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Inner West Council have given notification that they have removed a Small-Leaved Peppermint (Eucalyptus nicholii ) outside 73 Station Street Petersham.

Council gave the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree was in poor condition with structural root instability.
  • Active termites & advanced internal decay at base.
  • The tree posed an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”

They say they will replace this tree with a Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) in the 2017 Street Tree Planting Program.

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2014 street tree pruning by Augrid in Marrickville

2014 street tree pruning by Augrid in Marrickville

This sign was installed  by Marrickville Council.

This sign was installed by Marrickville Council.

I think it is laughable that a large organisation who has purchased another organisation, completely changes the way they do business and then after enraging the community, decides to do community consultation.  This is what is happening with Ausgrid, which is owned by the NSW government.

Prior to Ausgrid, we had Energy Australia managing our electricity supply.  The business name has changed, but not the service the company provides.

It’s like having a deli on the main street for 60-years.  Then the business is sold & it continues to operate as a deli, except under new management.  For 60-years this deli  was famous for selling a wide range of quality cheese.  However, the new owners chose not to have a wide range of cheese, only stocking cheddar for sale.  It’s still a deli, but what it offers has changed.

Now that might not be the best analogy, but this is what I feel has happened with the transfer of management of Energy Australia to Ausgrid in terms of street tree pruning.

  • Energy Australia pruned the street trees on a 7-8 year cycle.
  • Ausgrid prunes the street trees on an 18-month cycle.

Does this mean that Energy Australia provided an inferior & dangerous service to the community for all those years?  I don’t think so at all.

While Energy Australia was not immune to butchering street trees, they did not do it as a matter of course.  Since Ausgrid has taken over management, the state of street trees all over their area of control in Sydney is deplorable.   It’s not unusual to see the street trees in sections of streets looking as though they have been through a war.

And the community has been complaining loudly.

After their initial round of pruning, it appears that Ausgrid do a few street trees in a street, then come back at a later date to do the others.  I presume this is to somewhat mitigate the look of destruction it leaves behind.

Ausgrid calls what it does “tree trimming.”  I would debate this.  “Trimming” sounds gentle & nothing like the savage butchering well below the service cable for Pay TV & even further below the electricity cables.

IMPORTANT:  I would like to state clearly that I am not focusing on or criticising the workers who do the tree pruning.  They do what the company tells them to do to.

Ausgrid clearly has different opinions on what is safe clearance from electricity cables than did the previous energy supplier Energy Australia.  Yet, we did not have electrical fires breaking out all over the place, as is the explanation for the brutal tree pruning on Ausgrid’s website.   We are keeping you safe is their message & that is hard to argue against unless you ask why Energy Australia managed to prune the street trees differently & still keep us safe.

Ausgrid needs to expand on their perception of “safe.”  Increasingly researchers all over the world are publishing about the urban heat island effect, deaths from heatwaves, mental health deterioration & increased respiratory illness & fatal heart attacks in areas that have a poor urban forest.

The street where I live had street trees that reached the top of the power poles for the two decades that we have lived here & it was the same for all the streets around us.  There were no fires. There was no loss of power supply.  Service was stable & all this through a number of major storms, including the incredibly damaging hail storm in April 1999 & the major storms of June 2007 & February 2010.

Ausgrid took over from Energy Australia in March 2011 & my street is a shadow of its former self.

We lost shade, we lost beauty (because our street trees were beautiful) & we lost bird life.  We are now a street with power poles poking metres above savaged street trees & every time Ausgrid visits, more branches are lost.

The urban forest is a mix of street trees, park trees & private trees.  Our area, the old Marrickville municipality, has –

  • the least green space in Australia – so we are not getting much benefit from trees in parks unless we go to the parks on a regular basis & stay there for a while.
  • Land lots are small & often not suitable for a decent sized tree. Therefore, the dependence on street trees – green leafy streets – is substantial in the Inner West.
  • In 2015 Marrickville municipality was rated “poor” in terms of its urban forest with a canopy cover of just 16.3%.
  • Marrickville was also also found to be the unhappiest community in Australia according to Deakin University’s Australian Unity Wellbeing Index.

Can poor happiness levels relate to the lack of canopy, to poor street trees & to the lack of green space?  Yes, I believe it can & that it does.

This is backed up by research published by The Forestry Commission of Great Britain called, ‘Trees, People & the Built Environment.’   The results of the study show that our trees are not just something to make an area look nice but they may actually be making people happier.  See – http://bit.ly/S8fjpR

So, with all this in mind, think about the impact Ausgrid’s new street tree pruning practices are having on our urban forest & how this flows on to the community’s health, our increased risk of a range of illnesses & disease starting from childhood & even death.   It is a serious public health issue & I have not even mentioned climate change yet.

Climate change is breaking all the records for increased & unseasonal temperatures.  Every year it is harder to be out on the streets in the middle of the day.  If we don’t have sufficient street trees with a decent canopy, then we are going to suffer.  We are already suffering.  Some of us will die from the heat.  It is as simple as that.

Research by the University of Oxford published in July 2016 found that –

  • “Scientists have specified how many deaths can be attributed to human-made climate change during an extreme heatwave. Researchers calculate that in Paris, the hottest city in Europe during the heatwave in summer 2003, 506 out of 735 summer deaths recorded in the French capital were due to a heatwave made worse by human-made climate change. The impact was less severe in London, with an additional 64 deaths out of a total of 315 heat-related deaths.”

The paper says the mortality rate attributed to human-made climate change in both these cities is notably high, but they are just two of a large number of cities that were affected by the heatwave that year. It suggests that the resulting total number of deaths across Europe due to climate change is likely to be substantially higher.  See – http://bit.ly/2cJ5gXx

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found that “between 540 & 760 deaths could be attributed to the ongoing spell of hot weather” over a 9-day period in July 2013. See –   http://bit.ly/2cKDkUo

139 deaths due to heat occurred in Victoria Australia in January 2014.  Victoria suffered another heatwave in 2009 resulting in 374 deaths. See –  http://bit.ly/M0XGps

Research published in 2016 by Lancaster University found that –

  • “Toxic nanoparticles from air pollution have been discovered in human brains in “abundant” quantities.”
  • Air pollution is a global health crisis that kills more people than malaria and HIV/Aids combined and it has long been linked to lung and heart disease and strokes. But research is uncovering new impacts on health, including degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, mental illness & reduced intelligence.” See – http://bit.ly/2bOMXew

This is truly alarming & should be also alarm the NSW government.  They constantly tell us that they are terribly worried about the cost of caring for people who have Alzheimer’s disease.

Particulate matter from air pollution has been shown to significantly increase incidence of this disease.  So what picks up harmful particulate matter?  Trees of course!  So once again, street trees are a public health issue.

If the government wants to get control of the increasing health care costs of the community, they should provide local councils with the funds to greatly increase the urban forest.  This spending will, as the trees grow & start to become more useful, start to impact on all kinds of health issues ranging from obesity, respiratory & cardiac illness, depression & Alzheimer’s disease.  It’s a no brainer. 

  • Stop ripping out the trees for development or parking lots for WestConnex,
  • Stop the energy companies from destroying the viability & usefulness of the street trees &
  • Provide sufficient funds to allow suburbs with poor canopies to start to look like other more wealthlier suburbs across Sydney. Often the housing is similar – it is the streetscapes that are radically different.  We already know that poorer suburbs tend to have less tree cover.

I’ve often wondered whether it has been a deliberate initiative to keep some suburbs more affordable by having less tree cover & unattractive streetscapes.  Unfortunately, this is being blurred by the soaring housing costs in Sydney where even a shabby house in an unattractive street is being purchased for $1 million plus.  Even so, I think some might use housing prices as their argument why I am incorrect in my observations.

I say to the NSW government – instead of whinging on the nightly news about how the government will pay for health care in an ageing population, take action to give people the quality of life while they are living, from the cradle onwards.   Give them a decent urban forest with a great tree canopy cover, so that the air that they breathe is not harming them by creating a range of physical & mental health issues.   Keep many of the community out of hospital by making our city green.

Ausgrid’s website (http://bit.ly/2cJ4aeB) says –

To help improve our services we undertook an engagement program that –

  • aimed to understand our community’s interests,
  • develop a shared understanding of the need for managing trees growing under powerlines and near other infrastructure on our electricity network and
  • help to improve the way Ausgrid performs this work in the future.”

Now Ausgrid is showing that they are listening to the myriad complaints from both the community & local councils by holding community consultation via a working group.  And as is usual with community consultation, if we do not participate, then it is business as usual. Any further complaints are met with – well we held community consultation & didn’t get much in the way of negative feedback, so what can we do.  We are keeping you safe…blah, blah, blah.

The working group –  “… includes nine community members as well as representatives from local government areas including Parramatta, Burwood, Botany Bay, Cessnock, Canterbury-Bankstown, City of Sydney, Cumberland, Hornsby Shire, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lake Macquarie, Mosman, Newcastle City, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Port Stephens, Randwick, Strathfield, Sutherland, Willoughby and Woollahra; the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, Local Government NSW, Local Government Tree Resource Association, NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Arboriculture Australia, NSW Energy and Water Ombudsman and the Energy Networks Association.”

The working group will meet four times between August & December 2016.

So, if the state of the street tree pruning bothers you (It bothers Marrickville Council) & if you care about your own & your family’s health, take up their offer & leave feedback at the Inner West Council – council@marrickville.nsw.gov.au  Then Council will have something from the community to take to these meetings.  If enough of us participate, we may actually be able to effect positive change, though it may take decades for some of the trees to look good again.

I hope that Ausgrid does more than listen & that it makes significant changes to its tree pruning standards.   Sydney needs street trees now more than ever with Sydney’s population over 5-million.  Trees, the urban forest canopy will become more important than ever.

Most of the canopy is on the ground.

Most of the canopy is on the ground.

Beautiful Brushbox trees

Beautiful Brushbox trees

I was thrilled to see six good sized Queensland Brushbox trees planted along the west side of Livingstone Road near Marrickville Park.  Not only will these trees improve the streetscape, but they will also visually lead the eye to the park.  Big canopy street trees is totally appropriate for this wide road.

I was also pleased to see that Council did not remove the red flowering gum trees planted along here.  Although these trees could be deemed a failure because they range from around 1-metre to 1.8-metres tall after 5-years of growth, they still flower every year & provide food for wildlife.

Illawarra Flame tree - photo taken 2012

Illawarra Flame tree – photo taken 2012

The same Illawarra Flame  tree, but with aerial bundled cables on either side.

The same Illawarra Flame tree, but with aerial bundled cables on either side.

In my last post I showed an old photo of mine of an Illawarra flame tree in Marrickville.  It is one of my favourite trees in this street.  When it flowers it is magnificent.

Yesterday I drove past this very tree & noticed something that made me happy.  Marrickville Council, before being amalgamated, had organised with the power company Ausgrid, to protect this tree by installing aerial bundled cables on either side of the canopy.  The before & after photos appear that the tree wasn’t pruned to install the cables.

Now this gorgeous tree can continue to grow & be a landmark tree in this area, without needing to be pruned in the manner that has become usual for street trees in Sydney.

A big thanks from me to both Marrickville Council for organizing & I presume paying for the cabling to be installed & to Ausgrid for doing this.  I think it was money well spent.

New street trees in Alice Lane Newtown

New street trees in Alice Lane Newtown

Very large rain garden in  Alice Lane Newtown

Very large rain garden in Alice Lane Newtown. Photo was taken 2 months ago, so it should be looking better now.

The new high-rise housing development on Alice Street is nearing completion.  I am pleased to see that all the street trees have been protected.  It was nice to see the shadow pattern of dappled leaves over balconies knowing that whoever lives there will look out onto the canopy of these trees & enjoy the shade, green & birdlife.  My bet is the outlook onto mature trees will be used as a selling point.

Behind this building in Alice Lane I counted 20 new trees planted as part of the development.  One species looks to be Banksia with another species planted with every alternate tree.

At the corner of Pearl Street & Alice Lane they (I am assuming this work was done by the developers) have built a large rain garden.  It looks great & will only improve as the plants grow.  It is obvious that planning has included making it an informal meeting place where people can sit & chat.

On the wall of the house that sits beside the rain garden in a very nice nature-themed mural painted by @mulgatheartist.  The outlook is ‘groovy tropical’ with Australian native birds looking hip wearing sun glasses.  It’s sweet, funny & a bit whimisical.  I like it a lot & I especially love that it is nature-themed.

Improvements like this help with stormwater & clean the water before it reaches the Cooks River, even from this far away.  The raingarden, new trees & mural also help soften the landscape, plus add beauty & a patch of habitat in a hard landscape.

Street art by @mulgatheartist.  I love it.

Street art by @mulgatheartist.   The whole mural made me laugh.

Shy flamingo - part of the mural.

Shy flamingo – part of the mural.

Warren Park Marrickville

Warren Park Marrickville

Plan for Cooks River parklands  – Richardson’s Lookout, Warren Park & Cooks River Foreshore

This is a series of posts about Inner West Council’s plan (nee Marrickville Council) for all the parks along the Cooks River, except Tempe Reserve.

For Mahoney Reserve. See – http://bit.ly/210uG1I For Steel Park – http://bit.ly/1suDxOh

I have not covered all of what Council intends, just those areas that are environmental initiatives or those that interest me.  The link to download the Plan is below.

Richardson’s Lookout

Inner West Council plans the following upgrades for Richardson’s Lookout –

  • Mulch & plant natives under the heritage fig trees.
  • Create an equal access path from Thornley Street to Richardson’s Lookout.
  • Revegetate the unusable area surrounding the Cooks pine.
  • Install 3 new seats.

Warren Park

The following is planned for Warren Park –

  • Build a native vegetated swale to the existing low point at the eastern end of Warren Park.
  • Do bank stabilisation works & “ant-scour” on steeper slopes. I do not know what ant-scour means.
  • Build a vegetated detention basin prior to the Cooks River.
  • The fencing between Warren Park & Thornley Street will be removed & native grasses & other local native plantings planted to act as a barrier between the park & the road.
  • Install 2 new seats.

Cooks river foreshore

The following is planned for the Cooks River Foreshore –

  • A failing retaining wall will be replaced with stone or similar. Biodiversity opportunities will be incorporated into wall design.
  • More re-vegetation will be done along the river foreshore.
  • Build a river-viewing pontoon or jetty constructed from steel mesh or similar.
  • Install an exercise station.
  • Install 3 new seats.
  • Install bike racks.
  • Install night lighting along the share pathway.
  • Progressively remove the Poplar Trees between Mackey Park & Warren Park. A total of 27 trees will be removed along the river from Mackey Park to Mahoney Reserve.  I have been waiting for this to happen for years, as a then Tree Manager told me it was planned when I spoke with him at the opening of Mackey Park in December 2010.  If the community doesn’t fight to keep these trees we will lose them. I have written about my horror about the proposed tree removal here. See – http://wp.me/pyn6B-2lm

Community consultation is open until tomorrow Wednesday 8th June 2016.  You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO

All the Poplar trees along this beautiful walk are to be removed along the Cooks River Foreshore.

All the Poplar trees along this beautiful walk along the Cooks River Foreshore are to be removed 

 Richardsons Reserve and the Cooks Pine.

Richardsons Reserve and the Cooks Pine.

Marrickville Golf Course with the Cooks River visible behind the tree.

Marrickville Golf Course with the Cooks River visible behind the tree.

Marrickville Golf Course

Marrickville Golf Course.  

The rain is tonight being called a ‘storm emergency.’  I stay inside when it is raining heavily, so always miss what is happening down at the Cooks River.  Not today.  I decided to brave the weather & take some photos.

The flooding was not as bad as I expected.  The Cooks River at 1pm, high tide time, was around 20 cm below the bank, but I saw a photo on Facebook where the river had breached the bank this morning.

Unfortunately a tree is down in Mackey Park.  From what I could see trees did pretty well considering the destructive winds we have been experiencing.  The Weather Bureau says more destructive winds can be expected, which may reach speeds of 125km/hour.  Stay safe.

Mackey Park

Mackey Park

Tree down in Mackey Park

Tree down in Mackey Park

Stormwater drains in Carrington Road turned into road fountains.

Stormwater drains in Carrington Road turned into road fountains.  The north end of Carrington Road was blocked to traffic due to flooding.

 

 

Showing the location of the playground and the river

Council plans to plant vegetation in front of  the riverbank to stop the community having access to the river – yet this is where many sit to enjoy a picnic with friends, read a book, chill out & watch the river.  The fence you can see carries on for many metres past following the path & keeps children from running from the playground to the path or the river.  It should be enough.  Why should the community miss out on being able to sit beside the river?  There are so few places where we can do this along both sides of the river without having a fence, mangroves or something in front to prevent this.  I find this part of the plan very sad & hope Council changes their mind.

 

Continuing on from my posts on Mahoney Reserve. See – http://bit.ly/210uG1I

Steel Park is also a ‘designated fauna habitat link.’

Inner West Council (nee Marrickville Council) plan the following for Steel Park –

  • Add more concrete paths to help with existing desire lines & increasing recreation opportunities.”  One will be a 1.8-metre wide path to Thornley Street from the current shared path along the grass next to the cliff up to Thornley Street. Our Council loves laying concrete in parks.
  • What is good is the plan for new trees around the flying fox, the water play park & between the play facilities & the ball net. New trees also for around the exercise equipment & the proposed water treatment wetland. New trees are also planned for the slope near Thornley Street.  It would be nice to know the number of trees planned, but any new trees are a boon for this park.
  • All the Poplar trees except for those in the Children’s Playground will be removed. I think this is entirely unnecessary, especially removing healthy trees for the reasons given & in these days of climate change when trees are more important than ever.  It will be an expensive job to remove 27 big tall trees.  You can read more here –  http://bit.ly/1Wlfe1x
  • The lower branches of the Casuarina trees along the foreshore pathway will be removed to increase sight lines & ground covers planted.
  • Grasses, groundcovers & small shrubs will be planted alongside residential properties.
  • Grasses & groundcovers to be planted beside the car park.
  • New rain gardens a minimum 2-metres wide will be added to the car park & planted with local native sedges, grasses & tree plantings.
  • 13 new seats will be placed along the edge of Illawarra Road & behind the Debbie and Abbey Borgia Recreation Centre.
  • 5 concrete “block style” seating will be placed in the patch of grass near the house on the slope next to Thornley Street.
  • There will be another barbeque installed next to the playground with a shade structure.
  • The playground will be expanded with new equipment that has a nature based theme.  That’s nice.
  • The fence around the northern playing field will be removed.
  • New bike racks installed near the exercise equipment.
  • Upgrade the playing field with new turf & drainage.
  • And sadly, Council plans to plant vegetation infront of the river  “to limit water access by users.” 
 I would have thought the extensive fence between the shared path & the children’s playground & barbecue areas would have been sufficient.  Frankly, the plan to cut off access to the river makes me feel sad.  To stop people being able to sit at or near the river’s edge is a BIG LOSS to many in the community.   Plenty of people like to sit here on picnic blankets & watch the river.  

Community consultation is open until this Wednesday 8th June 2016.  You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO

A 1.8-metre wide path will be installed on the left of the photo to the trees in the distance & up the slope to Thornley Street.

A 1.8-metre wide path will be installed on the left of the photo to the trees in the distance & up the slope to Thornley Street.

The fence will be removed & seats installed.

The fence will be removed & seats installed.  The playing field will be upgraded with new turf and drainage.  

Poplar trees in Steel Park. 10 trees outside the playground area will be removed.

Poplar trees in Steel Park. 10 trees outside the playground area will be removed.

Poplar trees in Steel Park to be removed.

Poplar trees in Steel Park to be removed.

I have been reading the extensive document – ‘Cooks River Parklands Plan of Management & Master Plan’ released for community consultation by Marrickville Council (now amalgamated with Leichhardt & Ashfield Councils & given the ultra boring name of Inner West Council).

While I will go through this document in more detail, I thought it is important to make a single post about Council’s intention to remove most of the Poplar trees along Marrickville’s section of the Cooks River.

This amounts to the removal of 27* trees & Council are doing this in a time of climate change when every tree is important, especially tall, mature broad-leafed trees with significant canopies. 

* My count could be incorrect.  I counted 12 Poplars along the Cooks River Foreshore, 10 trees in Steel Park outside the playground area & 5 others in Mahoney Reserve.  I did not include 23 trees in the Steel Park playground area, nor the 8 trees along the shared pathway at Mackey Park or the 4 trees on the Illawarra Road side of Mahoney Reserve.

All Poplars will be removed in Mahoney Park, except for the four trees adjacent to Illawarra Road.  Three are mature, one is small.  The same is planned for Steel Park, except for the existing all “structurally sound” Poplar trees located in the children’s playground.  It will be interesting to see how many of these trees will be deemed unsound & removed.

Poplar trees to be removed in Mahoney Reserve. The trees behind are mature Fig trees, which gives you an idea of the height of these trees. Poplars are deciduous, so they have lost most of their leaves.

5 Poplar trees to be removed in Mahoney Reserve. The trees behind are mature Fig trees, which gives you an idea of the height of these trees.

Council’s report says that the Poplar trees beside the river “are damaging water quality and adjacent plant communities.”   Such a grand statement, yet no information for the citizen who might care to know more.

Poplars are well-known as great trees for riparian areas because they stabilize the soil.  It could be that being deciduous trees, they drop a large amount of leaves, which this pdf document says is bad for waterways.  See – http://bit.ly/1TkdzHf

This pdf document, ‘Using Poplar Trees to Meet Stringent Water Quality Permits’ http://bit.ly/200LOUu for waste water says Poplar trees have the –

  • “Potential to utilize both recycled water & biosolids,
  • have high water & nutrient utilization compared to other crops &
  • tall dense structure can provide a visual screen for site aesthetics & habitat value.”  I am glad they mentioned habitat because these trees are full of feeding birds.

I’d suggest the massive & regular use of Glyphosate sprayed all over the municipality & importantly right at the river’s edge in all parks & along the Marrickville Golf Course would have a higher negative impact on water quality than these Poplar trees.  Give me trees over pesticides any day.

You can also see my post, “The Cooks River is crying’ http://bit.ly/1TUMwy8  showing some photos of the appalling floating army of filth in the river last weekend to see what the real water quality is like.  Will the removal of a few Poplar trees along a small section of the river actually make a positive impact on the water quality of the Cooks River when this is happening?  Seriously? 

Photo Taken 15th May 2016. Not only bottles and other litter, but look at the oil.

Photo taken 15th May 2016. Not only bottles and other litter, but look at the oil.

The report says Council will, “Progressively remove the Poplar Trees between Mackey Park and Warren Park.”

At Mackey Park the report says, “Implement recommendations for existing trees as per the Marrickville Open Space Tree Inventory 2015.”   However, there is no mention of the Poplar trees in Mackey Park.

The Poplar trees along the shared pathway at Mackey Park.

The Poplar trees along the shared pathway at Mackey Park with the river on the right.

I was told by a Council Tree Manager at the opening of the Mackey Park on 9th December 2010 of a plan to remove these trees.  This link provides a history regarding the loss of Poplar trees along Marrickville’s section of the river – http://bit.ly/1Yr6YLb

In February 2014 a post was made by someone on Facebook about the rumour of the removal the Poplars at Mackey Park.  I contributed what I had previously been told by Council.  The discussion clearly expressed community opposition to the removal of these trees.

As a result, Marrickville Council posted the following on Facebook –

“I’m very happy to let you know that Council has no plans to remove these trees at Mackey Park.  Please know that the ONLY reason council would consider removing a tree is if it poses a risk to life or property, leaf drop or messy characteristics are never a consideration for removal.  We LIKE trees – honest! Our aim is to increase the canopy.”  

I repeat – “…. leaf drop or messy characteristics are never a consideration for removal.”

It is my understanding that it is illegal in NSW to remove trees because of leaf & other litter, but it seems this is not the case for local councils.  I would suggest that if the Poplars are affecting water quality, then so would the Poplars in Mackey Park.  It seems contradictory to remove some, but not all of the trees.

The report also says that in Mackey Park they plan to, “Trim lower branches from foreshore vegetation to maximise views from the share path and new seating.”

The two new seats are being used daily & looking through a section of trees to the river does not lessen the experience.  There are many people who actually like trees as part of the view.  Not everything needs to be like watching television.  I sat on both seats & they both have a clear view to the river.

Plus, Council plans to install picnic tables next to the river, so there will be uninterrupted views of the river from these seats.

Marrickville municipality has had enough pruning of public trees in my opinion. Trees pruned to look like poles with foliage on top are not very attractive trees, except for palm trees & they are supposed to look like that.  All around the world trees are being hacked at, vandalised or removed for views.

These trees will continue to grow & their pruned trunk will get more pole-like as they grow taller.  The shade they produce will also be less.

Council also plan to prune the Mackey Park Fig trees that they wanted to remove in 2009 because it was believed they would shade a corner of the playing fields.  Fortunately, these trees were saved in 2009 after strong opposition from the community.  See – http://bit.ly/1WwqUhJ

The outcome was that one branch was pruned from one of the Fig trees.  It doesn’t sound much of a deal, but the removal of just one branch amounted to removal of approximately one-quarter of the canopy.  This tree only had 6 branches & a major branch of the canopy was removed. 

Only in Marrickville is a spot of shade not allowed on the corner of a playing field.  Cross the river & you will see parts of many playing fields affected by shade.  Sunset is on the river side so actually the shade of these trees moves towards the river & therefore should not cause a problem for the field, except for early morning games.

If Council really wants to know how the community feel about the Poplar trees, I would suggest that they employ a couple of market researchers to simply ask all the passers-by at Mackey Park & along the Cooks River Foreshore how they feel about the Poplar trees.  I firmly believe that they will hear again & again how much the community loves these trees.  Of course they will get a few people who don’t like the trees, but I believe the feedback will be overwhelmingly positive towards these trees.

Why?

  • They are unusual in that they are big tall trees with big fat trunks. This is a local rarity, except for some Fig trees.
  • They not only look great & produce lovely dappled shade, the leaves also sound wonderful in the breeze.   This sound is an almost instant stress reducer.
  • The trees mark the seasons in an extravagant way. They lose their leaves & we crunch them under foot or under bicycle wheels.  In spring the lime green leaves appear & the catkins flower.
  • Their dappled shade is incredibly lovely in the parks & they cool the shared path & Steel Park playground in summer. When you enter Steel Park on a hot summer’s day, the positive impact of these trees is palpable.
  • When they shed their seeds the ground looks like it is snowing in summer & it is lovely to see. And no, they are not spreading new trees all over the area or even in local bushland at Wolli Creek.   In contrast, the Casuarina trees are spreading like wildfire.  Even though these are beneficial native trees, managing their suckering spread by pruning the lower branches as stated in the Plan does not seem like the best management in my opinion.

I am all for native trees. In fact, I prefer natives, but I oppose removal of the few remaining Poplar trees along the Cooks River.  There is plenty of room for more tree planting & these should be native trees.  One last thing, the Poplars are full of birds & they provide a lot of food for them.

It saddens me that Council plans to use a large chunk of the allocated $15 million to remove mature trees.  Everything possible should be done to retain healthy mature trees because they are vital in the management of climate change. 

I will be writing more about the Plan for the Cooks River Parklands.  There are some excellent initiatives & I feel sad that I have concentrated on the negative aspects in this post.

In the meantime, community consultation closes on Wednesday 8th June 2016.  You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO

Poplar trees along the Cooks River Foreshore. Poplars are deciduous, so they have lost most of their leaves. This is a glorious place to walk in summer. Lots of birds, cool dappled shade and much beauty. It is unthinkable to lose them.

Poplar trees along the Cooks River Foreshore. Poplars are deciduous, so they have lost most of their leaves. This is a glorious place to walk, especially in summer. Lots of birds, cool dappled shade and much beauty. It is unthinkable to lose them.

Two more Poplars to be removed along the Cooks River Foreshore.

Two more Poplars along the Cooks River Foreshorten be removed.

These trees will look grand.

These trees will look grand.

It was excellent to see four more new trees in the newly created garden beside the new bridge across the Cooks River at Marrickville Golf Course.    Thank you Marrickville Council.

This whole area is looking great.  I wrote about the new landscaping here –  http://bit.ly/21knwob

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