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I have spent some time over the last week reading the various reports regarding the trees of Marrickville Metro.  In summary, the most used words are: basal decay, mature epicormic growth, fair health, possible decay, poor structure, wounds, low landscape significance, fair structure, mechanical damage likely the result of lawn mower equipment.  Poor structure refers to past decades of pruning & is entirely subjective unless the tree is lob-sided & in danger of falling.  The bulk of street trees in Marrickville LGA would be considered poor structure due to pruning for power lines, but we wouldn’t remove them because of this.

Council-managed trees in Smidmore Road were assessed as being in good to fair health & will be pruned for building pruposes

87 trees were assessed as generally being in fair health & structure.   Most have been assessed as a remaining life expectancy range of 5-15 years. A few have a remaining life expectancy range of 15-40 years & some trees have a remaining life expectancy range of less than 5 years.  I look & see a verdant green canopy of trees thriving in appalling conditions, while the report claims trees are on their last legs.

Many of the Figs along the exterior wall of the Metro complex have been assessed as fair because of a reduced canopy cover of approximately 60- 70% “comparative to the same species growing in ideal site & environmental conditions.” I’d ask how many trees in Marrickville LGA are actually growing in the ideal site & environmental conditions.  How can one assess these trees based on these criteria?  They would never be able to compete because of the type of trees they are & the conditions in which they were planted.

Tree #31 that was assessed as in good health, but with poor structure has already been chopped down.  It was 10 metres tall with a 10 metre-wide canopy.  The last line of this report says, “NOTE: Reference should be made to any relevant legislation including Tree Preservation Orders i.e. permission to undertake tree pruning/removal should be sought from Council.” Well, did that happen regarding three #31?

Trees will need to be removed to accommodate the proposed building footprint extension & canopy pruning will be required to provide building clearance & for access during construction.  In other words, the canopy of the Figs has to be lowered & pruned back so that bricks & mortar & other building materials can be taken to the current car park level.

7 Council-managed Lemon-scented Gums & a Eucalypt along Smidmore Street have been assessed as being in good to fair health & good structure. They intend to prune these spectacular trees as well.

This is a veteran tree & should be treated & looked after with care. The 'overhanging' branches are well out of the way of people's heads

The Moreton Bay Fig that was probably planted around the same time as the historic Mill House that was built in 1860 has been assessed as being in fair health, in poor structure & suffering root damage probably because they were repeatedly mown over. It has been given a remaining life expectancy range of 5-15 years & despite having high landscape significance, has been allocated a ‘consider for retention’ label.

Consider for retention!  If it was planted around 1860 it is one of our oldest trees & should be preserved & protected, not chopped down to lay paving.  Last week it had a number of branches chopped off. A local resident who witnessed this said they were ‘overhanging.’  Figs are supposed to have a spreading canopy.  I’d be very interested to see what City of Sydney Council would be doing to preserve & assist this tree & I doubt that they would allow it to be pruned by anyone other than a veteran tree specialist, though to be fair, perhaps AMP Capital arranged this.  The report says it is a heritage-listed tree, but I couldn’t find it in the Draft LEP listing of heritage trees.

Even the lovely Peppercorn tree at the front plaza entrance has been assessed as fair structure & only expected to have a remaining life expectancy range of 5-15 years.  It will likely be removed for paving & a raised garden bed where art can be displayed.

The only tree that was assessed as being in good health and structure is a Fan Palm.

The Hills Figs along Smidmore Road near the lights are assessed as having a remaining life expectancy range of 5-15 years & have been allocated a ‘consider for retention’ label. 4 others outside the building have been assessed as only having a remaining life expectancy range of less than 5 years.

The trees of Marrickville Metro have been butchered from the roots to the branches for many decades by poor pruning & damage from lawn mowing.  Vehicles have wounded their trunks.  Trolleys have been smashed against them as well as an array of other events where they have come off second best.  Most have very little growing space, receive very little water & nutrients.  Despite appalling conditions, they are growing strong.  Residents I have spoken with who live opposite have not noticed any deterioration in their health.  That many of these trees are not expected to live longer than the next 5 years surprises me.

Showing the canopy of the Hills Figs from the car park of. It's obvious that these trees surrounding Marrickville Metro will create difficulty getting building material over their canopy to the car park if they were to remain

The canopy of the Fig trees poses a significant problem getting building materials to the upper storey, but not if they are removed.  Metro have a new vision of how the complex will look and this doesn’t include a line of trees around the perimeter walls.  The trees prevent visible signage & make cladding the walls in white panels with artistic rods pointless if you cannot see this.  Remove the trees & you get a ‘nice,’ new streamlined modern look.

AMP Capital fully intends to go through with the Metro expansion despite the opposition from a significant number in the community & Marrickville Council.  They are open in saying they want Metro to be the new Town Centre.  The wording on their plans makes out that we will all be extremely better off if the Metro expansion goes ahead & there will be negligible negative impacts.  AMP Capital have been planning this since at least 2005 so have had plenty of time & a number of expert consultancy firms working on all aspects of the process.  4 months all up of community consultation is a blip on the radar.  They would not understand that many in the community would like to keep the trees of Metro & keep the building the same size as it is currently.  Keeping the building the same size does not in any way impede improving the centre both in outlook, in variety of shops or the shopping experience.  Frankly, the community will need to shout loud & in large numbers if there is any chance of keeping these trees.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 18th March 2011.  Your submission need not be a detailed lengthy document.  MetroWatch has a draft submission on their website – The NSW Department of Planning prefers electronic submissions. Both the plans & the box for submissions is at this link  –

I have put up a YouTube of the Trees of Marrickville Metro.  I am convinced that removing these trees is the equivalent to removing a park.  The trees do an immensely important job of removing CO2 & particulate matter & improving air quality in this heavy traffic area.  They add significant beauty & are an important habitat & food source for a variety of birds & flying-foxes.  This has got to count for something.


Marrickville Metro chopped down a Celtis sinensis (Nettle tree) last Thurday March 3rd 2011. See –

A resident telephoned Marrickville Council yesterday Friday March 4th 2011 to discuss the tree removal at Metro & was told –

  • The Celtis tree is not an exempt species under the current Marrickville Council Tree Preservation Order 2007. (This is in direct contradiction to what she was told the previous day)
  • Because the plans to expand Marrickville Metro are with the NSW Dept of Planning & on public exhibition until 18 March 2011 it would appear that Metro have removed the tree without consent.  A Compliance Officer would have to investigate.
  • The next steps would be to prove that the Metro Management had ordered the removal of the tree. However, it is often difficult to prove these things, difficult to prosecute & often these matters do not end up going to prosecution.  (Try saying that to Waverley Local Council who took a resident to Court last February 2011 where the resident was fined $19,000 for cutting through what he described as a ‘fat root’ of an old Brush Box growing outside his home. & the Adelaide tree lopper fined $22,500 last February 2011 for cutting down a River Red Gum. )
  • The resident was asked to send an email to Council with all the information about the incident & Council would follow up on Monday.


A resident contacted me this morning to tell me that the Moreton Bay Fig (that I think should be classified heritage) outside the plaza entrance of Marrickville Metro had a number of branches cut back to the trunk & that another tall tree next to the Mill House was in the process of being axed.  The tree is gone now, except for the stump.

The resident rang Marrickville Council who had no record of this & were unaware it was happening.  The resident called Council back 1 hour later & was told that the Ranger had been sent to inspect.  Council said the tree that has been chopped down was not subject to preservation & is on the list of 10 trees on Council’s website that are exempt.

As far as I can tell, this was a Nettle tree. There are 36 other Nettle trees on site that Marrickville Metro has earmarked for removal. Marrickville Metro plans to remove a considerable number of other trees, including Figs.

The expansion of Marrickville Metro is currently out for Round 2 of public consultation until Friday 18th March 2011.  I thought this would have meant that Metro would not be able to proceed with their plans until given final permission by the NSW Department of Planning.

The tree that was chopped down this morning is labeled ‘low landscape’ & ‘priority removal’ on Metro’s expansion plans. So, does that mean they have started before the decision-making process is complete?

Community group MetroWatch is opposing the expansion of Marrickville Metro with the support of the Marrickville Councillors. They believe the current plans will create many serious problems for the greater community, not just those residences around Metro –

You can see the trees of Marrickville Metro in this YouTube video –

The plans are out for community consultation until 18th March 2011


I found the following ICAC media release which recommends reforms to the Part 3A development approval process & include it for those who are interested.

“ICAC recommends reforms to Part 3A of the NSW Planning legislation

Monday 13 December 2010

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) recommends that the NSW Minister for Planning refer private sector applications under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979, which exceed development standards by more than 25%, to an independent quasi-judicial body for determination.

The Commission recommends that this role be assumed by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC). In view of the important functions the PAC would assume, the Commission makes recommendations to strengthen its independence & to ensure that it is composed of appropriate persons, on a full-time basis but with a limited tenure.

The Commission’s report, The exercise of discretion under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 & the State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Development) 2005, released today, makes altogether 20 recommendations to more effectively manage & mitigate potential corruption risks in the Part 3A process.

Commencing in 2005, Part 3A consolidates the different assessment & approval regimes for “major” projects in NSW determined by the Minister for Planning. The State Environmental Planning Policy (Major Development) 2005 (the MD SEPP) identifies several classes of Part 3A projects including significant private developments (for example, residential flats & commercial developments), & public sector infrastructure projects (for example, desalination plants & pipelines).

The ICAC recognises that it is appropriate that in many of these classes the Part 3A discretion should continue to be vested in the Minister. Nevertheless, in other situations there is a risk that perception may arise of corrupt influences playing a part in the Part 3A decision-making process. The key issue is the adequacy of safeguards when such Part 3A discretions are exercised. The need for adequacy of safeguards applies to elected or unelected officials at every level of government.

“The Part 3A system is characterised by a lack of published, objective criteria,” the report says. “There are also various elements of Part 3A that are discretionary, particularly as regards residential & commercial development, which are prohibited or exceed existing development standards. The existence of a wide discretion to approve projects that are contrary to local plans & do not necessarily conform to state strategic plans has the potential to deliver sizable windfall gains to particular applicants. This creates a corruption risk and a community perception of a lack of appropriate boundaries.”

While there are no established examples of the corrupt use or manipulation of discretion under Part 3A there is, nonetheless, considerable discretion built into Part 3A. Similar kinds of discretion have been the subject of several Commission investigations & investigations in other jurisdictions & beyond.

Under the current system, the Minister has the discretion to declare a project to be a Part 3A project by Ministerial Order. It is the loose criteria & the broad discretion that potentially give rise to perceptions of undue influence. The risk of this occurring is heightened by the Minister not being bound by the provisions of local environmental plans (& SEPPs generally, in the case of critical infrastructure projects).

To limit discretion & improve safeguards, the ICAC recommends that the NSW Government amend the EP&A Act to limit the application of Part 3A to projects that are permissible under existing planning instruments. The Commission also recommends that the PAC perform a gateway role, by way of independent scrutiny, in reviewing proposals to call in private sector projects via specific Ministerial Order.

The Commission & the NSW Department of Planning established a joint task force this year to examine whether there were corruption risks attached to Part 3A & to develop measures to address any of the identified risks. The Commission acknowledges the valuable assistance provided by the Department in participating in the task force.

However, the report has been prepared in its entirety by the Commission, & consequently its recommendations are those of the ICAC.”

To read the full report –



Today the NSW Department of Planning put the Marrickville Metro expansion plans for exhibition on their website. Thanks to MetroWatch for letting me know. As I understand the process, The NSW Department of Planning has accepted AMP Capital’s plans for Marrickville Metro for review & assessment.

MetroWatch writes, “…it does appear clear that AMPCI have still not addressed traffic issues, on street parking in residential areas, loss of business to shopping strips, loss of amenity to residents immediately surrounding the Metro, & they also refute the assertion that their community consultation was not adequate. In other words, most if not all of our issues remain a concern!”

The community has 1-month to send a submission to the Department of Planning about the exhibited plans for an expanded Marrickville Metro.  The deadline for submission is Friday 18th March 2011.  You can download the plans here –

Just some of the trees surrounding Marrickville Metro

This was the Development Assessment Committee Meeting. Absent: Clrs Peters & Wright. Mayor Iskandar & Clr Hanna were both very ill & I hope they get better quickly.  The following is my understanding of the meeting & all mistakes are mine.

The Gallery was full mostly with the community who came for Item 8 – the Marrickville Metro expansion.  This was dealt with first & I did not remain for the other agenda items that were DAs for individual houses.

Part 3A Redevelopment of Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre – Clrs Hanna, Macri & Thanos declared a pecuniary interest because they own shops in Dulwich Hill & Marickville & left the chamber.  Clr Hanna is also the President of Marrickville Chamber of Commerce.

Marrickville Metro want to buy Smidmore Street. Every bit of green is a tree at risk of removal.

4 people spoke, 1 for the expansion & 3 against.  The person who spoke for the expansion worked as a taxi driver & said his previous work as an engineer made him have much concern for various aspects of the plan.  He said that the Metro plan has 3 taxi spots which is not enough as Marrickville Rank is the main place to get jobs in the area.  He had assessed the roads around Marrickville Metro & thought the levels suggested in the Drainage Report were insufficient & needed to be lowered 1.5 metres. The parking also needed to be lowered with standard barrier kerbs.  He thought that as Murray Street was the major access for trucks, when they back into ramps they will block traffic substantially.  He reminded Council that Marrickville Council IS the Roads Authority & the sale is not part of the plan.

He said heavy-duty pavement was needed at bus stops & bi-pass traffic hasn’t been discussed. He wanted a deferred commencement until stormwater & overflow issues for Murray Street, Edinburgh Road were addressed.  He said he presumed Council will sell Smidmore Street & therefore didn’t include the issues of this street.  He said the roads sit high while drainage sits under concrete ramps. He finished off with saying at least $1.5 million for road construction is needed before the Metro expansion goes ahead.

Three speakers spoke against the Marrickville Metro expansion. Some of the issues they raised were:

  • the high level of disturbances, noise & litter that will only worsen should the Marrickville Metro expansion go ahead,
  • it was a grossly inappropriately & high development not near a main road & surrounded on 3 sides by residential heritage houses,
  • the expansion will affect our community indelibly in the future,
  • AMP Capital have had a long-term lobbying campaign & that they are doubling the height, size & impact, not ‘revitalizing’ Metro,
  • traffic will significantly increase in surrounding areas,
  • although 2 of the speakers live opposite Metro, they have had no community consultation, nor have their neighbours,
  • their Traffic Management Plan is inadequate & will take away parking,
  • the loss of employment across Marrickville LGA would be massive as 50% of the money local shops currently earn will be lost,
  • an Arborist needs to look at the trees surrounding Metro  as these trees will be lost for the convenience of the developer,
  • the laneway access near Edinburgh & Victoria Roads gives access to 18 garages & it is already difficult to exit this laneway.  This area is a cross road, not a t-intersection & if the Marrickville Metro expansion goes ahead they may have to ask for traffic lights,
  • there are many road accidents in the area & frequent road rage that can be realistically expected to get worse,
  • delivery trucks to Marrickville Metro already break curfew & Metro intend to have 24 hour delivery hours,
  • there is no guarantee Marrickville Metro will not charge for parking as happens at Broadway Shopping Centre which will further increase the competition for parking,
  • They commended Council’s Report.

All these trees are at risk of removal as well - all up 142 trees are at risk of removal should the Metro expansion go ahead

Clr Tsardoulias said Marrickville Council doesn’t want the Marrickville Metro expansion to go ahead. Clr Byrne said Council will not consent to sell Smidmore Street & that a Marrickville Metro expansion will have a detrimental impact on both Marrickville & the broader community.  She said it was blindingly obvious it was a bad idea, that the plans are flawed & she was surprised it has got this far. She thought the loss of employment & the loss of trees are issues that need to be included in Council’s Report & reminded the community that the Minister for Planning is the final decision maker.

Clr O’Sullivan spoke about the devastation to shops on Glebe Point Road because of the Broadway Shopping Centre & Double Bay shops because of Westfield. She said the concept plan was amorphous & slippery & conducive to concealment. She also said IKEA will not be renewing its lease at Rhodes so Edgeware Road will become an artery.

Clr Phillips spoke about Marrickville Metro’s glossy PR shots which are deceptive & don’t show all the empty shops around the LGA. He thought their survey saying that most people want an expansion is also quite deceptive. He said Council doesn’t want the Town Centre at Metro & he didn’t support the sale of Smidmore Street.  He said AMP Capitol want a voluntary agreement of $800,000 to allow for community infrastructure in Metro, but we already have our own libraries & this is private space.  He mentioned 1,000 extra cars/hour on Saturdays & 500 extra/hour on Thursday nights.  He said if it wasn’t a Part 3A, it wouldn’t have a hope of being approved through Council.

If you stand on the current massive car park of Marrickville Metro, everywhere you look you see this beautiful canopy of Hills Fig trees that surround the perimeter

Clr Olive said that 13-55 Edinburgh was prohibited for reuse & that Marrickville Council’s Urban Strategy has never endorsed this kind of development. He said if the Minister approves it, he will be going against what the NSW state government has been telling Council for many years is not permitted. It should not go ahead & will be a detriment to the community.  Mayor Iskandar said we will fight the Metro expansion & we will win.  Clr Kontellis said Metro has been working on this for many years, that they asked for rezoning & it was given. She said 95% of Part 3A applications are approved & she felt cynical.

Clr Tsardoulias asked that the airspace in Smidmore Street be included in

This is a seriously big Fig with a girth of many metres. It stands near the front entrance of Marrickville Metro on Victoria Road.

Council’s Report & that Anthony Albanese had told him earlier that in excess of 500 submissions against the Marrickville Metro expansion have been received from the community. He said if the expansion goes ahead, local shops will have to drop staff & stay open longer to make up the difference.

One major aspect of Council’s Report is a recommendation to take Metro’s application to an Independent Hearing & Assessment panel (IHAP). This will allow the community another opportunity to speak about their objections to the plan.  The motion that Council make a submission along the lines of the report prepared by staff was carried unanimously.

Just a reminder that the deadline for submissions opposing the Marrickville Metro expansion is this Friday 10th September 2010. To read more about the issues see –

Submissions opposing the Marrickville Metro expansion were due by 27th August, but I am pleased to say a 2-week extension has been granted by the NSW Department of Planning.  Marrickville Council initially requested an extension of 30 days to allow the community 2 months to campaign against the Metro expansion.

The deadline for submissions is now Friday 10th September 2010.

Their e-mail is – It is called – Major Project – MP_0191 – 34 Victoria Road Marrickville.

To read about the issues & the potential loss of 142 healthy trees –

The periphery of Marrickville Metro is surrounded by trees. The site is a significant patch of green in this largely industrial area. Marrickville Council protected the wall and the brick path by a heritage order when Metro was built. This part of our history deserves preserving as well.

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

This week I counted the following trees around the current Marrickville Metro & the block where they intend to expand.

67 Fig trees, 9 Brush Box trees, 3 Camphor laurel trees, 8 Eucalypts, 4 Palm trees, 1 Canary Island Palm, 2 Melaleuca trees, 8 Bottlebrush trees, 4 Peppercorn trees, 10 Wattle trees & 26 unidentified species of trees.


There are another 24 medium trees on site that may be included in the development bringing the potential total tree loss to 166 trees.

Just some of the trees at risk of removal if the Marrickville Metro expansion goes ahead. The trees create a lovely ambience around the Metro, collect air pollution from vehicles, bring significant beauty to the area, sequester large amounts of CO2, help to lessen the Heat Island Effect & provide homes & food for urban wildlife. Their loss will be devastating.

AMP Capital say the Fig trees only have an average 5-15 years left to live. In ideal conditions, Figs live 150-200 years.  Although these trees are not in ideal conditions they are very healthy. To replace the trees they plan to plant 28 Eucalyptus paniculata (Grey Ironbark) along Murray Street & low level accent, grass & groundcovers “to ensure that general safety, sightlines & CPTED principals are maintained.” – meaning all signs & the building will be very visible as if the height of the new buildings is not enough.

More of the trees at risk of removal.

I think losing these trees will be a huge loss for the community, for air quality, for beauty of the area & for urban wildlife.  Currently most of Marrickville Metro is hidden behind large beautiful, healthy trees. I cannot imagine the area without them. Most of these trees are mature & took decades to grow.

Still more trees at risk of removal

The Metro expansion will also result in a 65-68% increase in traffic from an estimated extra 4 million customers a year. It will destroy our local shopping strips & remove much of the individual kind of shop that make the Inner West unique.

I asked a taxi driver standing outside Metro what he thought, thinking he would be for the expansion as it would bring him more business. He replied, “It will kill the local shops in Marrickville, Enmore & Newtown. I don’t think it will be good for us.”

Marrickville Metro want to buy Smidmore Street. Every bit of green is at risk of removal

AMP Capital also want to purchase Smidmore Street from Marrickville Council.  I think there is a big chance that Council will sell Smidmore Street to help with their financial situation.  In last Wednesday’s Sydney Morning Herald

Council sources said a figure of $8 million has been discussed for the purchase of Smidmore Street, along the shopping centre’s southern boundary, but that no formal offer has yet been made. Several councillors told the Herald the council is united in refusing to sell Smidmore Street ”on principle”, but would not comment on whether that position would change if the project gained approval.

In return for traffic gridlocked streets, parking problems, much more noise, air pollution, visual pollution & the potential loss of at least 142 beautiful trees, AMP Capital will give us many more shops like we can get at close-by Roselands, Eastgardens or Broadway shopping malls. They are also offering a small library & a community education board.

We already have a number of fabulous & free-to-use libraries courtesy of Marrickville Council & a public education board is nothing to get excited about.

The car park of Marrickville Metro is surrounded by the canopy of the Figs & other trees providing a buffer to surrounding properties & creating an ambience unknown anywhere else in Sydney. They also prevent particulate matter (known to cause lung & heart disease) from the vehicles from dropping onto the street & surrounding properties.

The expansion to double the size of the current Metro makes me wonder where the customers are going to come from. Around 2-3 years ago, all the shops in Metro were required to do a specific renovation as part of sprucing up Metro & their rents were raised.   A number of shops were struggling to meet this cost & some moved out to set up shop elsewhere.  Since then, there have always been vacant shops in Marrickville Metro.

I am of the belief that AMP Capital would not be investing millions to do the expansion if they weren’t absolutely sure they will make bucket-loads of money.

All these trees are at risk of removal as well

Right now the area is classified as a village, but if the expansion goes ahead, the Department of Planning may be within their rights to reclassify the area as a ‘Town Centre’ simply because of the size of Marrickville Metro.  This will mean that development in the league of Bondi Junction & Hurstville will be allowed.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see the industrial-zoned areas around Metro being rezoned residential.  Once that is done, a ‘unit city’ can be built very close to Metro.  Then, to cope with the massive increase in traffic, the M6, an arterial road that is planned for Edgeware Road may one day be built. Edgeware Road is already often bumper-to-bumper.  The Marrickville Transport Action Group say – Cardigan St, Edgeware Rd, Liberty St & Kingston Rd are key to the F6 plan.

Who knows if my theories have any weight, but it does make more sense as to why such a huge shopping mall is being planned when there are not enough current customers & it constantly has a number of empty shops.

The proposed Metro expansion is going to have a massive impact on Marrickville & surrounding suburbs in terms of traffic & pollution.  To my mind, it is not just an issue for residents who live nearby & shop owners, although it is an appalling prospect for them.  The expansion is an issue that will affect many of us because:

  • it will choke many of the roads that are at capacity now
  • it will likely weaken our shopping strips reducing choice & this often negatively affects variety of products & price
  • it will reduce competition
  • it will bring more 19-metre long semi-trailers to our narrow suburban streets  &
  • it will take away the community feeling that shopping strips help create, because these are public spaces where we retain all our rights as citizens, whereas shopping malls are private spaces under the control of developers/corporations.

Unless the community come out in great numbers & say they do not want the Metro expansion, it will happen.

If you are against any aspect of the planned expansion, please send in a submission to the Department of Planning by Friday 27th August 2010.  Their e-mail is –

It is called Major Project – MP_0191 – 34 Victoria Road Marrickville. If you would like a draft submission please send me an e-mail.

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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