Let’s trench again


I went for a walk today expecting to be able to take photos of filled in trenches that I’d heard about on Friday and found these nice council guys doing some work.

Trenching 28 2 2010

If you don’t know about the background, it’s that when work was being done in relation to extending the Art Gallery  an external arborist was called in to trench in the street to document where roots were going.  There’s a picture from the 2009 report by Dennis Marsden of that work at the end of this peiece. Deja vu.

I think the reason this is being done again is to discredit the radar report that council themselves commissioned in December.

They’re back-filling the holes with sand. This is not totally bad, but the research I did yesterday indicated that it’s too porous to go under tree roots and the arborist I spoke to this morning said ideally one should use structured soil.

Surely for a million-dollar avenue of trees you’d use the best, especially if your concern is keeping the trees safe until you can do away with them without too much community outcry, wouldn’t you?

On a Sunday you’d imagine the labour costs would be prohibitive, wouldn’t you? Imagine if we spent this money on caring for these trees instead of gathering information for the charade.

What follows is a Herald article detailing the Civic Park plan from 2005. It makes chilling reading. Not only do/did they want to remove the Laman Street figs but lots of Civic Park trees as well. Soul-less.


Open vision for city park

Author: By NEIL KEENE Civic Reporter
Date: 02/11/2005
Words: 361
Source: NCH
          Publication: Newcastle Herald
Section: News
Page: 23
THE look of Civic Park and the surrounding area will change dramatically if a Newcastle City Council-commissioned vision for the site comes to fruition.Representatives of Sydney-based consultants PSB, hired by the council to review the Civic Park plan of management, proposed last night a raft of changes to the inner-city precinct bounded by Laman, Darby, Auckland and King streets.The most radical, and the one likely to cause the most controversy, is a plan to close Laman Street to traffic, remove the fig trees in front of the library and art gallery and create grassy, tiered platforms in front of the buildings, descending to the park.

A “gateway” to the park would be built on the corner of Darby and King streets, with trees planted along the Darby Street boundary.

Under the proposal presented last night, which deputy general manager David Crofts said was not a final draft, many of the park’s trees will gradually be removed to create larger open spaces for festivals, memorial services and other events.

The boundary with the church in the south-west corner of the park will be opened and a former station master’s cottage on the church grounds would be used as a cafe or community building.

Consultant John O’Grady also suggested moving the palm trees in Wheeler Place to the eastern side to reveal the Civic Theatre’s ornate side wall and provide shade to the easternmost cafe.

Mr O’Grady said a retractable water feature could be built into the pavement to activate the site.

Also suggested was a “semi-permanent” performance stage at the back of Wheeler Place, paving that mimicked the layout of the mine shafts under the area and the planting of a “rainforest” environment in the western part of Civic Park.

Mr O’Grady said the proposal could be rolled out over 10 to 15 years, though he did not estimate its cost.

The consultants’ plan will be fine-tuned before going on display to the public possibly early in the new year, pending council approval.



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