The Vision Thing for design workshop

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Double click on this and you’ll be able to read it. Note the deadline: Feb 22

You can also go to the website to tell council your vision for Laman Street. You really should do this because weight of numbers is important. If council only have input from the people who are lucky enough to go to the charette and those people are overwhelmed by the spin put forward at the workshops and naive enough to believe it, then the trees will go and we’ll have our very own Concord Hospital in the middle of Newcastle (see last post).

Options could include:

Leave the street as it is: it’s fantastic, well-loved and viewed as safe by its users. Newcastle people have not been swayed by talk of the risk of the trees and are skeptical about the motives behind the current moves to remove the trees.

Look after the trees well: mulch around their bases and get rid of the palms growing out of the middle of them. Engage an arborist with the will and expertise to advise on tree preservation. Our own council arborists no doubt have this if they’re allowed to do their job.

Replace the figs that are missing from the eastern end of the street. Council moved to replace them as a matter of urgency in 2008.

Put disabled parking at the eastern end of the art gallery where presumably staff parking is now.

Put picnic tables and more benches in Civic Park.

Put a playground in Civic Park. This would greatly increase the relevance of and connection to the park for Newcastle residents. (Please no more Ausplay equipment, though.)

If someone is set on increasing the size of the art gallery and can’t rebuild because Newcastle’s residents have insisted on keeping the figs, the library could be moved  and the gallery expanded into the Cultural Centre. Someone clever and creative suggested the Post Office building. That would stop that poor thing rotting away. Have we sold the wonderful museum building yet?  (Wasn’t that a terrible move. The only museum in Australia that made a profit.) That would make a good library.

If you insist on having five minute only parking in the street (which you may not since it’s just part of the spin) then a bus needs to go up Laman street to make it easier for people to get to the library.

Light up some of the trees in Civic Park with fairy lights the way New York does.

Make a feature of the fauna in Laman Street: signage talking about how the grey-headed fruit bat is vulnerable, its numbers have been decreasing and that figs are an important part of their diet. Signage naming the birds that use the street trees. Suggest that anyone walking up the street at night take an umbrella – I can speak from experience…

Signage relating to the history of the street. The cultural collection has some great pictures you could use for this.

Signage relating to how big a contribution the trees of Laman Street make to the city: carbon sequestration, shade, reducing stormwater, dealing with air pollution, cooling the street, prolonging bitumen life, slowing taffic.

And what happened to the silver pointy sculpture that has been outside the gallery for a million years? It’s like anything: you don’t appreciate it till it’s gone.

In France at the Luxembourg gardens there were permanent structures that enabled free outdoor photographic exhibitions. A walk in the shade of the trees, the gallery and the library all attract people but that may attract even more. One or more of them could showcase the exhibit inside the gallery.

A tourist information sign at the end of the street at the corner of Darby Street with a map, beaches, galleries, shopping centres, movie theatres, transport info, skateparks etc.

If extending the gallery into the cultural centre isn’t a possibility and you insist it’s necessary, build an extension out the back where the car park now is.

Bottom line: leave the trees where they are.

If tree replacement can’t be avoided because of council’s intransigence then you should replace them with trees that are equally grand (click on this link and you’ll see some huge trees being moved) as the trees in place now. If Hill’s figs are your problem then you should use Port Jackson figs or Moreton Bay figs and they should be fully grown and planted using modern technology so that the trees are safe from the effects of roadworks in the future and so that the built environment is safe from the trees. 

 Bottom line: the people of Newcastle should not have to tolerate another Tyrrell Street debacle.

 Leave the trees alone or replace them with trees that are the same size.

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One Response to “The Vision Thing for design workshop”

  1. Ralph Says:

    Every bit of green in the city is precious.

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