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Verge gardens along here will make it a much nicer place to live & walk.

Verge gardens along here will make it a much nicer place to live & walk.

I had been told about new verge gardens being created by Marrickville Council on Unwins Bridge Road, but had no idea where on this lengthy road they were or how much depaving was being done.

Marrickville Council has created 32 new verge gardens from almost the corner of Campbell Street all the way to Mary Street.  Right now it looks like a building site, which it is.  When the work is completed though, this stretch on Unwins Bridge Road will look significantly better than it did before.

The community & wildlife will be much better off for any depaving & the creation of gardens.  Verge gardens & street trees will help with the pollution in this area as the trees & plants will collect particulate matter from passing vehicles. They also help lower the urban heat island effect & add beauty, which adds to property values.  Also, a good-looking streetscape makes for a nicer place to live.

Imagine how the municipality would look if all the excess concrete was removed & replaced with green plants, more street trees & colour from flowers?   32 new verge gardens in this location is significant. I thank Marrickville Council for doing this & can’t wait to discover their future depaving projects making our municipality a nicer, more attractive, sustainable & healthy place to live.

Another view

Another view

The street trees are going to have a better time

The street trees are going to have a better time

Seen in St Peters on a street where there are no street trees. It shows the need for green.

In another a treeless street in St Peters a factory has beautified the street by putting many pots plants outside on the footpath & even above the entrance.

There are even more pot plants to the right. The workers here told me that these plants make them feel better. I think it looks great.

Local community group ‘Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas’ are holding a rally to protest the impending drilling for coal seam gas by Dart Energy at the Dial a Dump site in St Peters.  The rally will also be calling on the NSW government to prohibit coal seam gas mining in Sydney until all water, health & other environmental impacts are revealed.

There is much for the community to be concerned about with Dart Energy’s mine in St Peters.  Recently the Queensland government banned coal seam gas mines within 2km of a residential community of 1,000 people or more.  Here in NSW, coal seam gas mining is proposed around 4km from Sydney CBD in a high-density residential area.  This will be the first time a coal seam gas mine has been established in an Australian city.

Dart Energy intends to use a horizontal drilling technique that will allow them to drill 3.8kms & up to 6kms in all directions from the St Peters mine.  Click on the map below to see just how far 4kms is in each direction. It’s actually most of the Inner West, which makes this an issue for many more people than just those who live in St Peters.

Coal seam gas is touted as clean energy, but in reality it is just as dirty as coal once all factors in the process are taken into account. 

“Burning CSG emits less carbon into the atmosphere, but in the process huge quantities of methane are released.  The methane is, say, 20 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.” ~ Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

There is a significant risk of accidents that could contaminate groundwater.  In this case it is the Botany Bay aquifer, the Alexandra Canal & the Cooks River.  Wolli Creek & Muddy Creek, the lakes of Sydney Park & The Lakes Golf Club are also in the 3.8km zone, as is Botany Bay near Kyeemagh.

There is currently no known method to remediate groundwater once it is contaminated. 

Coal seam gas mines have also been known to leak methane gas.  It is highly explosive adding another serious risk.  See a short YouTube video taken on 21st July 2011 of a leaking pipe at in the Pilliga posted by Jeremy Buckingham MP –

Trucks will be bringing in water for the mining process. If Dart Energy does decide to use fracking to access the gas, more water will need to be trucked in & the polluted water will need to be put into ponds to evaporate.  Being nothing more than a hole lined with black pond liner, these evaporation ponds are open to wildlife & anything else that comes to the pond.  Problems like pond liners not in the correct position will mean that the polluted water will flow through the ground to our local waterways & the Botany Aquifer itself.  An example can be seen here –

There are a number of other serious concerns with coal seam gas mining. You can read about them, join Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas &/or  contact the organizers here –

You can watch the award-winning documentary Gasland for free here –


I made a short video of the St Peters drill site & surrounding area here –

So, for your diary…..


WHEN:   Sunday 18th September 2011

TIME:  11am – 3pm

WHERE: Meet at 11am Camperdown Memorial Park – corner Lennox & Eliza Streets Newtown.

The rally will march down King Street to outside the drill site at St Peters & then a further 100-metres to the finish at Sydney Park where there will be speakers & music. Food will be available.  Dress for the weather, wear waking shoes & bring water.

This google map shows 4kms from the Dial a Dump site in a number of directions. Click to enlarge.

Part of the fabulous green wall

Last stop on Marrickville Council’s Water Sensitive Urban Design tour was an old factory in St Peters. The owners Ricci & Judi have renovated the building into a residence with separate space for artists’ studios.  The building is thought to be built in the 1870s & to support this theory, a 1872-penny was found under the front door foundation during renovations.  This property has a number of amazing features & after reading the information sheet handed out by Council staff, I know I have missed things during our visit.

On the ground floor, where trucks would have once made deliveries, they have kept parking space, but have made a green wall & suspended a water tank 3 metres above the ground & against a wall. The green wall is lovely to look at & is watered by a well thought out drip-feeding system.  Rainwater from the 200 square metre roof of the property is captured into 2 rainwater tanks. The first has a 3,500 litre capacity & feeds the 5 toilets & the washing machine. Another 1,000 litre tank captures the overflow from the first tank & the water is used for the garden areas.

Water is pumped from the rainwater tanks to the rooftop garden. Here there are tough native plants & trees plus a vegetable garden that is growing well.  After watering the plants here, the rainwater filters through a series of pipes to water the vertical garden & an onsite rain garden.  Any overflow leaves the property to eventually flow into the Cooks River.  All the drip systems are hidden. You get the green feel & outlook without having to see pipes, although they wouldn’t look out of place anyway.

The rooftop garden is a delight & reinforces my desire to have these become a norm in Marrickville LGA.   One other thing about green roofs that I have written about previously is that they last around 3 times longer than ordinary roof treatments so it makes economic sense to create them. In this rooftop garden, 3 layers of waterproof membrane have been installed. Planter boxes have root barriers & drainage cells are at the bottom of each planter bed. These capture rainwater & any excess is channeled to the drains & used in a garden somewhere else on the property.

Ricci & Judi have reused most of the building materials in the property for the renovation. They have even made some very nice tables from old wood on the site. Essentially, this family recycled a most of the building materials that were on the property & much of what they brought from elsewhere was also recycled.

They don’t waste any natural resources, yet manage to live in a lovely & creative environment.  Although this is an industrial building in an industrial area, there are areas of great beauty.

There is much that I have not covered in all 3 properties.  If you are interested in this sort of thing & want to save money & lower your carbon footprint, I highly recommend attending this free! tour.  I’ll post details if I hear when a tour is available.  Well done to Marrickville Council for organizing such an activity & to their staff who were friendly, helpful & made sure we were not left behind.   They also watered & fed us which was an unexpected treat.  Do this tour if you can.

Thank you also to the residents who kindly opened their houses for us to see.  Your sharing has inspired us & shown that environmentally-friendly changes can be done around the home without too much trouble & with great outcomes.

I made a short YouTube video of  this residence here –

You can read about House Number 1 here ––-part-1/

& House Number 2 here ––-part-2/

I wrote about the benefits of green roofs here –

A section of the rooftop showing one of the gardens. The tree is an Olive. There are plants in pots, a vegetable garden & plants in garden beds around the top of 2 of the exterior walls

In 2010 the film Gaslands hit the screens & shocked people across the world.  If you want to learn about the impact of coal seam gas mining & fracking, this is the film to see.

This event has been organised by the community group Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas to protest the secretive plans for Coal Seam Gas exploration in St Peters.

When:           Saturday February 5th 2011

Time:             7:00pm – 10:00pm

Location:      Sydney Park, corner of Euston & Campbell Streets

St Peters

Cost:               Free.

A fundraising barbeque & drinks will happen from 7pm, the film screening is at 8pm.   There is plenty of parking.  Bring a blanket & your family & friends. It’s a gorgeous location to watch an open air film.


the community does not want this road through Tempe

Today, around 300 people attended a protest walk across Tempe Reserve to the RTA’s community consultation about the planned 4 lane arterial road.  The walkers could be heard chanting as they approached.  Then with a roar, they came around the trees & stood facing the tent where about 20 people were listening to a talk by the RTA on the ‘road to nowhere.’

The ‘No WAY RTA’ banner carried by local residents led the walk closely followed by the Marrickville Council banner carried by Councillors O’Sullivan, Olive, Peters, Phillips, Byrne & Mayor Iskandar. State Greens MP Lee Rhiannon also attended.  Many people expressed disappointment that other State & local MPs were not in attendance.

After a few minutes the crowd progressed to the tent & listened to the speaker.  The protesters respected that the RTA staff had a job to do & did not interrupt.  Besides, the information about this road has been vague, so everyone wanted to know the details of what was being proposed.

I asked about the location & height of the 4 lane arterial road & how many trees will be chopped down to achieve this.  The staff member said he had no idea, acknowledging, “Some trees will have to go.”  He did however, show me the route of the road & said, “It will be at least 10 metres above the ground, higher in some places.”  He said the road could not travel along the Alexandria Canal because it will cross the flight path.  Another person pointed out that the intended route put the road on top of a hill travelling in the same direction & this would also affect the flight path so the rationale didn’t make sense.  I think there is a plan cooking somewhere to build units along the Alexandria Canal.

The details of the proposed 4 lane arterial road as I understood are:

  • The road will require the removal of many mature trees in a park on the Rockdale Council side of the Cooks River (do they care?)
  • It will cross the Cooks River & travel between the mature Fig tree situated on the point of Tempe Reserve & the Robyn Webster Sports Centre (the white building with the brown drawings designed & painted by Aboriginal artist Bronwyn Bancroft as part of the Marrickville Council Public Arts Strategy in 2004)
  • 2-3 mature Fig trees look to be in the way of the road, however the staff member said this was only a guideline & may change
  • The road will go through & above the seating in rotundas, the barbeque areas & the extensive & well loved playground
  • It will then follow the curve of the park along Alexandria Canal cutting off access to the water (I doubt people will want to sit under a 4 lane highway)
  • Then it will cut through the urban forest on the city-side of the park before it travels along the crest of the hill just above Tempe Wetlands, & beside a golf driving range.  It will overlook houses in Tempe & most certainly be visible from the Princes Highway
  • The road will stop at Sydney Park & much of the 15,000 vehicles/day will end up on King Street & Euston Road

at today's protest

This road is of great concern because of pollution, noise, impact on the community, respiratory illnesses, damage to Tempe Reserve & the park on Kogarah side & both the Cooks River & the Alexandria Canal & will increase traffic through Newtown, St Peters & surrounds.

Community group Tempe 2020 are there to provide details about how this road will affect their community (see What’s on page).  SoT is concentrating on the impact it will have on trees, wildlife, the river & the Tempe Wetlands.

The well-utilised beautiful park on the Kogarah side of the river will be massively affected.  Here, I have photographed cormorants drying off their wings on the banks of the Cooks River.  It is filled with wildlife that will be severely impacted by the making of this road & the addition of thousands of vehicles speeding past each day.

Tempe Reserve is a beautiful park in its infancy.  Marrickville Council have spent millions repairing it & creating biologically diverse areas such as a salt marsh & ephemeral wetland to provide habitat for flora & fauna.  In about 10 years it will look significantly more beautiful as the current works will have established themselves & the trees will have matured. It is used by many people 7 days a week & not just for sporting activities. I do not think the community can afford to lose either park to a major road.

impact on Tempe Reserve

Most people are attracted to the point of the peninsula & Marrickville Council knows this because that’s where they put the barbeques, the playground & the seating & this is exactly where the RTA intend to put the road.

I feel annoyed that the State government & the RTA have so little respect & appreciation for these areas.  I can only assume that they, as many people in Sydney, don’t realise just what a jewel this area is.  Friends glaze over if I mention the Cooks River.  Years ago they heard it was ugly & dirty & this has remained in their consciousness.  Now it is full of lovely regrowth areas.

The State Government should be doing everything in their power to protect Tempe Wetlands & the Cooks River, which is also highly visible as one of the gateways to Sydney from the airport.  Sydney also needs to keep places like this for future generations & for wildlife.  This is a densely populated area of the inner west with few parks per capita.

The wildlife in my opinion is quite stressed with the rapid urbanisation & the continued loss of where they can live & find food.  Stopping on the perimeter of Tempe Wetlands to take photos today, the air was alive with the sounds of insects humming away.  Walk inside & you could be in a national park.

Not everything of beauty should be destroyed for more roads.  In my opinion, the State government are continuing to build this city for vehicles, not for people. As long as you encourage cars, roads will always be filled.  Spend the money earmarked for this project on public transport, not for a road system that ends nowhere & is going to force drivers into crowded Alexandria and King Street that is barely coping now.  Let the wildlife have a little pocket for themselves.  Future generations will thank you for it.



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