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Tree number one – taller than a two-storey building. It used to look as lush as the tree behind it.

This is a fine example of tree vandalism on Liberty Street Stanmore.  Many thanks to the person who wrote & told me about it.

Two mature trees both dead.  I didn’t need to look hard to see the drill holes, which were plugged to keep the poison in & I presume to camouflage the holes.

There are four street trees along this block.  It goes – one dead tree, one living tree, one dead tree, one living tree.  Perhaps the vandal thought to confuse us or just had a natural sense of rhythm.  I don’t understand why anyone who would do this, except to say they are selfish.   The loss of these two trees will have a negative impact on the community.  This is a busy road & all the trees along here work hard to remove particulate matter & improve air quality.

I ask Inner West Council to replace them in the next planting season please.  If those trees get vandalized, plant again.

At some stage this council needs to consider CCTV in places where public trees are repeatedly vandalized.

Tree number two.

Poisoned and plugged

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A small section of Sydney Park that was cleared to widen Campbell Street St Peters for WestConnex.

130,000 hectares of vegetation, including trees, has been lost to the construction of Stage 3 of WestConnex along the 7.5-kilometre tunnels between Haberfield & St Peters.  Sydney Park took a severe battering losing more then 500 trees.

In 2016 Roads & Maritine Services said that they would plant 3,500 replacement trees of a minimum pot size of 75 litres.  The trees would be about 3-metres or taller in size.  However, they have changed their mind allowing replacement trees of 150 mm pot size, “in pots as tall as a Bic-brand ballpoints…”  See – http://bit.ly/2AiHsmn

“The RMS’ revised tree policy says only 500 trees will now be 75 litres; it argues there is simply not space for all trees to be as big as its initial commitment.”

The remaining 3,000 trees to be planted will be saplings.  My observation over the years is that saplings have a much harder time surviving than do more advanced size trees, so there is a big chance a large percentage of these trees will be lost.  Saplings are more sensitive to lack of water & they are also easier to vandalize.  They will be small enough for people to tread on them or simply snap their trunks.  If they do survive it will take years for these saplings to grow to a size where their risk is lower.

If as they say, “there is simply not space for all trees to be as big as its initial commitment,” what will happen in the unlikely event that all 3,000 saplings survive & grow to a decent size?  The government’s argument does not seem logical.  If you say you cannot fit in all the trees, why would planting saplings help the issue?

I think this change is being done to save money, yet the lack of decent size trees will have a cost on the community in terms of negative health impacts from the poor air quality produced by the thousands of vehicles that will use this motorway every day.  The very least the community needs is trees.  Filtered smoke stacks are essential too, but so far, this is not happening either.

There is a kind of despair I have noticed in my local community whenever WestConnex is raised.  People are angry that whole communities are being demolished & separated for this motorway.  It’s like a giant iron snake cleaving its way through the inner west & its source of nutrition is houses & trees.  If we do have to have this polluting road, then at least it should be hidden behind a bank of trees to not make the residents a further casualty in terms of loss of health.

There has been an abundance of research of late all showing how necessary trees are for human health.  Particulate matter spewed out in vehicle exhaust causes irritated eyes, nose & throat, heart & lung disease, including asthma & chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, increased hospital admissions & a reduction in life expectancy.  This is what the NSW government is gifting the people of the inner west if they do not plant sufficient trees to help mitigate the impact of this motorway.  I would argue that there will be a negative health impact of the motorway anyway, but to not plant decent sized trees is just asking for trouble.

A section of the tree removal in Sydney Park for WestConnex

A view of The Greenway filled with Hills Fig trees and an almost continuous canopy. Very special.

Community consultation on site about the Inner West Council’s Masterplan for the 5.8km Greenway corridor.  There are two events locally, both for this coming Saturday.

WHERE:        Jack Shanahan Reserve at Hercules Street Dulwich Hill.
DATE:            Saturday 11 November 2017

TIME:             10am to 12pm

WHERE:        Hoskins Park at Pigott Street Dulwich Hill
WHEN:          Saturday 11 November 2017

TIME:             2pm to 4pm

Currently the Greenway starts at Grosvenor Crescent Lewisham & the shared pedestrian/bicycle path takes you all the way to the Parramatta River at the border of Haberfield & Leichhardt with the Hawthorn Canal dividing them.  It’s a lovely place in my opinion & a much needed haven for wildlife. I am very glad it is being completed.   I’ve written about the Greenway here – http://bit.ly/1l9FvAf

From Have Your Say website – “The NSW Government and the new Inner West Council have announced a joint commitment of $14.5 million towards the cost of completing the GreenWay missing links. This will unlock approximately 3ha of open space not currently accessible to the community.”

The missing links will open the Greenway to the public from Lewisham all the way to the Cooks River beside Wardell Road Earlwood.  This will result in an off-road path from Earlwood to Leichhardt – safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Three hectares of linear open space is not to be scoffed at considering how poor the levels of green space is in the former Marrickville municipality area.  The Greenway is one of the few places locally where the tree canopy is consistent & reaches over my head.  It is the only one off road.   Hopefully, Inner West Council will plant big canopy trees & tall trees along the new section to create the same effect where trees create a buffer from the urban surroundings.  Let the Greenway truly be green.

You can also participate in community consultation online at – http://www.yoursayinnerwest.com.au/greenway

Lorikeet feasting on spotted gum flowers from a tree in Camperdown Memorial Rest Park

Tree removal in Camperdown Memorial Rest Park

It’s been a long time between posts and that is because there is nothing much happening on the environmental front in the Marrickville section of the Inner West municipality – at least that I am aware of.   I may be forced to go into Ashfield & Leichhardt & see what money is being spent on those sections of the municipality.

I have noticed that a few small trees have been removed around the locality.  I have also noticed that street sections that have long been concrete have been blessed by trees planted over winter.  If they survive, that should make a big difference in beautifying the area.

I was at Camperdown Memorial Rest Park on the weekend & noticed that Council have not yet installed the ping pong tables promised for this park in 2012.  It’s not surprising because even the ‘avenue of trees’ for for Marrickville Road (from Victoria Road to Sydenham) planned way back in 2010 has not materialised either.    No ping pong, but this park has been blessed by big tall trees & it is quite lovely because of this.

The row of Spotted gums Marrickville Council planted along the pedestrian path alongside the sandstone wall of St Stephens Church have survived.   It was good to see Lorikeets feasting on the flowers of the only tree to have bloomed this year.  It does give an idea of the beauty in stall for us once all the trees mature.

A fresh stump drew my attention to what appears to be the loss of around half of the trees planted beside each park bench along the sandstone wall.

I was in Stanmore, Petersham & Newtown over the weekend & saw lots of Jacarandas in bloom.   The Inner West Courier have published a very nice video of a drone’s eye view of the Jacaranda trees in the Inner West. You can watch the video here – http://bit.ly/2ipGX1o

Lastly, I went to the launch of Sydney City Farm at Sydney Park Sunday week ago.  I was disappointed at the low attendance numbers, but perhaps they all went earlier than I did.  City of Sydney offered a lot for people to see.  They also provided free gelato, which was nice on what was a very hot day.

I think the farm is lovely.  All the skips have been filled with soil & planted out.  There is a cluster of fruit trees in hexagon-shaped pots & I am interested in how they fare.  It is very attractive & worthwhile visiting if this sort of thing interests you.   I am not sure how they will grow enough produce to sustain the planned public farmer’s market, so this is another aspect to watch with interest.

Anyway, Sydney City Farm want community volunteers to work on the farm.  You do not need farming experience to get involved.  Email for more information – cityfarm@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au 

Sydney City Farm opening.

The tree for removal has a blue sign on the trunk.  It is unaffected by power lines.

The Inner West Council has given notice of their intention to remove a Spotted gum (Corymbia maculata) outside 7 Hilltop Avenue Marrickville dated 7 October 2017.

They give the following reasons –

  • “The tree is structurally compromised & has multiple trunk defects. These defects will increase size as the tree matures & further impact the sustainability of the tree.
  • The tree in its current state presents an unacceptable risk to the public & property.”

The trunk defeats are easy to see.  It is a shame that this tree needs to be removed.

Council says they will replace with 2 x advanced-sized Coastal Banksias (banksia integrifolia), but not when they will do this.

Replacing two for one tree is great & I thank Council for this.  Small changes like this will build on our urban forest.

Coastal Banksia is native to the east coast of Australia.  It will reach heights between 4-15 metres & produces flowers from late summer to winter.  It is a food source for nectar-eating birds, seed-eating birds, insects & possums.

No deadline for submissions was given, but up to now it has always been 3-weeks from notification.  If you have something to say contact the Tree Manager.

Showing the “trunk defects.”

 

 

Darley Street Playground. The 3 trees for removal have blue signs on them and are on the right of this photo.

A new Inner West Council & now a new way of putting up tree removal notifications or is this just a one off?

Council’s Notice of Removal now starts with a date – presumably the date they put the notice on their website.  The Notice of Removal includes no information about the deadline for submissions.  It does give reasons why the tree/s are up for removal & what they will replace with, but no information as to when the replacement trees will be planted.  Neither is there any invitation to contact the Tree Manager to discuss, as was the norm previously.  These are significant changes & not much about consultation.

Council have given notice of their intention to remove 3 x Grey gums (Eucalyptus punctata) in the Darley Street Playground, Darley Street Newtown dated 26th September 2017.

They give the following reasons –

  • “3 trees are proposed for removal.
  • One tree is dead & the other two have significantly declined in health, & their structural integrity has been compromised.
  • The trees present an unacceptable risk to the public & property.”

There are 4 Grey gums in this small playground.  All trees have been severely pruned when young & all have grown into what I consider a long trunk with a lollipop canopy.  Two of the trees lean towards a neighbouring house.

Council says they will replace with  –

  • An advanced-sized Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) &
  • An advanced-sized Sydney Red Gum (angophora costata).

The Illawarra flame tree is a deciduous tree native to coastal rainforests from central NSW to far north Queensland.  It develops clusters of red bell shaped flowers spring-summer.  They may not flower every year, but when they do they can look spectacular.  The flame tree is regarded as a small to medium-sized tree, though in perfect growing conditions can reach 35-metres in height.  Nectar-eating wildlife love this tree when in flower & so do most Sydney-siders.

The Sydney red gum is native to the Sydney Basin & along the NSW coast.  They can reach approximately 25-meters in height.  The bark is a lovely salmon/pink that gradually turns grey.  It produced large bunches of white flowers over the summer months, which is good food for nectar-eating wildlife.  It grows well on rocky outcrops & can develop a gnarled & twisted appearance, which is much loved by many.

I think these are great choices for this playground & will add much in the way of beauty to this space.

Another of Council’s changes is the Notification of Removal signs on the trees.  These are a great improvement on what was used previously.  They are easy to read & provide good information to the community.  I thank Council for this.  I also thank Council for continuing to use sticky tape to attach the signs to the trees.

No deadline for submissions was given, but up to now it has always been 3-weeks, so if you have something to say, contact the Tree Manager at Council.

BEFORE: Google street view of the tree that was removed. This image is a few years old, perhaps a decade. The tree was much taller, with a much larger trunk & a bigger canopy.

AFTER:  Photo taken today after all branches were removed. The top of the trunk is higher than I can reach.

What is wrong with people?   Late last week a mature Bottlebrush tree outside 89 Warren Road was unceremoniously chopped to nothing, but a trunk.   It looks awful.  It is one less tree in this street.  It also is a waste of rate-payers’ money & a waste of Council’s work.

This vandalism has robbed the community of all the benefits this tree was providing.  It was more than 20-years-old.   Local people have contacted me about this tree & they feel furious that the tree has been destroyed & they want the Inner West Council to replace it as fast as possible.

Some facts about the value of trees to help any vandal who may happen to read this realise that their actions actually have a bigger negative impact than just losing a tree –

  • A good street tree can add 30% to your property value.
  • A street full of good leafy street trees is a real estate agent’s pleasure because all houses will sell for more than the same kind of house in the same kind of condition in a street that does not have street trees, or has poor quality street trees.
  • Street trees provide a buffer from traffic & collect particulate matter pollution from passing vehicles.  Without this buffer, that particulate matter pollution is much more likely to reach your lungs.
  • Particulate matter causes lung irritation, respiratory illnesses & impairs airway function. It also can cause irregular heartbeat, heart attacks & premature death in people with heart or lung disease.  It also collects on buildings.
  • The shade of a tree can reduce air temperature by 1 – 8 degrees Celsius.
  • The canopy acts as a buffer for wind & can reduce wind speed by 10%.
  • A street tree can save up to $400 on your annual power bill.
  • Trees are nature’s air conditioners & they cool down surface heat & lower the urban heat island effect.
  • Trees also sequester CO2 & produce oxygen.
  • They help capture stormwater.
  • Trees provide habitat & food for wildlife.
  • People are happier when in leafy green streets. Since we have very little green space (the former Marrickville LGA had the least green space in Australia), the streets and the street trees are our green space, aside from parks.
  • People are happier & have less depression when able to be around trees.

So well done.  This is a busy street with both pedestrians & vehicle movement.  It’s hot walking around there.  The locals are angry with you.  You did not enrich the streetscape.  Instead, you destroyed part of it & this is a terrible way to treat both the tree & the community to whom that tree belonged.

What is left.

Shaw Street Petersham has not changed much since I lived here almost 40 years ago. I’ve always found it to be a beautiful street not only because of the houses, but because of the wonderful tall street trees.  

My very first experience of public green space is my street. ~ Dr Libby Gallagher.

Recently, ABC Radio National program ‘The Money’ by Richard Aedy did an episode on the costs & benefits of streetscapes & their value.  Guests were –

  • Associate Professor Michael Andreu – School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida.
  • Dr Libby Gallagher – Landscape architect and director of Gallagher Studio.
  • Dr Lyndal Plant – Urban Forester Pty Ltd.
  • Roger Swinbourne – Technical Director at AECOM.

Roger Swinbourne listed the following benefits of street trees – air quality, providing shading, biodiversity, water quality, winter temperature variations, average heat wave temperatures are all impacted by the quantity of trees we have in our cities.

The study showed a whole other list of values the street trees provided.  There is a strong link to the canopy and the mental health of the community.  Canopy coverage also helps mitigate air pollution.

Shade really matters.  A canopy increase from 20% to 28% lowers the air temperature by 4-degrees & road/pavement temp by 14-degrees, which is pretty substantial.

The net benefits of street trees outweigh the costs of infrastructure issues such as lifting footpaths.

Dr Libby Gallagher did research in Brisbane that found that houses in leafy streets sell for higher prices, but how much higher was dependent on the amount of canopy cover those trees provided.  The houses were 4% more expensive.

An Australian property developer listed a good tree-lined street as number 1 of what people were looking for when buying.

Then Dr Libby Gallagher spoke about the Cool Streets program held at Blacktown City Council.  It was found that a mix of evergreen & deciduous & more trees boosted property & lowered electricity bills.  Initially the residents chose small trees.  After seeing the benefits of large canopy trees to their electricity bills & health, they chose taller trees & more trees more densely planted along the street.  The residents also contracted to water and care for the trees.  They took ownership of those trees because they helped plant them & because they know the significant benefits those trees will bring them once they have grown.

Associate Professor Michael Andreu spoke about Tampa costing the value of all their trees, which came to a massive $35 million.   He also spoke about development & trees.  The city quantifying the urban forest allows everyone to understand the use of the trees & how much these trees contribute.  It helps the city explain to developers why they cannot just chop trees down.  The information they have about their trees allows them to include them in infrastructure planning.  Singapore is one city that prioritizes their trees in planning.

40-metre tall street trees in Surry Hills were given as an example of trees that would not be planted these days.  Once these trees die they will likely be replaced by something much smaller & this is despite the enormous amenity these trees are providing now.

With more development happening now, trees are not being recognised for their amenity that they provide 24-hours a day.

You can listen to the program here –

http://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/pel3NwJKgQ?play=true

The palm trunk above the Marrickville Golf Course Club House is the new home of a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.  The white dot is a cockatoo.

Gone!

On 19th August 2017, I posted about a palm tree trunk behind the Club House at Marrickville Golf Course that was being used as a nesting hollow by a pair of Cockatoos.   See – http://bit.ly/2wboFtx

I rode past today & it was gone.

The palm trunk above the Marrickville Golf Course Club House is the new home of a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.  The white dot is a cockatoo.

Squee! Here I am!

I watched the decline & eventual death of an old palm tree behind the Marrickville Golf Course Club House with some sadness.  Trees like this don’t get replanted in my experience.

Recently, I saw something happening at this tree that delighted me.

What is left is the trunk, which is quite tall.  A pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos saw this trunk as an ideal home.  I presume they made a new hollow or modified a hollow that was starting to form with the shedding of the fronds.  Whatever way it happened, it is now a perfect hollow with a balcony & a clear view of the Cooks River & we all know the power of water views.

Behind the trunk is a large mature fig tree providing them a safe place to survey the area for any danger before entering the hollow.

In true Cockatoo style, once they realised they had my attention, the pair posed & acted out for my camera until I had enough & moved on.  They seem very proud of themselves.

Even though this tree is dead, it is an incredibly important asset in the Cooks River Biodiversity Corridor.  Trees with hollows are rare in the area, so every attempt must be given to retain this trunk.  It should not be removed to “clean up the area” or similar.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos nest in tree hollows.  Once they find a suitable hollow they stay there indefinitely.   The chicks they rear will remain with the parents as a family unit.

So, for me, discovering this hollow made up for the loss of yet another tree.  Hopefully, a new palm will be planted behind the Club House.  In the meantime, people who are aware of this pair, can have an occasional look to see if they can spot them & any chicks they are rearing.

To my mind, the Club House has been blessed with some mascots to screech & cavort above them.  What fun!

A great home with a big fig tree behind and the river in front.

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