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The Coral tree for removal is centre of this photo.

Inner West Council has given notice that they intend to remove a Coral tree (Erythrina × sykesii ) inside Weekley Park, adjacent to 89 Albany Road Stanmore.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has poor vitality and significant canopy dieback.
  • Major open wound to trunk with decay and loss of structural wood.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public and property.”

The Coral tree is thought to be a “hybrid of horticultural origin, that was probably developed in Australia or New Zealand.” http://bit.ly/2tsjgKC

It is regarded as a weed tree in NSW because they can regrow from a fallen branch, a twig or stem or even suckers.  Despite this, they can easily be managed in suburban areas as shown by Bayside Council who have classified a number of their old Coral trees as significant & protected.

The condition of this Coral tree in Weekley Park is as described by Council.   They say they will replace this tree with an Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) by September 2017.

While it is a shame to lose this big old Coral tree, I am pleased that it will be replaced with a native tree that puts on a great colour show & can grow to a significant size.  We need big trees.

Illawarra flame trees are native to coastal rainforests from central New South Wales to far north Queensland.  They are deciduous in winter & produce clusters of vivid red bell-shaped flowers over spring-summer, which provide food for nectar-eating birds, bees & butterflies.  Anytime an Illawarra Flame tree is added to the Inner West landscape is a win as far as I am concerned.

The deadline for submissions is this Friday 23rd June 2017.

It appears that the bark was removed to inspect the tree. You can see that it is not in great shape.

Marrickville Golf Course

Inner West Council has given notice that they intend to remove & work on trees located in Marrickville Golf Course.

Council says it plans to do the following –

  • “Tree removal– includes the removal of several dead trees or trees present significant defects and/or structural issues.
  • The creation of habitat trees– where trees are reduced down to safe limbs and boxes and hollows are created for use by native fauna.
  • Tree pruning– to remove defective or dead branches to reduce risk.”

Council do not give the location or number of trees to be removed.  We should be told about each individual tree & why they must be removed.

Nor do they give the number & location of trees they intend to prune or those they intend to make into Habitat Trees.    Council goes on to say that –

“All trees to be removed will be replaced (and more) as part of a planting program to be developed in collaboration with Council, Marrickville Golf Course and the community.”

Again, Council does not tell the community how many new trees will be planted or what species.

This is not something I understand.  I think it is in Council’s interest to tell the community how many trees they will plant because this is positive information that makes people who care about the local environment happy.  If Council had informed the community that they planned to plant 15 new native trees for example, everyone would feel happy about it, which is good for Council.

It is called transparency.  It is their duty.  Open & full communication is the only thing that instills trust in the community for what its government does.   You can’t have words about believing in open government & consultation, but fail to inform your community.

On a positive note, I think it is wonderful that more habitat trees are being created, especially in this important biodiversity corridor along the Cooks River.   I also think it is great that more trees will be planted.  The golf course has plenty of room for more trees.

What a positive change to this section of Unwins Bridge Road. Street trees and verge gardens on both sides of the road!

In May 2017 I posted about the new verge gardens created along both sides of Unwins Bridge Road from Tramway Street to the corner of Gannon Street Tempe. See – http://bit.ly/2r7xu1O

I was hopeful that street trees would be planted too.   Well, my wish was granted.  Not only has Inner West Council planted street trees, but they planted a lot of them in just one block.  I think this is the largest number of new trees planted in one block that I have noticed since starting this blog.

Twelve Ornamental pear trees have been planted on the eastern side & seven on the western side of Unwins Bridge Road. This is the species Council are planting along Unwins Bridge Road.

You may have noticed that many of our high traffic roads are lined with Ornamental pear trees.  I think it is because they are so robust & can tolerate poor growing conditions.  They create a fairly dense canopy, so will provide a good pollution barrier between the traffic & the houses collecting some of the particulate matter from passing vehicles.   They should also help muffle some of the traffic noise & cool the street as well.

The trees will also add beauty to this section of Unwins Bridge Road that was previously dominated by concrete for what seems like forever.  The change is quite striking even at this early stage after planting.  Imagine how it will look once everything has grown.

Council has planted a variety of plants from native grasses to native violets & other small plants.  These too will help manage air pollution, add beauty & cool the area down.

I applaud Council for doing this work & for choosing to plant street trees in that location.  The trees will work to improve the air quality for local residents who have to tolerate massive amounts of traffic passing by seven days a week & the associated pollution.

If all our heavy traffic roads could also have the same treatment, this will help improve the health of the residents now & into the future.  More & more research is finding that street trees have a considerable impact on the health of the community, so the more our urban forest increases, the better it will be for all of us.

Showing the western side of Unwins Bridge Road.

Quite a range of plants in the verge gardens.

One of two new Sydney red gums. The shade from these two trees, once they have grown, is expected to cover “at least three-quarters of the car park.”  

This area is permeable paving, yet people can walk on it without experiencing problems or noticing a difference.

I was impressed when I read that the Inner West Council had planted two advanced size Sydney Red Gums (Angophora costata) at the Garners Avenue car park in Marrickville as part of an upgrade.

Council Administrator Mr Pearson said in Council’s Press Release, “When mature, these trees will provide canopy cover to at least three-quarters of the carpark.  So, instead of the usual unshaded bitumen and concrete which would increase the inner west’s ‘urban heat island effect,’ we are actually contributing shade, cooler ambient air temperatures, and improved urban air quality.”  

Council’s Press Release makes mention that shade not only increases amenity, but also increases “the serviceable life of the bitumen by up to 30%.”   

The trees were planted in structural vaults, which on the surface look like business as usual, but are actually purpose built to provide optimum living conditions for a tree planted in unnatural conditions.

The surface is covered by permeable paving allowing rainwater to get to the tree.  Below ground, the area for the tree to grow has been prepared by placing good-quality soil in structural cells across a large area.  The structural cells provide room for the roots to grow, but also encourages them to grow in preferred directions.

Better soil, access to water & room to spread allows the tree grow to maturity.   This technique is light years better than digging a hole in the pavement & planting a tree.  It is well worth the money Council needs to spend on this planting style.

Council’s Press Release (http://bit.ly/2qwAt49 ) made many favourable statements regarding public trees.  It appears we can expect to see a positive change in our urban forest.

“Trees usually come second to infrastructure such as footpaths, roads and car parks. But Inner West Council is determined to turn this thinking around.”

I visited the Garners Street carpark & saw the two Sydney red gums.  They look great.  The flowers from these trees will provide food for bees, butterflies & nectar-eating birds.

I was also impressed to see three new Banksias planted in a small garden area toward the back of the car park.

Two other good sized Diamond leaf pittosporum (Auranticarpa rhombifolia) growing on the other side are festooned with orange berries at present.  These are Australian native rainforest trees & their orange berries attract fruit-eating birds.

The addition of Australian native trees that can grow to a significant size is a big & positive change from the current Purple Leaf Ornamental Plum (Prunus nigra) & Evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithii) planted at the front of the car park.

I like what Inner West Council have done here.  Give the trees a few years to grow & the difference will be noticeable.  The more Council can plant decent sized native trees in areas traditionally covered with concrete & bitumen the better.  Changes like this will have positive impacts on the livability of our area.   I thank Council for doing this work.

New planting of three Banksias and other plants.

Diamond Leaf pittosporums looking great with all those orange berries.

Garners Street car park Marrickville as it looks from the street.

 

I’ve been noticing that many of our street trees under powerlines have started to have dead parts in the canopy.

Here is another example.

Two dead street trees in Marrickville – notable because they are beside each other.   They died quickly.  

A section of the site of  what will be the St Peters Interchange for WestConnex Motorway

Signs from the community are everywhere and everywhere a sign is designates a tree that will be chopped down for the Motorway.

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.

A section of the tree removal in Sydney Park for WestConnex

Another section of WestConnex tree removal in Sydney Park

These trees have yet to be chopped down.

To improve air quality we need our streets and particularly our busy roads to be as leafy as Oxford Street Darlinghurst.  I can see no reason other than disinterest as to why our streets cannot look like this.  In terms of room for trees, Oxford Street is comparable to many of our main streets.

The research on air pollution just keeps delivering.    Now it is breast cancer, one of the major cancers in Australia. 

Most of us would know of at least one woman who has or is a survivor of breast cancer.   Researchers from the University of Florida USA who studied almost 280,000 women found that –

  • “women with dense breasts were 19% more likely to have been exposed to higher concentrations of fine particle matter (PM2.5).
  • For every one unit increase in PM2.5, a woman’s chance of having dense breasts was increased by 4 per cent.” See – http://bit.ly/2nGgOMe

Women with dense breasts are 3-5 times more likely to develop breast cancer. Living in polluted areas increases dense breasts & cancer rates.

Cancer Australia says breast cancer is the second most commonly cancer diagnosed & the most common cancer diagnosed in women.

In 2017, it is estimated that 17,730 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (144 males and 17,586 females).”  They also say 28 men & 3,087 women will likely die from breast cancer this year.  To add something positive here – 90% of people with breast cancer survive at least 5-years post treatment.

This week SUVs & other diesel powered vehicles made the news because pollution from diesel fuel has been found to cause cancer & respiratory diseases.

In 2016 around 9 out of 10 utes & more than half the new SUVs sold in Australia were powered by diesel.  One third of all cars sold in Australia use diesel fuel.

You only need to look around the streets to see that SUVs are an extremely popular car in this area.  This is of concern because diesel creates more pollution than petrol using vehicles. See – http://bit.ly/2nGgOMe

World Health Organisation statistics state that 3-million people die annually die from air pollution related issues & more than 400,000 people die in Europe due to air pollution.   (http://bit.ly/2o03PqI)

In 2014 research from Environmental Justice Australia found that 3,000 Australians die prematurely from urban air pollution annually. You can download a pdf of their report here http://bit.ly/1M0RJoj

With statistics like these & knowing that traffic pollution within a 500-metre radius of a major thoroughfare has been found to

  • cause lung disease & impair lung function in both children & adults,
  • cause cardiovascular illness,
  • cause death   (http://bit.ly/1MKStR8)
  • increase risk of dementia ( http://bit.ly/2hZ961Q)
  • & now increased rates of breast cancer, you would think that getting rid of high pollution vehicles & planting more street trees would be a major priority.

Parramatta Road Stanmore – where are the street trees?  They only start when you cross the border into the City of Sydney municipality.

I read an interesting article in The Guardian yesterday titled, ‘The car is ingrained into people here’: West Midlands faces air pollution crisis.’  See – http://bit.ly/2oY2Fv7

The West Midlands is a region in England identified as an area of high air pollution air due to motorways & other high traffic roads. The United Kingdom has ten pollution hotspots & five of them are within the West Midlands region.

“The government’s own figures show air pollution [in this area] is responsible for almost 3,000 deaths a year ……”

This grabbed my attention.  3,000 deaths a year from something preventable is astounding.  What a powerful advertisement for public transport!

In June 2010, I posted about research on how living within a 500-metre  radius of a major thoroughfare was likely to cause major health issues & early death.  See – http://bit.ly/1MKStR8   I found it interesting to see that the distance from a main road in this UK study had dropped to only 150-metres.   In reality the situation would be much worse had they included the other 350-metres.

The Guardian article said thousands of British children are being exposed to illegal levels of air pollution due to schools & nurseries located within this 150-metre zone.   The article also said that none of the staff or parents of the ten worst affected nurseries in Birmingham were aware that this was a significant health issue for the children & employees.

Looking further, a whopping 2,091 places of learning for children from preschool to further education centres across England & Wales are within 150-metres of a high-traffic high-pollution road.  This is not a great start in life for these children.

Birmingham Council said it “was a challenge to change people’s attitudes to driving in a city that “grew up on the car industry”.  According to the council’s own figures 900 people die from poor air quality in the city each year, compared to 30 from road accidents.”

Birmingham Council is improving the cycle routes saying, “there are 200,000 journeys of under a mile in this city each day – it is about removing some of those trips.”  Inner West & City of Sydney Councils are doing similar with cycleways being added to allow people to ride safely on the street.

This is a great start, but the WestConnex Motorway cleaving its way through our municipality is of great concern for the future health of our community.  We are already burdened with a large number of high traffic roads through high density housing.

That the WestConnex Authority plans to install unfiltered stacks to release the air pollution from the tunnels has always concerned me.   I don’t know how much it would cost to have the air filtered to trap particulate matter & other air pollutants, but I do know that the future health costs of the community around these unfiltered stacks will be considerable.  Unless we go down in vast numbers, the health issues will be ignored & subsumed into the usual statistics.  Personally, I think the government is playing risk games with the future health of the community.

Also interesting is the image in the article of the spaghetti junction near Birmingham. It reminded me of the spin we are being given about our own impeding spaghetti junction at the massive Dial a Dump site at St Peters.

The WestConnex Authority says the area underneath the St Peters Interchange will become a tree-filled park with cycleways & walking paths.  It will be presented to the community as new green space in place of the large track of land & hundreds of mature trees taken from Sydney Park recently to widen the road for WestConnex Motorway.

This is an incredibly poor exchange – take from a beautiful & very much loved park & give back a spaghetti junction with hundreds of thousands of vehicles traveling above & spewing their pollution down on the new green space.

For the life of me I cannot imagine wanting to spend free time under a motorway with particulate matter raining down on me no matter how attractive it looks.  However, what cannot be seen will likely entice some people to think it is nice & safe to play there & I bet barbeques will be added to lure people in.

To cope with a climate change future & to cope with the air pollution from increased traffic in our densely built municipality, we need more trees.  We need trees & shrubs in gardens & more street trees.  The street trees species need to be able to reach a height above 5-metres & have broader canopies.  Big trees need to be planted in spaces where Energy Australia has no excuse to start pruning them because we can see that their pruning has reduced so many of our street trees into mangled messes or to a shadow of their former selves.

If we do not make a significant change in the streetscapes & gardens of our municipality, we will pay the price of increasing poor health in our children & ourselves & perhaps an early death.

We also need to ditch the car & walk, cycle & take more public transport whenever we can.  It will take a shift in our thinking & motivation, but we can do it.  I think one day we will be forced to.

Showing a partial view over the 16 hectares of what is to be the St Peters Interchange. Even though I expected a building site, actually seeing people’s homes and the trees removed shocked me.

May Street Reserve Corner of Campbell Street and Unwins Bridge Road St Peters has been destroyed and all the mature trees removed.  One more patch of green space removed in an area with the least amount of green space in Australia.  

No street trees is a feature of New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill. The new development in view did not include street trees, though they did include concrete.

New concrete – no street trees. Is this the best this will look?

This new development in New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill at least put in street trees. I find the power pole in the middle of the footpath odd.

We cycled up New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill last week & were surprised at the large developments happening there.  Our area is changing fast.

One of the high-rise blocks has four Brushbox trees planted out front, though one is already dead.   Street trees of this kind will enhance the streetscape and keep the footpath area cool so I am glad they were planted.

The other high-rise building has no street trees, just a long expanse of brand new concrete.

If this is going to be the future look for New Canterbury Road, then I think it is a missed opportunity.  Inner West Council needs to insist that developers include a decent number of street trees as part of the development & dare I say, verge gardens.  There certainly is room enough for them.

When NSW Transport built the light rail stations, they did not stop at station infrastructure.  They also planted trees & other plants extensively both inside & around the light rail stations & made these places quite attractive.  It is this that I would like to see developers do when they build a new building for the area – to look at the streetscape surrounding & especially in front of their development.  What they don’t spend in concrete, they can spend on street trees & plants.   I learnt from listening to the architect for The Revolution in Marrickville that if something “green” is not mandatory, then they don’t bother to include it in the development.

More & more around Sydney I am noticing busy roads including verge gardens & it all works well.  With climate change starting to really make its impact & with three heatwaves already this year, development needs to change into something that assists the community.  Concrete does not cut it anymore.  We know too much about how great expanses of concrete is bad for us & exacerbates heat.

Brilliant awning in Waterloo. Just a small change allows the community to have tall street trees. Such a sensible idea.

I also think Council should make it mandatory to have street side building awnings to be of the kind that has cutouts to allow the canopy of a street tree to grow & gain height as is the norm all along the Princes Highway in North Sydney.  They have tall Brushbox trees growing along their business/shopping strip & all the trees have space for their canopy to grow.  It looks good & not only that, it is sensible.  I’ve also seen this in Waterloo.   Why can we not have this in our area?

 

Further down closer to Dulwich Hill shops – New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill is barren in many places.

To end on a positive note, I very much like the new verge gardens on both sides, corner of Myra Street & New Canterbury Road Dulwich Hill. Council narrowed the road to add gardens and slow down traffic.  They have planted Callistemon ‘Little John,’ which is a fabulous plant.  It looks terrific.  

Here is the red flowering gum in 2016 – short, but bulky.

Here is the same tree in February 2017 after being vandalised.  A dead Brushbox is on the right.

A close up of the vandalised tree. You can see that branches have been twisted and ripped off.

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

Showing 5 of the 6 newly planted Brushbox trees and TWO red flowering gums. It was only after looking at these photos did I see that there was another red flowering gum alive and well here and this too has been removed. Maybe this one was vandalised as well.  The second gum is behind the second staked tree on the right. 

Showing the tree death in this location. Three Brushbox in a row died and one red flowering gum was vandalised. One other small gum tree has also been removed bringing the death count to five.

 

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