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We had a look at Campbell & Euston Roads around Sydney Park yesterday. Even though I expected this having seen the beginning of the demolition, actually looking at the carnage was difficult. I cannot believe the size of the spaghetti junction (officially known as the St Peters Interchange). It is mammoth.
I found it sad to look at mounds of earth where once were people’s homes & where a significant band of very tall trees once stood.
I am really interested to see if the artist’s impression of the green & leafy St Peters Interchange will actually look like it is depicted 10-years post completion. In the image trees soar above the elevated roadway. It looks almost utopian.
The Sydney Park side of Campbell Street has yet to undergo tree clearing. To see all those beautiful mature trees that will be chopped down & mulched is sobering. I hope we do not end up with yet another main road devoid of street trees.
The Euston Road side of Sydney Park is a mass of dirt. What was once thick trees in the park is now waiting to become bitumen. I don’t know whether this was true for all hours of the day, but whenever I have gone there, this road has always been sleepy. Yes, there was traffic, but not much of it. That will change once it becomes part of the motorway, but I do wonder where the traffic will go once it gets here.
While we were looking through the cyclone fencing at the old Dial a Dump site, a security man drove up & parked a couple of metres from where we were standing & watched us. I found this action surprising as we were on a public road outside a gate in broad daylight, dressed in normal clothes, making no movement to enter the property & carrying nothing more than a camera. He was parked further down Campbell Street, but chose to come real close. It was somewhat threatening.
Lastly, the Stop WestConnex community must be feeling vindicated when the news this week released that the $16.8 billion price tag for WestConnex motorway is projected to blossom to almost $29 billion more than expected, at least this is what analysis by the City of Sydney Council suggests.
“The analysis, which is disputed by the state government, argues WestConnex and its connecting roads combined will cost more than $45 billion, after the extra roads are added to the project’s $16.8 billion public price tag.”
Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore said, “Just one exit from WestConnex in St Peters, for example, will require more than $1 billion of publicly funded road upgrades to manage the extra 30,000 cars that will pour into the area daily.” See- http://bit.ly/2of6rjw
Every entrance & exit from WestConnex will require road work.
Around 5-6 years ago, Marrickville Council planted some red flowering gums along the verge on Livingstone Road near & in front of Marrickville Park. At the time, I was very surprised as I think Council rarely plants flowering gums. Imagine if the streets were full of flowering gums instead of those awful weed trees Evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithii), with their hundreds of thousands of seeds per tree. Flowering gums come in orange, hot pink, soft pink & red flowers & are food producing for nectar-eating wildlife. They are a short stature tree & perfect for under powerlines.
Unfortunately, Council was ripped off as these trees were the ones that only grow to 1 – 1.5 metres & over a very long time. I do remember there was talk about removing them in one council meeting, but that did not go any further.
Every year these trees would burst into flower & look terrific. Every time I passed I looked for them to assess their growth.
Last year Council planted six Queensland Brushbox trees outside the tennis courts on Livingstone Road in-between the flowering gums. I thought this was wonderful. Brushbox trees grow tall, look lovely & have a great canopy. This is the side of the road without powerlines so they could grow & eventually could create a visual link to the mature Brushbox trees in Marrickvile Park.
Unfortunately, only three of the newly planted Brushbox trees survived. It may have been the extraordinary heat over the summer. Who knows.
A few weeks ago I saw that the biggest red flowering gum, a quite substantial shrub really, had been vandalised. Someone had twisted & ripped off all but one branch. It must have taken them a great deal of strength & energy to do this because the branches were quite thick. Yet another public tree lost to an antisocial vandal who is against the public interest.
If I feel frustrated at the amount of tree vandalism that happens in the former Marrickville municipality, I think Council must be either pulling their hair out or numb with fatigue witnessing the destructive things the happen in public spaces.
There are some in our community who go out of their way to destroy any beauty in public spaces. They would not pick up rubbish or pull weeds out from the verge or footpath as “this is council’s job,” but they think they have a right to vandalise or destroy a street tree because it is in front of their house or planted in a place they think a tree should not be. I have heard people express this sentiment a lot & I’ve never understood the contradictory personal ideology that creates it.
I scoffed when I read today, the following statement in a 2015 article in The Conversation about tree vandalism (http://bit.ly/2n5Ixq7) – “Larger councils with 50-100,000 trees have somewhere between five and 10 trees killed each year.”
At last count in 2012 the former Marrickville municipality had 22,608 street trees & I doubt this number has changed much. I can say with complete confidence that at least 10 street trees are vandalised & killed each year just in the suburb of Marrickville, not the whole former Marrickville Council municipality.
Everyone must have read the Chinese proverb – “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
It takes at least a decade for most newly planted trees to start providing any real benefits in terms of shade, carbon sequestration, pollution uptake & oxygen output. The twenty years is needed to allow the tree time to grow into a decent size.
Anyway, Council has removed the three dead trees & the vandalised gum. When looking at my photos tonight I realised that I had a photo of another flowering gum in this particular block & that too has been removed. Maybe it was also vandalised. So that is five dead or vandalised trees in what is the space of 40-metres. Not bad hey?
I wrote a long list of reasons why I thought people vandalised trees here – http://bit.ly/2mCPnY8
Inner West Council has given notice that they intend to remove a Narrow-leafed red ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) opposite 6 Tramway Avenue Tempe.
Council gives the following reasons for removal –
- “Tree has significant crack in the main trunk causing it to be structurally unsound.
- The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public and property.”
Council says they will replace with a Red Iron Bark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) as part of the 2017 Street Tree Planting Program between May & September.
The deadline for submissions is Friday 3rd March 2017.
We have just returned from the ‘Save Sydney Park Festival’ organised by the WestConnex Action Group & Reclaim the Streets. We also visited the Camp of residents who have stayed in the park for the past 13 days. It has not been without drama though. At 3am on 20th September, police evicted the camp & the WestConnex Authority came & fenced off the campsite. The Camp moved further up the park & re-pitched their tents. Today a lone security guard sat in the fenced off area protecting the trees from the community for the WestConnex Authority. Taxpayers’ dollars at work. It’s the community which wants to save the trees.
The WestConnex Authority is preparing to chop down hundreds of trees along Campbell Street & Euston Road St Peters. If this wasn’t bad enough, they also intend to encroach 12-metres into Sydney Park itself & remove many mature trees, shrubs & gardens.
The WestConnex Action Group ( http://www.westconnexactiongroup.org.au ) says that, “The State Government is cutting down more than 350 trees & taking 14,000 square metres of Sydney Park to build their dirty toll road.”
The WestConnex Action Group has spent a significant number of people hours tying blue fabric around each tree to be removed. There is blue everywhere you look. Hundreds of decades old trees will be felled. Even worse is the blue fabric around massive trees inside Sydney Park. It is also reasonable to think that any tree within 10-metres of the work zone would also be at risk of dying if their roots extend into the work zone, so perhaps more precious trees will be casualties of this motorway.
Sydney Park may seem like a big park, but we don;t have much green space in the area & to lose any is terrible. Sydney Park is only across the road from the boundary of the old Marrickville Municipality. The old Marrickville municipality has the least green space in Australia. Therefore, Sydney Park is used a lot by this community, plus the community of the City of Sydney municipality & the numerous visitors who travel significant distance to spend time in the park. No wonder. It is a beautiful park that just keeps on improving every year.
So for the WestConnex Authority to take a whopping 14,000 square metres of Sydney Park in an area with very little green space is a huge loss.
Campbell Street & Euston Road St Peters will be widened into 6 lanes taking traffic from the St Peters Interchange (colloquially known as the Spaghetti Junction) to Alexandria, Mascot & Newtown then into surrounding roads originally built for horses with carts. The traffic bottle necks are going to be very frustrating to drivers & for the local community who are going to be hit with far more traffic than they have ever experienced, plus associated air pollution & health issues from the pollution.
The St Peters Interchange itself is massive & one wonders why it needs to be so large. Looking at the plans it looks to be three-quarters the size of Sydney Park.
An article published three days ago in the Telegraph, (which I am unable to access again to give you the link) said that 85,000 square metres of new parkland will be created under & around the St Peters Interchange. The new parkland will come with two ventilation stacks. The first public space is due to be opened in 2019 & the second in 2023.
Now I don’t know about you, but we will be very unlikely to choose to spend our time outdoors under a freeway spaghetti junction with particulate matter dropping down on us from the vehicles traveling above & pollution from the two ventilation stacks. It won’t matter how green the grass is.
It seems that the WestConnex Authority has carte blanche to seize public green space for this motorway. Just a couple of weeks ago they levelled 1.4 hectares of critically endangered REMNANT Cooks River Castlereagh Ironbark forest in Wolli Creek for a TEMPORARY car park. Unbelievable! See – http://bit.ly/2cpNw1i This action is a big fat “we just don’t care about the environment” by the WestConnex Authority, aka the NSW government.
The WestConnex Authority tried it on for historic Ashfield Park wanting to destroy heritage trees & take away community green space, again for a car park. See – http://bit.ly/2dkCivB Thankfully the community won & Ashfield Park was saved. Hopefully Sydney Park can also be saved.
My question to the NSW Government is – why do you choose to rob the Inner West community of green space? Why not purchase the industrial buildings across the road from Sydney Park to provide the space needed to widen the road? They certainly did not hesitate to force people out of their homes, so why not the same equity for industrial properties? Or why not build better public transport?
We looked around, spoke to numerous people & heard the anger, dismay & the concern for the park, the trees & the wildlife. Then we cycled around for a good look at what is proposed to be lost to road. Of concern is the wildlife – the Bell frogs, the Tawny frogmouths & number other birds & all the other creatures that live in the trees to be removed. The area subsumed comes mighty close to the bottom pond, which is also of concern. Hopefully my photos will show what is to be lost more effectively than my words.
From my memory three Lombardy poplar trees were planted at the front of the Revolution apartments on Illawarra Road Marrickville around 2 – 2.5 years ago, shortly after the development was completed. The trees were growing well. This species is fast growing, so they were noticeable on the streetscape.
Sometime in the last week all three trees were removed & replaced by orange safety cones. I have read reports that men with a truck removed the trees, so the trees were not removed by an opportunistic vandal.
Who knows why the trees were removed or even who removed them? There is no Notification of Removal on Inner West Councils website. Makes me sigh.
Inner West Council have given notification that they have removed a Small-Leaved Peppermint (Eucalyptus nicholii ) outside 73 Station Street Petersham.
Council gave the following reasons for removal –
- “Tree was in poor condition with structural root instability.
- Active termites & advanced internal decay at base.
- The tree posed an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”
They say they will replace this tree with a Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) in the 2017 Street Tree Planting Program.
Inner West Council plans the following upgrades for Mackey Park –
- Install 15 new seats.
- Install 4 picnic tables along the river frontage
- Install 2 new barbeques at river frontage.
- Install bike racks
- Install exercise equipment.
- Install a new shade structure adjacent to the playground.
- Install barbecue facilities in the playground.
- Provide additional seating in the playground.
- Install new playground equipment.
- Repaint the River Canoe Club with a mural.
- Plant a 1.5-2 metre salt marsh riparian along the edge of the river. While I think it is great to re-vegetate the river, I wonder why Council wants to stop people from accessing the river’s edge. Will the concrete stormwater top be the only place where we can sit directly at the river’s edge?
- Remove the fencing from around the wetland and expand the area of vegetation
- Remove exotic vegetation at the Concordia Club & plant low growing local, native plants.
- The car park in the Concordia Club will include planting, rain gardens & regulated parking.
I went to Mackey Park the day after I posted about the intended removal of the poplar trees & saw that all the Poplars along the shared pathway at Mackey Park had a small silver number tag attached to the trunk. These tags were not attached to the trees the previous week.
Obviously these trees are being allowed to stay. Although I am very happy about this, I would think that they too would be “damaging water quality and adjacent plant communities,” which is the reason for removing 27 poplars in Council’s report. Again, I say that I find it amazing that Council would spend so much money to remove trees for such odd reasons in this time of climate change. I have written about the decision to remove 27 trees here – http://wp.me/pyn6B-2lm
Community consultation is open until tomorrow Wednesday 8th June 2016. You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO
Plan for Cooks River parklands – Richardson’s Lookout, Warren Park & Cooks River Foreshore
This is a series of posts about Inner West Council’s plan (nee Marrickville Council) for all the parks along the Cooks River, except Tempe Reserve.
I have not covered all of what Council intends, just those areas that are environmental initiatives or those that interest me. The link to download the Plan is below.
Inner West Council plans the following upgrades for Richardson’s Lookout –
- Mulch & plant natives under the heritage fig trees.
- Create an equal access path from Thornley Street to Richardson’s Lookout.
- Revegetate the unusable area surrounding the Cooks pine.
- Install 3 new seats.
The following is planned for Warren Park –
- Build a native vegetated swale to the existing low point at the eastern end of Warren Park.
- Do bank stabilisation works & “ant-scour” on steeper slopes. I do not know what ant-scour means.
- Build a vegetated detention basin prior to the Cooks River.
- The fencing between Warren Park & Thornley Street will be removed & native grasses & other local native plantings planted to act as a barrier between the park & the road.
- Install 2 new seats.
Cooks river foreshore
The following is planned for the Cooks River Foreshore –
- A failing retaining wall will be replaced with stone or similar. Biodiversity opportunities will be incorporated into wall design.
- More re-vegetation will be done along the river foreshore.
- Build a river-viewing pontoon or jetty constructed from steel mesh or similar.
- Install an exercise station.
- Install 3 new seats.
- Install bike racks.
- Install night lighting along the share pathway.
- Progressively remove the Poplar Trees between Mackey Park & Warren Park. A total of 27 trees will be removed along the river from Mackey Park to Mahoney Reserve. I have been waiting for this to happen for years, as a then Tree Manager told me it was planned when I spoke with him at the opening of Mackey Park in December 2010. If the community doesn’t fight to keep these trees we will lose them. I have written about my horror about the proposed tree removal here. See – http://wp.me/pyn6B-2lm
Community consultation is open until tomorrow Wednesday 8th June 2016. You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO
Continuing on from my posts on Mahoney Reserve. See – http://bit.ly/210uG1I
Steel Park is also a ‘designated fauna habitat link.’
Inner West Council (nee Marrickville Council) plan the following for Steel Park –
- Add more concrete paths to “help with existing desire lines & increasing recreation opportunities.” One will be a 1.8-metre wide path to Thornley Street from the current shared path along the grass next to the cliff up to Thornley Street. Our Council loves laying concrete in parks.
- What is good is the plan for new trees around the flying fox, the water play park & between the play facilities & the ball net. New trees also for around the exercise equipment & the proposed water treatment wetland. New trees are also planned for the slope near Thornley Street. It would be nice to know the number of trees planned, but any new trees are a boon for this park.
- All the Poplar trees except for those in the Children’s Playground will be removed. I think this is entirely unnecessary, especially removing healthy trees for the reasons given & in these days of climate change when trees are more important than ever. It will be an expensive job to remove 27 big tall trees. You can read more here – http://bit.ly/1Wlfe1x
- The lower branches of the Casuarina trees along the foreshore pathway will be removed to increase sight lines & ground covers planted.
- Grasses, groundcovers & small shrubs will be planted alongside residential properties.
- Grasses & groundcovers to be planted beside the car park.
- New rain gardens a minimum 2-metres wide will be added to the car park & planted with local native sedges, grasses & tree plantings.
- 13 new seats will be placed along the edge of Illawarra Road & behind the Debbie and Abbey Borgia Recreation Centre.
- 5 concrete “block style” seating will be placed in the patch of grass near the house on the slope next to Thornley Street.
- There will be another barbeque installed next to the playground with a shade structure.
- The playground will be expanded with new equipment that has a nature based theme. That’s nice.
- The fence around the northern playing field will be removed.
- New bike racks installed near the exercise equipment.
- Upgrade the playing field with new turf & drainage.
- And sadly, Council plans to plant vegetation infront of the river “to limit water access by users.” I would have thought the extensive fence between the shared path & the children’s playground & barbecue areas would have been sufficient. Frankly, the plan to cut off access to the river makes me feel sad. To stop people being able to sit at or near the river’s edge is a BIG LOSS to many in the community. Plenty of people like to sit here on picnic blankets & watch the river.
Community consultation is open until this Wednesday 8th June 2016. You can access the link at ‘Your Say Marrickville’ & download the Plan here – http://bit.ly/1DRISiO
Inner West Council (nee Marrickville) have given notification that they intend to remove 5 x Robinia (Robinia pseudoacacia) trees outside 366 New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill
Council gives the following reason for removal –
- “Trees to be removed as part of an upgrade project. They are in poor condition & at the end of their useful life.”
They say the trees will be replaced with “super advanced 400L container size tree Liriodendron tulipifera installed in structural soil to provide optimal soil volumes.”
I can have a guess at what “structural soil” & “optimal soil volumes” mean, but why not write the reason in plain English so that everyone in the community can understand? Industry jargon always isolates & alienates those not in the industry & this applies to all industries. The target audience is the community, not other arborists & town planners.
Of importance is our urban forest will not be increasing fast when five trees are removed to be replaced with only one tree.
The Liriodendron tulipifera is a deciduous tree native to North America. It produces green/yellow flowers in spring & yellow autumn color before the leaves are dropped. It grows in an upright form & can reach 20-metres in 10-15 years. Liriodendron tulipifera are planted along the Marrickville Road shopping strip.
I went to have a look & could only see four Robinia trees in this location. One was a power pole with a streetlight, so easily mistaken I suppose. Maybe the pole will be removed as well.
I wanted to call this post ‘A lost opportunity.’
In 2015 Marrickville Council did research to garner information about the urban heat island effect & the impact of heatwaves in Dulwich Hill. They also created a Thermal Map, which showed the hot areas in Dulwich Hill.
Not only was New Canterbury Road nominated as ‘hot spot’ by the community, but the thermal map showed that this perception was indeed correct. The corner of Herbert Street & New Canterbury Road is right up there in terms of excessive heat at between 32.9 – 36.8 degrees – the maximum heat shown in the thermal map.
The same corner was also in the second highest area of a study of the ‘population vulnerable to heat stress.’
So knowing that this location is really hot & is in an area of population deemed vulnerable to heat stress, Council only plans to plant one tree? Seriously!
The location at corner of Herbert Street & New Canterbury Road has an unusually large streetscape space. It’s not often Council gets an opportunity to work in public street space that is around 5 x 20 metres. The corner juts out in a wide swoop. Currently it is a wide space of concrete with the four trees, one pole & two bench seats & still leaving plenty of room that is open-air concrete.
To plant only one tree is a missed opportunity for Council to create something lovely to not only beautify the streetscape, but to also lower the heat island effect here.
I had difficulty taking photos of the trees that did not include people because they kept rushing into the space to sit on the seats or to stand in the shade. At one stage there were fifteen people under the trees. This shows that this is a popular meeting space for the community – another reason why more than one tree should be the upgrade project’s target.
A busy café is on this corner. People buy something from the café & take it outside. The café itself, does not seem to get relief from the afternoon sun. In Sydney winter really only started yesterday after a summer-like autumn that broke all previous temperature records. It was cold today, but still hot enough outside for people to be actively seeking shade.
This idea that we need deciduous trees for the winter months belongs to the pre-climate change past. Even the shops are despairing because of record low sales of winter clothing.
In my opinion there is room for five decent sized trees
speed spread out over this site, plus landscaping works that incorporate the current seating. Anything less means that Council knows the area is hot, but is not willing to take steps to mitigate the heat & make it an attractive & useful space for the community. Such a shame.
The deadline for submissions is Monday 1st June 2016.