Laman Street to be discussed at 1st council meeting of the year:2/2/10


Last night I was lucky enough to receive an email from a friend who has been trying to save trees for years. She sent me the council link announcing the plan for the community ‘design process’:it appears on the home page. It’s somewhat irritating to have missed its appearance myself after looking a gazillion times but she found it.

According to the meeting’s agenda Laman Street will be discussed at the Ordinary Meeting which starts at 7pm. There is a meeting before that – Economy and Civic Assets + Governance Strategic Themes Committee which has some interesting things like street closures in the vicinity of the mall – the poor mall…

At the December 15th meeting council discussed Laman Street before they had planned to but I presume that from the way things are set out on the website that won’t happen this time??

The more people who can sit in the gallery at the meeting, the better. This is the start of the design process that has been foisted on us and that we have been waiting for so if you can’t attend see if you can encourage someone else to.

You will be happy to know that 40-65 Newcastle residents and business owners, half of whom live or operate a business within 1km of Laman Street and the other half of whom live elsewhere in Newcastle will be chosen to attend a 2 day charette.

That’s French for cart or chariot, apparently, and an online dictionary defines it as  a ‘final, intensive effort to finish a project, esp. an architectural design project, before a deadline’.

That’s not how I recalled it defined at the ward meeting where I first heard about charettes but then one’s eyes do tend to glaze over when listening to talks about processes that may well go out of fashion in the not-too-distant future. The words ‘focus group’ would express it more honestly, I think, and make it more obvious how few of us will be able take part.

The rest of the people who will be involved will be from government and other ‘stakeholder groups’ such as churches, the RTA, the art gallery, the library and schools. According to the information given it’s possible to make a submission detailing your ‘vision’ for the Laman Street precinct before the workshop is held.

On a lighter note, an elected representative, in reply to an email I had sent him, told me that it’s people like me who are holding Newcastle back and who hate change and that it’s fortunate I’m in the minority.

This wasn’t in relation to the Laman Street trees. Charming. Nothing like calling a spade a shovel while you spit in the gutter at the same time.

It reminded me of a phone call I had with an arborist in another town. I’d phoned him for advice and the first half of the conversation was very polite and friendly. It then became clear to him that I like Hill’s figs and he started to describe people who want to cut Hill’s figs down as ‘the good guys’ and other people as ‘the heritage mob’.

A North Americanwith whom I have corresponded about the urban forest described a very small number of the professionals she has dealt with as not being true arborists but rather behaving like lumberjacks.

Trees and development seem to polarise people.

See you on Tuesday. Email me at if you have any questions or suggestions about this or the action group.     Home

This fig looks as though it’s nearly dead and guess what? It’s still standing.


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