been completed to render the item confidential.”

The judgment then says, that even if Clr Phillips breached confidentiality, the punishment was too severe. A reprimand would be a fitting sanction.

It seems that the decisions against Clr Phillips were so manifestly unreasonable that no reasonable person would make them, as judges tend to call decisions where there is no policy to guide the obligations of a person & no actual facts against him. It seems that, even in the strict environment of judicial review, Clr Phillips would win hands down.  The Tribunal’s full judgment can be found here – http://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/action/PJUDG?jgmtid=171212

singing

singing Magpie

There is no amenity left in this street tree in Warren Road.

There is no amenity left in this street tree in Warren Road & this is what is being done to the street trees all through our streets.

In a media release dated 21st February 2014, Marrickville Mayor Haylen said “Councillors were unanimous in expressing outrage about the excessive tree pruning practices used by Ausgrid.”

“We have asked Ausgrid for immediate clarification of their powers to prune trees.  While we accept that some pruning is necessary to protect electrical wires, it does appear that some of the overpruning is occurring because contractors are also pruning to lower hanging data & communications cables, rather than just the higher electrical wires.  This has resulted in some horribly butchered street trees & residents are highly distressed.”

Council has called on Ausgrid to provide resources for the bundling of overhead wires, especially when the pruning of street & park trees would be excessive.”

At the Council Meeting of 18th February 2014, Councillors passed the following motion (this started from a Notice of Motion brought to Council by Clr Phillips. See – http://bit.ly/1jeuRBj) –

THAT:

1.    Council expresses its grave concerns about the recent changes to street tree pruning practices being implemented by Ausgrid & considers the methods excessive & unreasonable.

2.    Ausgrid provide immediate clarification to Council of the authority vested in it by NSW Electricity Supply Act 1995 to prune for clearance data & communications cables as opposed to its own electrical wires.

3.    Ausgrid provide resources for the aerial bundling of overhead wires in locations where the impact of tree pruning on street & park trees is excessive & unacceptable.

4.    Council review its standard conditions of development for larger developments to aspire to provide for the undergrounding of overhead wires & data cables at no cost to Council.

5.    Council’s proposed Street Tree Master Plan identify the need for the selection of street tree species to take account of the site conditions, including the presence of overhead wires.

6.    Council consider, as part of future budgets, the need for ongoing allocation of new funds to provide for the regular pruning of street trees by Council’s own contractors.

7.    Council write to the NSW Minister of Resource & Energy, Anthony Roberts, MP, expressing its concerns about recent changes to Electricity Network Standards, adopted by Ausgrid, that require tree clearances of up to 3.0 metres to overhead wires.  Further that Council requests that urgent consideration be given to the amendment of these standards to provide for more reasonable clearances, no more than previously in force.

8.    Prunings be removed from streets on the same day they are cut.”

Halleluiah!   Finally, something will be done & hopefully before Ausgrid remove the remaining tree canopy throughout Marrickville municipality. 

As to whether they have legal rights to prune 1-metre minimum under the telecommunications cables, this is what someone who has 25-years of working in the telecommunications industry told me –

“The power cables are all attached to cross arms, the lowest ones are for normal residential use, those above are for high voltage, the bigger the insulators the higher the voltage.

Telstra have been using power poles for many years to deliver telephone services.  In Sydney you will find that they still have over 40% of their network attached to poles.  It is not all underground, as many people believe.

Optus cables are hung approx 1-metre below the low voltage power cables.  This was done as they found it to expensive to use Telstra’s network and it was not feasible to run it underground.

Foxtel cable is then hung approximately x 1-metre below the Optus Cables.  This was done as a fast and efficient method to roll out Pay TV and be competitive with Optus.

Foxtel/Telstra cables are very low voltage; the same as the Optus cables.  There is no real reason to vandalise the trees, but the contractors are cowboys and use the excuse that they could cause a problem.  The only problem that could happen is that people lose their phone or Pay TV connection if a tree branch damaged the cable.

The power companies are covered by an act of parliament that allows them to prune if required because of the problems caused if their cables are damaged.

We should also be aware that the NBN mob are putting pressure on the Government to allow them to also go up on the poles, even though the power companies are opposed to it. The Pay TV and telephone cables are causing huge problems for the power companies because it takes the telco’s too long to fix or move their cables when there is a problem.

I understand that at this time the Pay TV and telcos cannot put any more cables on the power poles.  They can only replace like for like if a cable is damaged.

The other thing that causes issues is that no one really knows who actually owns all the poles.  There are the power companies’, Telstra, State Rail and privately owned poles.  Very confusing.


But at the end of the day there is no real reason why they need to hack the trees back so severely when they are close to the Optus or Foxtel cables.”

One last thing I would like to know is why Ausgrid need to do 18-month pruning cycles, when Energy Australia managed quite well with 7-8 year cycles.  Four to five extra pruning visits seems a lot for the public to have to pay for, while at the same time losing amenity.

Thank you to Marrickville Council for taking a stand on this issue.  The trees, the wildlife & the community deserve much more than having their street trees butchered in the manner in which they have been.

I recently wrote about Ausgrid’s tree pruning in Marrickville here – http://bit.ly/1bc7QJO , here http://bit.ly/1alsNri, here http://bit.ly/KR2E7Z and here http://bit.ly/1gJ1hSL

Two branches left

Two branches left

Pelicans at Marrickville.  How beautiful is this!

Pelicans at dusk in Marrickville. How beautiful is this!

Marrickville Council have put out a YouTube video called – ‘Water is Life.’  It is an excellent video with a tremendously positive message that speaks strongly to me about my own hopes for the area in which I live & love. 

One man said Marrickville “is a beautiful place with oasis’s within it.”

Well done to Marrickville Council & to everyone involved.  I feel uplifted & hopeful after watching this.

“Three quarters of the water that falls on Marrickville carries rubbish & pollution to our waterways, our Sydney Harbour & our Cooks River.”

To watch, click – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zurFDD8K2hk&feature=youtu.be

The Cooks River is a jewel in the LGA.

The Cooks River is a jewel in Marrickville municipality.

Fatima Island at high tide - August 2013.

Fatima Island at high tide – August 2013.  Three Cormorants & one Egret are visible.

Fatima Island in 1984.  You can see that the island has been neglected as there is only a fraction remaining.  Photo by Chrys Meader, supplied by Marrickville Heritage Society& Cooks River Vallay Association with thanks.

Fatima Island in 1984. You can see that the island has been neglected as there is only a fraction remaining & the heritage retaining wall almost gone.  Photo by Chrys Meader, supplied by Marrickville Heritage Society & Cooks River Vallay Association with thanks.

Fatima Island is an extremely urgent issue currently facing Marrickville Council.

Fatima Island is the last remaining island in the Cooks River of a few that existed prior to white settlement.  It is located opposite Kendrick Park at Tempe & the local Aboriginal community are thought to have used this & the other islands as a means to cross the river to what is now Wolli Creek.

Not only important to the traditional owners, Fatima Island is important to the Muslim community as Fatima was the wife of the Prophet Mohammed.  It was named ‘Fatima Island’ after Catholic rosary pilgrimage to the island in 1951 & a Portuguese statue called ‘Our Lady of Fatima.’

Unfortunately, Fatima Island has been eroding.  The convict-hewn rock retaining walls installed in 1901 have fallen in recent years allowing the tidal water to erode the island & has resulted in the loss of some trees.  Each tree lost has resulted in more erosion of the island.  People too have impacted the island by the wash from speedboats, tying up motorboats or exploring the delicate island.

It’s obvious that Fatima Island has important cultural & heritage significance to not only Marrickville municipality, but also the Greater Sydney.  These factors alone are enough to warrant saving it from disappearing, but also important is that it is the only real sanctuary for waterbirds on the river.  If work is not done to repair the retaining walls, we will lose the island forever.  That would be a dreadfully sad outcome for many in the community.

The issue of Fatima Island last went to the Marrickville Council Meeting on 15th October 2013.  Council staff recommended an Erosion Assessment & Remediation Feasibility Study be done.   This coming Tuesday 3rd December, Fatima Island will again be debated in the Marrickville Council Meeting.  It is here that Councillors can decide to approve an allocation of $25,000 required to do the study.  If they decide to apply for funding from other sources, it is quite feasible that the time this will take will make it too late for Fatima Island.

Marrickville Heritage Society, The Cooks River Valley Association & Saving Our Trees are asking the community to write to the Marrickville Councillors by Tuesday 3rd December requesting that they support the $25,000 allocation as a first step to saving Fatima Island.  It does not matter whether you live in Marrickville municipality, as this is an issue of interest to more than just local residents.  A strong response from the community will certainly help let the Councillors know that the community cares about Fatima Island.

A draft email & Councillor contact details is available here –  Draft-Fatima-Island

You can watch a short video of Fatima Island here – http://bit.ly/18Gw3uh

Thank you in advance.  Jacqueline

Another photo taken in 1984.  Photo by Chrys Meader, supplied by Marrickville Heritage Society& Cooks River Vallay Association with thanks.

Another photo taken in 1984. Photo by Chrys Meader, supplied by Marrickville Heritage Society & Cooks River Vallay Association with thanks.

Close up of convict marking on steps at Fatima Island in 1984.  Photo by Chrys Meader, supplied by Marrickville Heritage Society& Cooks River Vallay Association with thanks.

Close up of convict marking on steps at Fatima Island in 1984. Photo by Chrys Meader, supplied by Marrickville Heritage Society & Cooks River Vallay Association with thanks.

Five Ibis, one Royal Spoonbill & one Grey-faced Heron taking a midday break on what is left of Fatima Island, opposite Kendrick Park in Tempe.  October 2013.

Five Ibis, one Royal Spoonbill & one Grey-faced Heron taking a midday break on what is left of Fatima Island.  October 2013.

 

 

 

This post is not just about a tree.  Once again, it is about Marrickville Council’s undemocratic processes that exclude the community & erode trust.

Last Council Meeting of 15th October the following Notice of Motion was put on the agenda by Clr Phillips –

Notice of Motion: Consultation on tree removal at 5 Day Street Marrickville & future Councillor initiated tree removals.

“MOTION:

THAT:

1. Council conduct its regular community consultation process on the removal of the street tree outside 5 Day Street Marrickville & report back the results of the consultation to the elected Council before removal of the tree; &

2. Council draft & implement a community consultation plan for tree removal decisions initiated by Councillors through notices of motion to ensure that affected residents are made aware of these motions & have the opportunity to provide input prior to the decision being made.  Such consultation may include a notice placed on the tree, a letter to neighbouring residents, & information on Council’s website.”

Background  – At the August 2013 Council meeting on the motion of the Mayor, Council voted to remove a street tree outside 5 Day Street Marrickville.

I have since been contacted by a neighbour who is concerned about the removal & extremely disappointed at the lack of consultation with local residents on the tree removal.

There is a policy issue for Marrickville Council that street tree removals that are initiated by Councillors do not go through the regular community consultation process that trees identified by staff for removal go through.  To ensure procedural fairness, Council should look to employ a similar consultation process, including with the tree outside 5 Day Street Marrickville.”

Email from resident: [bold is my emphasis].

“Dear Councillors,

I live at [I removed this] Day Street, Marrickville.  I came out of my house at 8.30am this morning to find 3 men & 2 large trucks ready to cut down the most magnificent tree in the whole of Day Street.  No notice on the tree, no notice in my mailbox, no notice to move the cars.  I was horrified that this tree was about to be destroyed & lodged a complaint immediately.

The tree in question, a decades old gumtree in perfect health, stands outside my neighbour’s property at Number 5.  However, it provides benefits to all in the street including considerable shade to our house & houses at No 7 & 9 & a cooling effect in general.  We bought our house in this street because it was green & leafy & much cooler than other streets in Marrickville in Summer.

I have been informed that the application, to remove the tree, was considered at a Council Meeting several weeks ago & permission to cut down the tree was granted.

Firstly, I am horrified that this kind of activity takes place with no regard or concern or consultation with anyone else in the street.  If we had known, we would have been at the meeting arguing against the destruction of this incredible tree.

I am writing to request that you please take this issue back to your next Council meeting & reconsider the decision.  Apparently the tree is causing some damage to our neighbour’s front wall, but I have been advised by the Council’s tree department that there are solutions to this problem that can save the neighbour’s wall & save the tree.  So why are these not being employed?  Why are the neighbours in Day Street not being consulted or considered?

 We have now been in Marrickville, in Day Street, for over 4 years.  Up to now we have had the utmost regard for Council.  We’ve been impressed with our own dealings with Council in relation to minor building works at our house, in the responsiveness of the Waste Management System (& the good humour of the garbage workers) & mostly in the brilliant Child Care Services that our small children have enjoyed.   But we are utterly dismayed at the lack of due process in relation to this magnificent tree & have now had our confidence in Council shattered.   We ask you to invoke the high standards we have come to expect of Marrickville Council & reconsider this decision & institute a fair & consultative process in relation to the tree’s future.”

The Council business paper said that the notification policy for tree removals initiated by staff is to–

  • Removal of shrubs & trees under 5-metres. – Nil prior notification. Notice to 3 adjacent properties stating reason for removal.
  • Standard tree removal eg. causing damage to building, poor structural condition of the tree & tree inappropriate to location. –  14 days prior notification to adjacent properties & those opposite, notice attached to tree & proposed tree removal included on website.
  • Emergency removal. – No prior notification, visit three properties directly in front of dangerous tree, plus one on either side & on opposite side of street to inform them of work commencing (6 properties), upon removal, postcard notice to immediately adjoining properties stating reason for removal & advice on Councils’ website.”

Councillors accepted Point 1 of the motion, but Clr Woods moved an amendment to delete Point 2.  The following Councillors voted to delete point 2 –   Mayor Haylen, Clrs Woods, Tsardoulias, Marci, Hanna, Garden & Tyler.  Against:  Clrs Phillips, Leary, Brooks & Ellsmore.  Carried.  Therefore, & unfortunately in my opinion, community consultation can be bypassed if a Councillor brings the matter of tree removal to a Council Meeting.

This did not go down so well on Facebook.  Here are some of the comments –

  • “I know Day St. & it would be a tragedy if this tree were removed.
  • This is horrific if this kind of lack of consultation continues!

  • I agree, there’s nothing more shocking than having the loppers show up without notice.
  • But I believe there was in independent arborist contacted who advised that the tree roots could be fixed without tearing down whole tree & still avoid damage to opposing neighbour’s footpath.
  • This is not now just about one street & one or two trees – its about consultation or lack of it – why is it that councillors think they have the right to make those sort of decisions without asking residents?
  • This discussion is not about the specifics of the Day St tree – it’s about equity. Why two different processes depending on the notification?

  • Clearly street trees across Sydney are community assets & benefit all local constituents by increasing amenity & property values (amongst other things).
 this is not about politics (OR it shouldn’t be) it is about equity, as others above have mentioned. street trees are community assets. if there is a loophole that allows councillors to nominate & decide on the fate of a street tree without opportunity for community consultation, this loophole should be fixed. WHY was the second part of the motion denied? surely it made sensetime & time & time again we read about disappointing, puzzling, downright wrong decisions & carrying-ons by our councillors – trust & confidence are being eroded, & replaced by cynicism & distrust. this is not the way to lead & represent our community.”

 

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