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Showing the row of palm trees opposite the pool.  Note the gum tree closest to the right. Is this another indication that the palms will be removed?  I love gum trees, but once they drop a branch, many in the community demand the offending tree be removed because they are seen as dangerous.

Showing one of the paths being worked on.

Inner West Council has given notice of their intention to remove 5 “small trees adjacent to paths to be reconstructed this financial year.”

They gave the following reasons –

  • “The two figs are in very poor condition & have not improved over the last ten years.
  • The two water gums are impacted with the pathway reconstruction & widening.
  • The palm tree in the central rondel to allow for a larger canopy tree to be planted & enhance the views along the path axes.”

They say they will replace these trees this year between April to June 2018 with-

  • 1 × Ficus rubiginosa (1000L)
  • 1 × Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Rotundiloba’ (300L)
  • 1 × Eucalyptus pilularis (75L)
  • 1 × Ficus macrophylla (100L)

I went to have a look at the trees a couple of weekends ago & as far as I could make out, they had all been removed.  The areas where work was happening had been fenced off with cyclone fencing & shade cloth making it hard to see what was happening. The only tree I could identify with confidence was the palm in the central rondel & that had already been removed.

Prior to amalgamation Marrickville Council used to give 3-weeks for community consultation concerning tree removal.  I suspect now the new Inner West Council puts up notification as they start work or very close to the commencement of work.  I am not sure yet.  Certainly, the way they now do community consultation has changed.  They no longer give a period of notification with a deadline to contact the Council.

Two trees are being removed to widen the path.  I do not know whether the trees were located on one side of the path or one tree on each side.  Council does not say where all, but one tree is located.

It is worth thinking that all the paths have been like they were in 1943.  See an aerial map of Enmore Park taken in 1943 on Marrickville Heritage Society’s blog.  See – https://bit.ly/2rwAczp,   Why does Council need to widen the paths that have been this way for at least more than 7 decades?   The paths are certainly wide enough to give equal access.

The last time Council removed trees in Enmore Park was in October 2013 where they removed 15 trees, most of them old Moreton Bay & Port Jackson Fig trees.   See – https://bit.ly/2rvDNh0

One big Fig was removed from the corner of Llewellyn Street & Enmore Road & its trunk is still rotting slowly away in Steel Park Marrickville South.  If I am correct & the two Fig trees to be removed are in the same location, it will mean the corner will be bare indeed.

I have reservations about removing very old heritage trees even if they are in poor condition.  My reasons are that trees can be helped to recover, whereas our public trees do not get much help in terms of nutrients.  They get by with whatever rainfall they can get & nothing else.

Enmore Park is heritage-listed.  It was the first park to be established in Marrickville municipality, opening in two sections in May 1886 & on October 1893.  The Fig trees were likely planted at this time & therefore are heritage items too.

I think efforts could have been made to take care of them.  However, if Council has been making efforts to improve their health by providing them with water & nutrients, then I will retract these comments & admit my error.

Looking at fig trees in Petersham Park I can see the some are in declining health, but these trees still stand proud & everyone who sees them loves them.  I suspect it is the same for the Fig trees in Enmore Park as well.

I felt sad to see the big healthy palm tree in the central rondel had been removed for what appears to be Council’s design preference & not because the tree was sick, dangerous or inappropriate for the location.

To me removing this tree does not make sense considering this tree matched all the other palm trees that run both side of the pathway from Enmore Road to the central rondel & then only on one side due to the building of the pool, which resulted in a loss of more than 50 trees.  If you look down this row of trees, they take your eye onwards up Addison Road.

To replace with a “larger canopy tree”interrupts these two rows of palm trees, which are a strong feature of this park.  I hope the removal of this central palm does not indicate a future plan to remove all the palms.

Lastly Council removing 5 trees & replacing with only 4 trees is very disappointing.

Central rondel with stump of palm tree

Showing the central rondel without the palm tree and the row of palm trees that take the eye to Addison Road.

 

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Old & very lovely Camphor laurel tree in the front of the former Marrickville Hospital site – not to be chopped down yet.  I’d install a small garden around this tree with a seat that encircles the trunk for people to sit under its shady canopy. To me, this & the 5 Canary Island Palm trees already form the substance of what could be a beautiful park & matches the grounds of St Brigid’s Parish opposite.  It takes decades for trees to reach this size.  It will be a great loss if it does get chopped down.

The following is from the Development Assessment Committee Meeting 10th July 2012 paper – ‘Former Marrickville Hospital site – early works 182-186 Livingstone Road & 313-319 Marrickville Road, Marrickville.’  By necessity, I have only included some of the information pertaining to the trees on site.  You can view the whole document here – http://bit.ly/McKurr    The application was referred to Council’s Tree Management Officer who provided the following comments: (bold is my emphasis)

“Description of Trees: Trees protected under Council’s Tree Management Controls:  The submitted Arboricultural Report has been undertaken in the context of determining impacts to trees in relation to the proposed library development however the development application is for demolition works, tree works & site establishment & has been assessed as such.

63 trees have been assessed

The following 11 trees are ordinarily exempt however as they are located within the curtilage of a Heritage Item & within a HCA they are subject to Council’s Tree Management Controls:

• Trees 4a, 4b, 8, 9, 10, 13, 32, 46,51a, 51b & 56.
The removal of those trees are supported as they have poor health & / or condition & low retention values.

The following 27 trees (all with a low retention values) have been proposed for removal as they are within or close the future proposed works:

• Trees 7, 11, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35, 36, 37, 44, 45, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 59 & 60.

Whilst this application is not related to development on the site but rather to demolition & site establishment, the removal of those trees are supported as they are generally in poor condition &/or health & have been awarded low retention values & therefore removal is considered to be appropriate/reasonable in conjunction with demolition works. The removal of those trees, with the exception of Trees 21 & 23, are supported.  Trees 21 and 23 are located in close proximity to Trees 20, 22, 24 & 25 that are to be retained at this stage & therefore to limit any potential damage to these trees (to be retained), their removal is not supported at this time.

The following 10 trees (all with medium retention values) have been nominated for removal with the reason given that they are within, or too close to, the proposed excavation and or building footprint to retain:

• Trees 4, 5, 6, 16, 20, 22, 24, 33, 34 & 58.  Trees 4, 5 & 6 are Liquidambar styraciflua (Liquidambar) trees located adjacent to Building 7 where no works are proposed at this time. These trees do not require removal for the works as proposed in this application & removal is not supported at this time.

• Tree 16: Jacaranda mimosifolia (Jacaranda). Due to the suppressed canopy, moderate form & location directly adjacent Building 5 to be demolished the removal is supported.

Trees 20 & 22:  Casuarina glauca (Swamp Oaks). These trees are located close to the Marrickville Road frontage of the site and have been assessed as having a Moderate retention value. They contribute significantly to the amenity to the streetscape & do not require removal for the demolition works & therefore the removal of those trees, at this time, are not supported.

• Tree 24:  Allocasuarina torulosa (Forest Oak). Tree 24 contributes to the amenity to the streetscape & does not require removal for the demolition works & therefore the removal of this tree, at this time, is not supported.

Tree 33:  Allocasuarina torulosa (Forest Oak). This tree has a moderate retention value & does not require removal for the demolition works. The removal of this tree, at this time, is not supported.

Tree 34:  Casuarina glauca (Swamp Oak). This tree has a moderate retention value & does not require removal for the demolition works. The removal of this tree, at this time, is not supported.

• Tree 58:  Grevillea robusta (Silky Oak). Due to the close proximity of this tree to buildings where works are being undertaken & the limited amenity value due to the location within an internal courtyard the removal of this tree is supported. 

• Tree 25:  Cinnamonum camphora (Camphor Laurel) has been assessed as having a ‘high’ retention value & is nominated for removal. Despite the tree not being assessed as being significant in relation to the heritage of the site it is located close to the Marrickville Road frontage & is considered to be a significant feature contributing to the amenity of the streetscape. The tree does not require removal for the demolition works & therefore the removal of this tree, at this time, is not supported.

Trees located on adjacent sites:

Trees 1, 2 & 3 are not likely to be impacted by works associated with this application.  

Trees to be retained during demolition & associated works:

Trees 4, 5 & 6.  Located adjacent to Building 7. These trees are not likely to be impacted by the works associated with this application.

Trees  12, 14 & 15.  Located within the front setback of the cottages facing Livingstone Road. These trees are not likely to be impacted by the works associated with this application.

To be retained and protected during demolition works:

Trees 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 33, 49 & 34.  To be retained & protected during demolition works. Tree fencing condition provided.

• Trees  38, 39, 40, 41 & 42.  Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island Date Palms).  These palms in relation to the surrounding landscape also have a significant amenity value & as such have been rated as having a ‘high’ retention value by in the Arborist’s assessment. These palms are to be retained & protected during the demolition works. Tree fencing condition provided.

Tree 77 Tristania laurina (Water Gum). Street tree to be retained & protected.” 

63 trees assessed. 49 trees recommended for removal.  Of the 49 trees, 13 removals were not supported by the Tree Manager. Thus, 36 trees are to be removed.  No information on 5 trees.   It was pleasing to see that the best trees on site, the spectacular Camphor laurel & the 5 Canary Island Palms that front Marrickville Road are to be retained – at least for the this stage of the development.  If the park that was originally planned for this location is moved somewhere else on the site, then the Camphor laurel at least will be chopped down.

In summary tree number: 1 not on site, 2 not on site, 3 not on site, 4a removal, 4b removal, 4 nominated for removal – not supported (I’m confused here), 5 nominated for removal – not supported, 6 nominated for removal – not supported, 7  removal, 8  removal, 9  removal, 10 removal, 11  removal, 12 retained, 13  removal, 14 retained, 15 retained, 16 nominated for removal – not supported, 17  removal, 18  removal, 19  removal, 20 nominated for removal – not supported, 21  recommended for removal  – not supported, 22 nominated for removal – not supported, 23  recommended for removal – not supported, 24  nominated for removal – not supported, 25  retained, 25 nominated for removal – not supported, 26  removal, 27  removal, 28 no information, 29   removal, 30  removal, 31  removal, 32 removal, 33  nominated for removal – not supported, 34  nominated for removal – not supported, 35  removal, 36  removal, 37  removal, 38 retained, 39 retained, 40 retained, 41 retained, 42 retained, 43 no information, 44  removal, 45  removal, 46  removal, 47  removal, 48  removal, 49 retained, 50  removal, 51a  removal, 51b  removal, 52  removal, 53  removal, 54  removal, 55  removal, 56  removal, 57  removal, 58  nominated for removal – not supported, 59  removal, 60  removal, 61 no information, 62 no information, 63 no information & number 77 – a street tree – retained.

The Councillors did not discuss the item & voted unanimously to approve the report.

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