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Whenever I look at this photo I think of love - "He ain't heavy, he's my brother" kind of family love

I found a fabulous article by Brian Sewell: My plea to save the London tree -Everywhere the birds are nesting, but still the tree men come — surgeons they dub themselves, but butchers, despoilers, ravagers & rapists are terms that suit far better these barbarians at the garden gate. Mature trees are supposed to be inviolate, protected by preservation orders & even the most necessary & responsible pruning requires the display of notices of intent & consent from local planners, but these often useless safeguards are easily ignored.  Last week, to the north of my garden, down came a lofty eucalyptus, & to the south, a spreading Atlantic cedar, but not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, & within minutes they were altogether gone.

And further into the article – Developers fell them to crowd extra houses on a site, supermarkets to accommodate superstores, railways to keep leaves from the lines & local councils for safety reasons that are often absurd. We should cherish them & for every one felled, we should plant two.

There is a photo of the Royal Oak in Richmond Park estimated to age between 700 & 800 years old. This is amazing in itself as Oaks seldom survive past 600 years. The tree has huge split in its trunk that has got to be more than 2 metres long. Amazingly the local Council hasn’t chopped it down. They put a park bench right next to it instead. http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/lifestyle/article-23838965-brian-sewell-my-plea-to-save-the-london-tree.do

To Papua New GuineaAn article from The Guardian says – The forests of Papua New Guinea are being chopped down so quickly that more than half its trees could be lost by 2021. Mostly the deforestation is done by multinational logging companies.  Satellite imaging has recorded the loss of rainforest since the 1970s.  Like many other poorer countries, Papua New Guinea says – rich countries should pay them to protect their forests as a way of tackling climate change. Personally I think this is a good idea & the only fair thing to do.  There is quite a strong movement coming from the UN to turn countries into ‘forest guardians’ rather than forest loggers. Papua New Guinea is the home to the world’s 3rd largest tropical forest so their contribution in the management of climate change is significant.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jun/03/forests.conservation

To Canada now where Trees Ontario is about to reach a total of 10 million trees planted in Ontario since 2004.  65 tree planting agency partners & over 2,000 landowners were responsible for planting the trees across the province.  The program started in 2004 when Trees Ontario and 2 agency partners planted 42,000 trees in 4 sites throughout the year. The year was so successful many other agencies joined. Six years later 65 agencies are involved, plus landowners.

In August 2007 the Ontario government started the 50 Million Trees program as part of its commitment to help fight climate change and green the province.   They plan to achieve this by 2020 just 10 years away.  Trees Ontario plans to plant 10 million trees per year by 2015 with the help of the government as part of its 50 Million Trees program.  Fantastic stuff.  http://www.treesontario.ca/news/index.php/10_million_trees

I admit I don't know what this sign means

Madagascar is home to the very precious & protected Rosewood tree. Unfortunately it is being illegally logged almost to extinction for Chinese business, who use the wood primarily to make replicas of antique furniture & musical instruments. You can see furniture made out of this wood in Sydney.  Trees with similar grain across Asia have been depleted so the forests of Madagascar are now being targeted. Estimates of the value of Rosewood trees felled over the past 12 months are $167 million or more. Serious money & without serious intervention it is highly likely the Rosewood will be logged to extinction unless people across the world decide on a policy of ethical shopping.  It is happening for coffee & chocolate, so why not Rosewood furniture, musical instruments & ornaments? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/world/africa/25madagascar.html

In the last week of May 2010, 52 nations attended a conference in Oslo & “agreed on a non-binding framework to funnel aid promised by the rich world & set up monitoring standards to ensure money flows are based on solid results. Such frameworks are known as Redd (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation & Degradation) programmes.”

According to the UN world global deforestation is responsible for more than the CO2 caused by vehicles, trains & planes. Each year forests the equivalent to the size of England are chopped down.  tp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/27/oslo-conference-aid-to-save-forests

In May 2010 research led by Professor Corey Bradshaw, of the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute found Australia was ranked as 7th worst in habitat conversion, 9th worst in fertilizer use & 10th worst in natural forest loss taking out overall 9th place of the 10 worst countries for environmental impact. I find this shameful. http://www.theage.com.au/environment/australias-global-footprint-one-of-the-worst-20100505-uape.html

“…since European colonisation we’ve lost over half of our forests & the ones that remain are largely fragmented, so we have done quite a bit of damage.” said Professor Bradshaw.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/06/2892501.htm

Casurina branch - the Cockatoos like to eat the seeds

The city of Seattle in the US is making significant changes to their urban agriculture guidelines for 2010, which is also the Year of Urban Agriculture.  I think this is of interest here, as world trends are starting to consider food-growing sources should be closer to cities because of transport costs, global warming, pollution & drought.  Seattle has a number of items in their guidelines including allowing more community gardens & urban farms in residential areas as well as on the top & sides of buildings (how exciting) & allow up to 8 female chickens per residence. http://cityfruit.org/blog/?p=883

Campus Road Community Garden, a more-than-6,000-square-foot community garden on the grounds of Brooklyn College in New York was to be paved over to make way for the expansion of an athletic field. (How this works I haven’t quite worked out). Instead a Judge blocked Brooklyn College from commencing this work & the case will go before the court on 25th June 2010.  Perhaps the community will get to keep their substantial community garden that has operated since 1997.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/brooklyn-college-blocked-from-paving-garden/

In Manchester USA insurance company The Cambridge Mutual Fire Insurance Co is suing a Council for negligence. They say the Council Tree Warden & the Council were “negligent & careless because the tree was not inspected & removed before falling” on the home of residents on 6 April  2009. The Council disputes this saying they inspected the tree & arrangements were made to chop it down 2 days before it fell on the house.  Now that’s bad luck. http://www.courant.com/community/manchester/hc-manchester-tree-lawsuit-0525-20100524,0,1190967.story

Not quite related, but interesting regardless, a 29 year old woman, who had been living in the Cambodian jungle since 1989 & was rescued in 2007, has escaped her family to return back into the jungle. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/breaking-news/cambodias-jungle-woman-flees-back-to-forest/story-e6freuyi-1225872614220?from=public_rss

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It was a very quiet meeting last night.  Councillors Kontellis, Thanos & Hanna were absent & Mayor Iskandar & Clr Tsardoulias had to leave for other engagements around half way through the agenda.  The following is how I understood the meeting.  All mistakes are mine.

First up was quest speaker Cathy Lloyd, London Co-ordinator & Director of Open Bethlehem which is trying to save Bethlehem by encouraging interfaith dialogue, peaceful cooperation & harmony.  She said only 15% of Bethlehem residents are Christian & if relations between religious groups do not improve, it is likely that the Christian churches in Bethlehem will be museums within a few years.  She will speak at St Luke’s Church in Enmore this Thursday night.

Then on to the Land Use, Assets & Corporate Committee Meeting.

South Ward Local Area Traffic: Marrickville Council’s report recommended 24 points & a few residents came to speak about various points in the report.

Traffic on Warren Road Marrickville South: one resident spoke against & 2 spoke for the recommendations.

The ‘for’ arguments were about the size of trucks using the streets with particular reference to the 19 metre trucks currently used by Woolworths, saying they were too long for the local streets, caused traffic grid-lock, road rage incidents, frequent property damage, increased the risk of accidents & lowered pedestrian safety amongst other issues.  They agreed Warren Road should be made one-way from Carrington to Illawarra Road & wanted traffic to be allowed to turn right from Renwick into Illawarra Road to stop a large percentage of traffic leaving Woolworths being forced to travel around the block to go west & north.

The ‘against’ argument reminded of past experience when roads were made one-way which resulted in significant traffic increases & also expressed concern that other residential streets would get more traffic as a result of Warren Rd & Schwebel Street being made one-way.  Mayor Iskandar & Clr Tsardoulias supported this fear.

Clr Macri suggested a 12 month trial to see if the one-way option worked, but a council staff member advised this wouldn’t be a good idea because if the trial was unsuccessful, the residents would not like losing their parking rights again.  Clr Marcri also said Woolworths needed to act responsibly & suggested council erect ‘concrete tank traps’ to stop damage by trucks to council property.

Clr O’Sullivan said 75% of Warren Road residents said they wanted Warren to become one-way with parking returned to them & 50% of Schwebell Street residents supported one-way for their street.

The outcome is the report will be open for community consultation soon before a final decision is voted upon.

Road closure in Wilford Lane Newtown:  One resident spoke, but I was not in the Gallery during this discussion.  The outcome was the issue was to return to the Traffic Committee.

Proposed Metro Bus service from Sydenham to Spit Junction in Mosman: A representative from the NSW State Transit Authority spoke about the proposed service saying buses will be the low to the ground, 19 metre ‘bendy-buses,’ air conditioned & wheelchair accessible.  After listing all the pluses of which there

Just to lighten up this post a little, here is a photo of Roundup madness

are many, he then said that Council would be expected to pay for all new signage, the relocation of other signage & a loading zone.  If Council didn’t agree to this, then State Transit may have to think seriously about NOT instigating this service or continuing to provide other bus services.

Sounded very much to me like Council was being held to ransom & Clr O’Sullivan used these exact words a few minutes later.

The cost of the signage is $9,000, which doesn’t seem much, but Marrickville Council is poor & this money will have to be taken away from essential works in the locality. Clr Phillips said with rates pegged at 2.6%, it was going to be very difficult for council to look after services & the state government should pay for the required signage.  This was supported by Clrs Byrne & O’Sullivan.  Clr Byrne said that currently only 17% of routes are accessible routes & only 18% of the buses were accessible.  Clr Macri said it was disappointing that this amount of money was being debated & the community would be prepared to pay for such a bus service.  The motion was carried.

Marrickville Local Environment Plan Update: Clr Phillips was disturbed that the Department of Planning did not want to include the McGill Street Masterplan rezoning in the LEP until Part 3A is settled “which this council is against.” Clr Byrne was concerned that Department of Planning wanted to remove ‘accessibility’ from the LEP.  The LEP will return at a later date.

Duration of council meetings:  All Councillors & the new GM thought meetings were too long.  It was noted that meetings run late when DAs are being decided upon & when many residents want to speak.  It was decided meetings will aim to finish by 10.30pm with a half hour extension if required & that Councillors could use responsibility & discipline & limit their need to speak, especially if others have said the same thing.

Government Information (Public Access) Act: This was about Freedom of Information applications, meaning what information you & I can get hold of.  One person has requested a recording of a council meeting & was supplied with the same.  Marrickville Council keeps audio recordings of their meetings for 3 months after they are approved, so you mustn’t delay if you want one.  You could apply for a transcript, but I have no idea how long they keep these.  However, the written word loses all other nuances that are clear with recordings.

Finally a recision motion was accepted to put mobility parking space outside a residential home in Newtown.  It had previously been declined, but new information regarding the level of disability was submitted.  9pm & the committee meeting was over.

In other council news of late, The Cumberland Courier published an article about Strathfield Councillor Danny Lim, including breach of code of conduct findings against him. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/in-spotlight-for-wrong-reasons/

Next, also from The Cumberland Courier, Camden Council finances are in surplus largely due to development. I wonder whether Marrickville Council is hoping for similar with Section 94 money helping their financial position to become viable. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/development-surge-boosts-camden-council-s-coffers/

The Manly Daily asked “Is Warringah Council back on track?” with an article addressing poor behaviour by Councillors & long meetings with one where the agenda was not completed. http://manly-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/warringah-councillors-try-to-get-with-agenda/

Lastly, another from the Cumberland Courier concerning Backpackers clogging Sydney’s local streets with their vehicles many up for sale.  Something to think about with the proposed DA for a 132 bed Backpackers in Addison Road Enmore with 7 parking spaces.  See Report from the Gallery – 2nd March 2010. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/backpacker-car-yards-on-our-streets/

Another tree lost from the St Vincent's de Paul complex at Lewisham - photo taken by Brigette - thanks

1. It’s with sadness I report another tree has gone from the St Vincent de Paul complex at Lewisham.  This time one of the lovely Eucalypts has been removed from the front of The Rectory in Thomas Street.  I was told recently that they intend to remove all the Eucalypts in the complex because of dropping branches, which is a crying shame because they all have 2-3 metre plus girths so they will be doing a terrific job at sequestering CO2.

All the Eucalypts are straight growing & as far as I can tell, don’t pose a threat to nearby buildings.  Most importantly, they support local wildlife.  I witnessed a family of Kookaburras perched in one & was told many birds have made these trees their home.

I don’t understand why a dying branch can’t be pruned.  Chopping the whole tree down seems to be overkill.  Oh well, less loveliness in the area & more cement.

The locals are extremely unhappy about the removal of this tree & some cried while they watched it being chopped down.  I can relate as I could not bear to watch the Stanmore Gum be removed last month as I knew it would be too upsetting.

2. Marrickville Council’s web-site has 2 street trees up for removal.  The first in Dixon Street Dulwich Hill is an old Eucalypt.  It’s a lovely tree, but it is riddled with borers & if left, will most definitely fall down.  I’d guess it to be of the stock that was planted in the early 70s.

This Dixon Street Eucalypt in Dulwich Hill is riddled with borers

The second tree is in Belmore Street Enmore.  This tree also has significant & obvious problems.  If left, it is likely to drop at least one branch soon.  Pruning will not help it as it has deep rot high up in its branches & in parts of its trunk.

Remember this post, because I have agreed 2 trees should be removed.

2 other trees up for removal are in Ivanhoe Street Marrickville.  They both have signs on them, but there is no mention of them on Council’s web-site.  Why?  How many other street trees go this way without notification on Council’s web-site?

3. The Cumberland Courier reported that Ryde City Council has just received a government grant of $97,566 to help protect fauna.  This is great news for the significant wildlife corridors between the Lane Cove & Parramatta Rivers. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/funding-to-help-fix-up-habitat-for-our-wildlife/

4.  Another Cumberland Courier news item reported that Liverpool Council is calling for suggestions for sites where they should undertake bush regeneration.  This will be funded by their environment levy.  Liverpool Mayor Waller said they have “funded some 30 bush regeneration projects…planted 147,757 trees & restored about 12.4km of creek line.”  Not bad!  This is a significant amount of tree planting & will be of major benefit as the years pass & the trees grow. http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/help-restore-liverpool-sites-to-their-natural-beauty/

5. The Cumberland Courier reported that Hornsby Council has a problem.  Local heritage Bunya trees dropped a 7kg nut through a roof of a resident’s house.  They will debate whether to pay for the seasonal removal of the Bunya nuts or chop the trees down.

I know which option I would choose.  How many Bunya trees are there in Sydney?  A day’s work (maximum) removing the nuts & the community gets to keep important & beautiful trees.  Has Hornsby Council ever thought of asking the local Aboriginal people if they would like the nuts?  I understand they taste wonderful & are prized bush tucker.   http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/bunya-debate-to-be-heard-by-full-council/

6. The Herald Scotland reported fantastic news that gained international attention & applause. The Scottish Government’s Scotland Rural Development Program has given a grant of 1 million pounds to create 600 acres of new native woodland & 193 acres of productive conifer woodland.  The area is the size of 323 international rugby pitches & will be planted out with 450,000 trees that are expected to sequester around 130,000 tonnes of CO2 over 50 years.   Interesting also is that Scotland is aiming to become zero carbon producers. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/transport-environment/450-000-trees-set-to-be-planted-in-woodland-scheme-1.1006809

7. The UN’s Billion Tree Campaign released its achievements saying that, by the end of 2009, participants in 170 countries had planted 7.4 billion trees (not a typo) This gives me hope for the future. http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/

8. Residents in Pittsfield Township, Ann Arbor USA came out & stopped the power company ITC Holdings Corp from chopping down several 25 year old trees which were within 10 metres of power lines.  The residents sought & were granted a restraining order against the company until a court hearing on 24 February 2010. Interesting reading & commendable commitment from residents. http://www.annarbor.com/news/pittsfield-township-homeowners-block-power-companys-attempts-to-cut-trees-today/

9. A letter was published in the Pub Beaufort Island Gazette, Hilton Head Island USA refuting the local airport’s stance that they need to chop down 1,400 trees on airport property & another 983 trees on private property supposedly for safety of planes.  However, removing these trees will seriously affect noise control & the area is a Bald Eagle habitat amongst other issues. phttp://www.islandpacket.com/opinion/letters/story/1135750.html

this street tree in Belmore St Enmore is diseased

10. If we lived in Portland Oregon, we would have the opportunity to be involved in their City-Wide Tree Project, which is deciding on regulations for trees to complement their urban forestry plan.  Portland is making the news a lot recently because they have officially recognised the benefits of street trees & have recently proven that property values increase significantly when there is a healthy street tree out front.  They calculate the benefit of a street tree at US$7,000 citing this is the cost of a new bathroom.  Try seeing what you get for that kind of money here!  House prices in Portland are also significantly cheaper than in Sydney.

Portland plans to increase their tree canopy by 50,000 street trees & 33,000 garden trees by 2015 (again, not a typo) to improve the lives of citizens & wildlife as well as help combat the effects of global warming.  This is quite different form the recent recommendation in a Marrickville Council report to councillors to remove 1,000 street trees a year for the next 5 years. The report  did propose to replace them with saplings, but how beneficial this will be is questionable as it says most do not survive.  http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2010/02/street_trees_increase_home_val.html

11. To end, Thornlie (Perth) man Richard Pennicuik is still sitting up in the street tree out front of his house after commencing his protest on 5th December 09 to stop Gosling Council from removing the street trees.  Judging by comments on internet-based reports about him, views about his protest are polarized.  Some think he is a hero.  Others are filled with hatred toward him.  Strange that people would be so abusive toward someone they don’t know & whose actions have zilch effect on them.  Me, I admire him & wish him success.

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