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This veteran Fig was planted around 1860.

After 21-months of lobbying by Marrickville Council & the community, the Planning Assessment Commission has approved the expansion of Marrickville Metro.

I was primarily concerned with the trees on site.  I am pleased that the Marrickville Metro will still retain its green leafy outlook, which is vastly different from the original designs released to the public.  I am pleased there is restrictions on how much canopy pruning can be done on the Eucalypts along Smidmore Street.  I am very pleased that the trenching to ascertain where the roots of all the Fig trees go, including the heritage veteran Fig tree outside the Mill House now has whole lot of restrictions & precautions to adhere to.   I hope Marrickville Metro decide to use radar to check the roots of the Figs instead of digging as it is totally unnecessary, especially for the heritage veteran Fig tree outside the Mill House. I also hope they spend money on employing a Veteran Tree Specialist Arborist for any work with this tree.  At around 152-years-old it is one of the very special historic trees for both Marrickville LGA & Sydney.

For the trees of Marrickville Metro this is overall a good result & a better outcome than I expected.  Thank you to the Planning Assessment Commission & Marrickville Council who negotiated issues with Marrickville Metro raised by the community members & others who addressed the panel at the Planning Assessment Commission meeting last February 2012.  Thank you also to everyone who wrote a submission about the planned expansion & included the trees as an issue of concern.

Community group Metro Watch fought much of the plans surrounding the expansion. To read their response, see –

I include all that concerned the trees from both the final documents from the Planning Assessment Commission below for those who are interested.

“Several mature trees surround the shopping centre, which significantly enhance the character of the area. Concern has been raised with regard to any removal & pruning. This matter was discussed with the Proponent & Marrickville Council which both cross-checked recommended conditions & trees specified in D29, & verified their consistency with the Arboricultural Report. Conditions D29 & D31 have been strengthened in response to comments from both parties, including specifying a range of minimally-invasive root exploratory & trenching measures & resultant pruning/construction methods.

D29 Approval is given for the following works to be undertaken to trees on the site, as identified in ‘Appendix 3 – Site Survey’ in the Arboricultural Impact Assessment Report prepared by Integrated Vegetation Management (Report No. MA/ME/AIARTPS/E dated 2 November 2010): Approved Works,

  • removal of the following trees: Nettle tree number 37  (this tree was removed in 2011).
  • Hills Weeping Figs number 48, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 67
  • 7 Wattle trees
  • selective branch pruning of Hills Weeping Figs number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11,12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,18
  • canopy pruning of Lemon-scented Gums number 75, 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 84 &
  • canopy pruning of Gum trees number 9, 83.”  There has been no change to which trees to be removed & pruned.

D29  –

  • “if necessary to accommodate the approved building works shall be undertaken by an experienced & qualified Arborist. This qualified Arborist shall also verify the tree(s) have been correctly identified prior to the arboricultural works described in Condition D29 being carried out. For the purpose of this condition a suitably experienced & qualified professional shall hold: minimum qualification equivalent (using the Australian Qualification Framework) of NSW TAFE Certificate Level 3 or above in Arboriculture, a NSW TAFE Tree Surgery Certificate or its recognised equivalent, a minimum of 3 years experience in practical Arboriculture including demonstrated experience in tree surgery.
  • Pruning is limited to those branches of trees that will come into direct contact with the built structure.
  • Where a tree’s canopy or root system has developed across property boundaries, consent to undertake works on the tree does not permit a person acting on the consent to trespass on adjacent lands. Where access to adjacent land is required to carry out approved tree works, Council advises that the owner of a tree must be notified. Notification is the responsibility of the person acting on the consent. Should the tree owner/s refuse access to their land, the person acting on the consent shall meet the requirements of the Access to Neighbouring Lands Act 2000 to gain access.”

D31 –

  • “Structures are proposed within Tree Protection Zones (TPZ), as identified in the recommendations of the Arboricultural Impact Assessment Report prepared by Integrated Vegetation Management (Report No. MA/ME/AIARTPS/E dated 2 November 2010),
  • The identified location & distribution of the roots shall be carried out through non-destructive investigation, being either through pneumatic, hydraulic, hand digging or ground penetrating radar means. This exploration shall determine the presence & extent of root spread & any tree sensitive construction techniques & material which should be used for construction in these areas. Any recommendations shall be implemented during construction.
  • A qualified Arborist (refer to description for minimum qualifications in D29) shall determine if root pruning can be undertaken without impacting the stability or long term viability of the tree(s).
  • Excavations within the TPZ shall be undertaken by hand trenching/hydro vacuum excavation methods to minimize damage to tree roots.
  • Where the qualified Arborist deems root pruning to be acceptable, this work shall be carried by the qualified Arborist & pruned roots shall be cleanly severed with sharp pruning implements to ensure a smooth wound face, free from tears.
  • Severance of structural roots (>25mmø) within the Structural Root Zone shall be avoided as it may lead to tree destablisation.
  • The exposed roots & excavation face shall be protected from direct sunlight, drying out & extremes of temperature by covering with a 10mm thick jute mat that is kept damp at all times.
  • Where roots cannot be pruned tree sensitive construction methods will be required.
  • All root pruning shall be approved & verified by a qualified Arborist.
  • Council approval is required for any additional pruning or tree removals other than set out in Condition D29.”

Other points –

  • “Tree protection management measure for all protected & retained trees.
  • D27 No activities, storage or disposal of materials shall take place beneath the canopy of any tree protected under Council’s Tree Preservation Order at any time.
  • D28 All trees to be retained shall be protected in accordance with the Tree Protection
  • Removal or pruning of any other tree on the site shall be the subject of approval by Council.
  • D30 Selective branch & canopy pruning of the trees listed in Condition D29 if necessary to accommodate the approved building works shall be undertaken by an experienced and qualified Arborist, …including demonstrated experience in tree surgery.  Pruning is limited to those branches of trees that will come into direct contact with the built structure.
  • Where a tree’s canopy or root system has developed across property boundaries, consent to undertake works on the tree does not permit a person acting on the consent to trespass on adjacent lands. Where access to adjacent land is required to carry out approved tree works, Council advises that the owner of a tree must be notified. Notification is the responsibility of the person acting on the consent. Should the tree owner/s refuse access to their land, the person acting on the consent shall meet the requirements of the Access to Neighbouring Lands Act 2000 to gain access.
  • D32 Internal diagnostic testing shall be undertaken on Trees 20, 25 and 29 to determine the presence and extent of any decay in these trees. Recommendations should be made to maximize the retention potential of these trees. No approval to remove these trees is granted by this approval.  (These are the Camphor laurel & heritage Veteran Fig outside & around the Mill House).
  • D33 The removal of trees listed in Condition D32 from Council’s nature strip shall be undertaken at no cost to Council by an experienced tree removal contractor/arborist holding public liability insurance amounting to a minimum cover of $10,000,000. Following removal of trees from Council’s nature strip, the area shall be rehabilitated to the satisfaction of Council’s Development Engineer at no cost to Council.
  • D34 The canopy replenishment trees to be planted within the site shall be maintained in a healthy & vigorous condition until they attain a height of 5 metres whereby they will be protected by Council’s Tree Preservation Order.
  • Any of the trees found faulty, damaged, dying or dead shall be replaced with the same species.”


Amazingly SoT recently celebrated its second birthday.  I say amazingly because this blog has developed into something I did not expect.  I like to thank people & there have been many who have helped me, so here goes –

  • I thank you all for your support by coming here & reading.  Thank you also for letting others know of SoT.  Word of mouth is the best reference.
  • Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to send in a submission to Council to try & save a tree &/or sent emails to our Councillors regarding trees or an environmental issue.  Because of your involvement there have been a number of trees saved & positive changes to what is now the Urban Forest Policy.
  • Thanks also to those who follow SoT on Twitter & more recently Face Book.  I did not want to do either & have been very surprised at the depth of knowledge shared on these two platforms & this has helped me immensely.
  • Thank you to all who have spoken to me or sent an email sharing your knowledge, ideas & information.  I have appreciated your feedback on what I am doing as well as your input regarding where you think work on the environment in Marrickville LGA is needed. I have met some wonderful people who are just as concerned about our local environment as I am.
  • Thanks to the Arborists who have shared their knowledge regarding trees & tree care.
  • Thanks also to the other professionals; the landscape architects, the plumbers, the horticulturalists, the gardeners & those with knowledge of the urban environment who have kindly answered my varied questions.
  • Thanks to the Marrickville Heritage Society who have been supportive towards SoT & provided information about heritage trees in the LGA.
  • Thanks to Metro Watch for their support concerning the trees of Marrickville Metro.
  • Thanks also to those Councillors who have voted to save trees up for removal, who have replied to my emails & who voted to ensure that the Urban Forest Policy is what it is today.  Without these Councillors we would have had 5,000 public trees removed over the next 5 years.
  • Finally, thank you to the staff at Marrickville Council for answering my questions, replying to my emails & for the improvements made to the Urban Forest Policy, which I believe are quite substantial.  I also thank Council for allowing community consultation regarding public trees & matters concerning the environment.  This may have always been the case, but it is an approach that I appreciate.

A cake was made (not by me)

I hope SoT continues to grow & that we can make a positive impact on our environment so that the streetscape is leafier & greener for future generations.  I think trees are incredibly important in making areas livable & fortunately for me, the current research backs up this belief with real facts.  The more tree canopy & green spaces there are, the happier & healthier people tend to be.  I’d like to see the parts of the LGA that are bare become as leafy as other parts. It’s also important for me to acknowledge that Marrickville Council does some great work for the environment.  I hope the future budget allocations are sufficient to allow more of this kind of work because we will all benefit immensely, as will urban wildlife.

We celebrated in our back garden with sparklers

The protest March & the speeches at Alex Trevallion Plaza

The south side of Marrickille Road was blocked for around 20 minutes. A police car escorted around 150-170 shop keepers & residents, along with Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt MP, Clr Morris Hanna, Clr Victor Macri, Clr Mary O’Sullivan & members of Metro Watch as they marched against the proposed Marrickville Metro expansion until they reached Alex Trevallion Plaza.  Almost every marcher was holding a ‘No Marrickville Metro Expansion’ banner so any bi-standers were left with no doubt what the protest march was about.

Clr Hanna addressed the crowd that had assembled in Alex Trevallion Plaza about the many negative impacts the proposed Metro expansion will have on Marrickville shopping strip.  Clr Hanna also said that Marrickville Council has refused to sell Smidmore Street or the airspace to AMP Capital. He spoke about the difficulty the Marrickville shopping strip has with parking & called for something to be done about this.

Carmel Tebbutt said she thought the Metro expansion was totally wrong for this area & did not support it.  She also said that she had asked the NSW Planning Minister that the community can respond by way of further submissions when AMP Capital puts its next proposal in, but said he hasn’t agreed to do this as yet.  She also said she was negotiating a meeting with residents & the Planning Minister to talk about their concerns regarding the proposed expansion.

New trees planted at Alex Trevallion Plaza showing permeable surfaces

The crowd was big, the shops were closed, the police were out in force. It was great to see so many people participate.  It was also nice to see Alex Trevallion Plaza used by a big crowd & to see 5 Eucalypts planted in what appears to be tree pits & with porous surface & permeable paving. The trees add a nice wall of green.

I came across the google street view when searching the correct name of the Alex Trevallion Plaza. It is amazing how much better the Plaza looks now as compared with the time the google camera car drove past a few years ago.  It’s a vast improvement.



Last night was the Council Meeting.  Absent: Clrs Hanna, Peters & Thanos. The following is how I understood the meeting & any mistakes are mine. I have chosen to go into detail about the most important item of the night & may write about the other agenda items tomorrow.

Mayoral Minute: Funding Impact Assessments associated with the proposed redevelopment of the Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre – Council authorises the Marrickville Chamber of Commerce to draw on Marrickville Main Street Reserve Funds up to $10,000 to prepare a consultant report on the economic impacts associated with the Marrickville Metro Part 3A application & that the Department of Planning be requested to extend the consultation period for another 30 days to allow the Chamber of Commerce & other stakeholders to respond.

Two very large & beautiful Camphor laurel trees outside Marrickville Metro shopping centre.

3 people spoke asking Council for $10,000 to add to another $10,000 donated by the Marrickville Chamber of Commerce to get an independent traffic study regarding the impact of Marrickville Metro expansion on Marrickville LGA.

A resident of Edgeware Road spoke saying traffic was at gridlock Monday to Friday & “crazy” on the weekend on Edgeware Road. She disagreed with the AMP Capital Traffic Report that said “there will be no traffic from the north.” She thought that AMP Capital has under-reported traffic in the area.  That AMP Capital want to take away 50 metres of parking & make part of Alice Street into 3 lanes showed they are expecting lots of traffic.  She spoke of 1,600 cars passing per hour on Saturdays.  She also mentioned the 37,000 sq mt IKEA to be built in Tempe. She said most of the shop keepers along Enmore Road don’t know of Metro, many don’t speak English well & need help from Marrickville Council to understand what is at stake & actual help with their submissions. She feared people would just go to Metro if they had trouble parking along Enmore Road.

A member of Metro Watch spoke saying they need a fighting fund of $30,000. He said the Traffic Report from AMP Capital doesn’t bring new issues since their last traffic report done in the 1980s. He said AMP Capital were not addressing high traffic, bus movements, taxis, drivers to the centre or to other malls in Ashfield or Broadway or the traffic to St Pius School. Nor were they taking into account Easter & Christmas shopping periods.

Marrickville Metro is surrounded by more than 142 trees, mostly Hills Figs. This is a random view of the canopy from the car park. These trees serve as a barrier & do much to stop particulate matter & other pollutants from reaching people & the surrounding area. It is a crime to chop them down for an over-development no one wants.

Joe Khoury of Marrickville Chamber of Commerce spoke saying they understood Marrickville Metro wants to be the new Town Centre & this would destroy the viability of Marrickville shops. He said the Traffic Report should be considered as a study in Marrickville sustainability. He said AMP Capital purchased Marrickville Metro during the financial crisis for 130 million, then tried to sell it for 90 million. They have now expanded into industrial land, which has been rezoned retail increasing their land value 3 fold.  He asked that Council release $10,000 out of the Chamber of Commerce funds to help shop-keepers fight the Marrickville Metro expansion.

Clr Kontellis spoke about the change in laws by the NSW state government that allows big developers to bypass Councils during the development application & that Councils don’t have a say.  She proposed an amendment that the other shopping strips in Marrickville LGA should be included in the report. Clr O’Sullivan added more to the amendment – to fund preparation of report looking at economic & other issues arising from the Marrickville Metro Part 3A application on businesses throughout Marrickville LGA.

Clr Byrne said Marrickville Metro put their plan out for public consultation just when the media was concentrating on the Federal election.  She said the Greens had letter dropped businesses a few months ago & the businesses were

One of a number of beautiful healthy Eucalypts along Smidmore Street that will likely be removed if the Marrickville Metro expansion goes ahead

shocked. She said Council is opposed to the sale of public assets as well as Smidmore Street to a private entity for profit.  She made an amendment that Council donate $3,000 to Metro Watch for their campaign.

Clr O’Sullivan said she was going to suggest the same & supported Clr Byrne’s amendment adding to the amendment that Council provide in-kind support to fundraising initiatives for the campaign. Clr Phillips said he strongly supported the Mayoral Minute & amendments & said if the Marrickville Metro expansion DA was going through Council, it would never be approved.  Clr Wright also supported the Mayoral Minute & amendments, saying it was an outrageous proposition from AMP Capital & to expand was completely out of the question.

Clr Olive spoke about the Sydney Morning Herald article where a figure of $8 million was given for the sale of Smidmore Street. He said that selling the street could do more damage to the community & there was nothing to justify selling the street. He also said AMP Capital’s request for 50 metres of parking space on Alice & Edgeware Roads intersection spoke volumes about how much traffic they were anticipating.  Clr Phillips put a further amendment for Council to print 3 banners & hang them outside Town Halls across the LGA, saying that Marrickville Council opposes the Marrickville Metro expansion.

Mayor Iskandar said all Councillors will work together to knock the Metro expansion off. He added to the amendment that he would speak to MPs about the inappropriateness of the expansion.  He said a minimum of 12,000 people will be badly affected by this DA & that Labor had also distributed brochures about the planned expansion.  He said he hoped the Council & the community will be able to celebrate victory together.

Let’s hope so. There is only 9 days left as it stands at the moment to get your submission in to the Department of Planning opposing this over-development.  You can read more about the Marrickville Metro expansion & the loss of 142 trees by clicking on an earlier post –

Just one small section of the trees that will have to be removed if the Marrickville Metro expansion goes ahead

Community group Metro Watch are having a public meeting –

  • this Thursday 12th August 2010
  • 7pm
  • Herbert Greedy Hall 79 Petersham Road Marrickville.

The plans for the massive expansion of Marrickville Metro are now on public exhibition & will be presented. There will be a range of guest speakers – Marrickville Mayor Sam Iskandar, Federal Greens Candidate for Grayndler Sam Byrne, some Marrickville Councillors, some local business owners & the Metro Watch secretary.


  • this Saturday 14th August 2010
  • 11.15am
  • Gather at the BBQ spot Enmore Park at the corner of Black Street & Victoria Road Marrickville

After a 15-minute update, the group will walk together 100 metres to Marrickville Metro to attend a community consultation session held by the AMP project team & Elton Consulting.

This is a seriously big Fig with a girth of many metres. It stands near the front entrance of Marrickville Metro on Victoria Road & it is one of more than 100 mature trees that will be removed should the expansion of Marrickville Metro go ahead

Resident action group Metro Watch say they have communicated with over 1,000 local residents.  Almost everyone was under the misconception that Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre was undergoing ’revitalization’ & that revitalization meant a cosmetic face-lift of Marrickville Metro.

AMP Capital is planning everything but a cosmetic facelift.  More than 4 million extra shoppers & a 65-68% increase in traffic is not a cosmetic facelift. Nor is the removal of more than 100 trees, (how much over 100 trees is not known as yet), many of them big, beautiful substantial trees.

The community has this perception because the term ‘revitalization’ is used in all of AMP’s community newsletters.   Oh the power of words.

Please come to both these community meetings. Children are welcome.

The deadline for submissions to the Department of Planning is Friday 27th August 2010.  I will be writing more about this development & will write a draft submission that I can e-mail to you for you to change as you like.

We do not stand a chance against this corporate giant unless the community joins with Marrickville Council, Marrickville Councillors & local shop owners in our shopping strips that are saying a loud “NO!” to this development.  We also need to help the people who live in the 11,430 homes within 1km from Marrickville Metro.  They will be the worst affected, but traffic problems tend to spiral outward, especially now that the new IKEA in Tempe is just around the corner and more massive high-rise housing development is planned.

To read past posts about the proposed development –



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