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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.

Jacaranda tree in flower

Last week the Cumberland Courier reported that a Pymble solicitor who illegally removed a Jacaranda tree from his property was fined a total of $18,075 after being taken to court by Ku-ring-gai Council.  This action by Ku-ring-gai Council shows commitment to taking action to protect trees in an area renown for its significant green canopy & many large, tall trees.

The level of punishment ordered by the court will send a strong signal to those who are prepared to act against the community’s expectations that trees be protected. I expect the people of Ku-ring-gai Council LGA will be extremely reticent to chop down trees without council permission from now on. You can read the article by clicking on the following link – http://bit.ly/8FanNm

In the Dorset resort of Poole in the UK a row of mature Monterey pines, Cedars & Oaks protected by Tree Preservation Orders have been killed off by residents using hatchets, handsaws, drain cleaner & rock salt all for the sake of a sea view.  This news has traveled the internet like a virus which has surprised me.  They call it ‘tree-mugging.’  Council intends to deliver hefty fines (20,000 pounds) & possibly gaol time if they catch the perpetrators.  They must not have heard of the councils in Australia who erect large billboards saying “this billboard has been put here because of tree vandalism & will remain until the replacement tree has fully matured.”  I know that I would rather see a view through a leafy canopy than look at a billboard.

http://cumberland-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/ugly-trees-have-locals-hacked-off/

Down to the nearest growth point

The Cumberland Courier ran an article about another group of residents who complained about the street tree pruning by Energy Australia in Kens Road, Frenches Forest.  The residents say the energy company has left the street trees ugly & looking like telegraph poles. To read this article, click on the link just above this paragraph.

The council of the city of Milpitas USA took a creative approach to increasing their tree canopy.  Residents came home to find a letter speared into their front lawn with wire informing them that a tree was to be planted by the council in their front garden.  In one street, about 3/4s of the homes were targeted.  If residents didn’t want a tree planted, they were required to send a written appeal within 14 days.

Can you imagine the uproar if our Marrickville Council tried this?  Maybe a modified approach of offering free trees to residents to plant in their gardens would be successful.  It would have to be part of a concentrated campaign to green the LGA because council were offering a free plant from the Addison Road nursery late 09 to anyone who presented a coupon available in the free newspaper Marrickville Matters.  It would be interesting to know how many residents took up this offer. http://www.mercurynews.com/milpitas/ci_14181479

Peter Spenser of Shannon’s Flat NSW has come down from his tower & stopped his hunger strike after 52 days protesting the State Government’s refusal to allow him to clear his land of trees.  He wants a Royal Commission, compensation & “a Chardonnay.”

Richard Pennicuik who I have posted about on 10th December 09 & 5th January 10 is still sitting in the street tree outside his home in Perth suburb of Thornlie. The City of Gosnell Council must be pulling their hair out by now.  What to do?  Keep the healthy street trees in this street or continue to suffer the now world-wide bad publicity?

Old Palms in Marrickville. Unfortunately 11 palms on the opposite side of the street were chopped down in 2009 because of existing power lines - the residents were very upset & the street doesn't look nearly as good as it did before

Finally, a study in Landscape & Urban Planning by Geoffrey Donavan of the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station found that if a house in East Portland had street trees & tree canopy close by, the house sold for US$8,870 more & it sold faster. He said his research had some public policy implications in that, “Calculating the increased property tax revenue to the city & comparing it to the expense the city bears maintaining street trees, the authors estimate street trees have a benefit to cost ratio of 2 to 1. In Portland, the benefits of street trees significantly outweigh their maintenance costs.”

I did a google search & found a house for sale in East Portland – 3 beds, 1 bath, 475 sq metre with multiple tall trees at US$234,000. Can you believe these prices!

This is part of a current world trend that recognizes that good street trees increase property values.  Interesting if you consider the impact of severe pruning by energy companies.

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2010/01/donovan_study.html

Large branch sheared off Fig tree

There is a 3 sided block surrounded by large mature Hills Figs in Marrickville South.  One Fig trees is situated on Warren Road, the others along Renwick Street & Carrington Road.  I think there are around 13 Fig trees in total.  These trees would be eligible to be included in a Significant Tree Register, if we had one.  They are a landmark in the area.  Combined with the row of Palms probably planted in the same era (around 80-90 years ago) when the factories along Carrington Road were built, these trees make Carrington Road look far nicer than it would without them.

Two industries used the land for decades, cohabiting comfortably with the trees with large trucks driving in & out.  Unfortunately over the last 15 years the trees have suffered much trauma from severe pruning for the sake of electricity wires. Energy Australia deny pruning these trees & say they were pruned for a loading zone. However, there is a great big long hole through the canopy where the wires travel. (see Energy Australia letters)

Size 9 feet to show dimensions

A DA for the block of land was taken to the Land & Environment Court back in 2008 for a number of reasons, one of which was the proposed removal of 2 of these Fig trees to make way for entrance driveways.  On this issue, Marrickville Council & the community were successful in having the application refused.

Thanks to the Court ruling, these beautiful trees got to live on, with the next threat to their existence being the actual development of the site, which may or may not affect their root system.

This is major damage to this Fig tree

Two months ago, a truck crashed into one of the trees leaving multiple deep gashes in its trunk & causing the loss of one major branch.  A month ago a truck tore off half a tree.  Council had to cut what remained back to the trunk leaving a Fig tree with one branch.  How long before they say this tree is unstable, looks ugly & has to be removed?

Yesterday, I drove by & saw another major branch of one of these trees lying in the gutter.  I can safely assume a truck it ripped off because the area of damage is high off the road.  Council has cut this branch into 3 to make it easier to take away.  I assume they will also have to do work on the tree where the branch was sheared off.

I feel aghast at what is happening to these trees.  There are many trucks that use these streets & their presence is causing a lot of damage. I am sure this is a common story in other areas of Marrickville LGA.

You can see trucks have repeatedly gashed this branch

It is nothing less than vandalism & truck drivers should be required to take more care of street trees & other infrastructure if they are to use these streets.

I blame also the businesses that require the drivers to use extremely large trucks to cut down on the amount of deliveries as a way of increasing profit margin.  While they make money, they are destroying the area.

This was a thriving Fig tree not too long ago. How can this be okay?

If a truck has to drive over a footpath to take a corner, it is too big to be using these narrow streets.  If the driver sees a tree canopy overhead, they can take measures to ensure they do not take branches with them. Council certainly makes sure that the branches of our street trees are high off the ground.  I suspect it wasn’t a passing truck which caused this latest damage.  Many trucks use this area to park overnight.  Seems trying to park a high truck near the kerb brought the vehicle within reach of the canopy and brought the branch down.

It also needs to be said that Carrington Road is a very wide road, certainly big enough for trucks to use & the tree canopy does not restrict passage.

Other news – on 10th December 09 I wrote about a Perth man who was sitting in a street tree to prevent its removal. (see post This is Commitment)  Well, he is still there.

His name is Richard Pennicuik & he lives in the Perth suburb of Thornlie.  He is protesting the proposed removal of 2 mature native street trees outside his property by the City of Gosnell Council.  Apparently, the Council has chopped down 20 other mature street trees in his street & plans to remove the remaining trees. Richard Pennicuik is refusing to come down from the tree until Council reverse their decision to remove these street trees.

Gosnell Council wrote to Mr Pennicuik saying they would not remove the trees for 3 months if he would come down from the tree & discuss the issue with them.  They have also said they will plant native tree species instead of their original intention to plant exotics.  He says this is insufficient & will not be coming down.  He believes the Council will remove the trees if he does.

Imagine spending 4 weeks up a tree & having so much commitment & love for trees to be willing to stay as long as necessary to save these trees.  Many of the comments on the net have been very derogatory towards Mr Pennicuik, but most of these comments have come from people who also chose to write less than positive comments about trees.  I respect Mr Pennicuik & wish him success.  He believes that the earth needs all its mature trees because of global warming & says he is also protesting for his children’s future.

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