Chief arborist says ‘We have moved beyond tree preservation’


This is just a quick note to ask a question.

Yesterday there was lots of doom and gloom about the future of trees in Civic Park, the park in the centre of town. There are quite a lot of mature trees; not enough but a reasonable number.

Even though these trees look healthy to the untrained eye many of them are allegedly either diseased or root-bound or in terrible soil (that after 100 years is suddenly going to be a problem). Some have fallen over in storms or out of the blue over the years. Why they haven’t been replaced is beyond me.

My question is what has our chief arborist been doing about this during his tenure?

He pointed out a row of figs that were planted ten years ago about 2 kilometres away from the park that provide a food source for flying foxes. This was  during a discussion of how these creatures are vulnerable and how important the mature figs in Laman Street are to these animals.

He also told us that as the creatures are indeed vulnerable council is not permitted to do anything that harms their viability. Must look into that in more detail.

So over the last decade or so while trees have been taken out or fallen over, what has our Urban-Forest-Policy-promoting ex-chief arborist been doing?

His best quote yesterday was ‘Newcastle has moved beyond tree preservation and into tree replacement’. How scary is that?

Save our rail has come up with these lovely pedestrian crossings

One of the other things that kept coming up yesterday was the implication that the railway line cuts off the Civic precinct from the harbour. The picture on the left is from the website of Save Our Rail. They have costed taking out the rail compared with leaving it in and putting in pedestrian crossings and these are their designs.

A young idealistic facilitator yesterday asked what if we thought that something like light rail was a good idea. I think the chances of getting that funded is the proverbial Buckley’s and none so we’d be giving away infrastructure adn getting yet more plastic and glass in return, which is what will happen to the land the railway line is now on. Anyone who thinks parkland will replace the railway line has rocks in their head. (See an earlier post about Honeysuckle as it is vs how it was supposed to be – I’ll get the link later.)

There is a plan to bring heaps of  university students into the city (or at least to Honeysuckle, that plastic and glass set of buildings on the harbour) and if we don’t provide public transport we’ll be in trouble.

Our table wrote on every piece of high-tech butcher’s paper put under our noses ‘Leave the rail’ and ‘Put in pedestrian crossings to the railway line’.My partner’s table kept telling the faciltators that it wasn’t relevant. I’ll be interested to see what spin is produced about this.

What we did was go from table to table to talk with a facilitator about various things. They would spread out a map of the area and put a transparent piece of paper over the map; we were then asked to either write our ideas on our (individually stamped with our name) sticky notes or write on the plan. I thought sticky notes would just fall off or be chucked away.

This was in the part of the day when we would get a chance to ask experts questions. Yeah, right.

Anyway, back to session two. More later.

I’ll ask my teenager to put the radar report on the website for anyone who’s interested. It won’t happen till later today. Cheers.  Home

Fuzzy night photo taken with inadequate equipment (sorry) of a family of kookaburras who live in Laman Street


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2 Responses to “Chief arborist says ‘We have moved beyond tree preservation’”

  1. Ali Says:

    I wonder what species of Flying Foxes?
    One would assume the fauna including any Vulnerable Species would be part of any assessment?

    If not why not?

    Particularly if the species falls under the Threatened Species Act!

    • Caity Raschke Says:

      They’re grey-headed flying foxes. I haven’t seen on council’s website anything about taking these into account when talking about the trees. They are listed as vulnerable.When discussing these at the charade yesterday Mr Hewett the semi-retired chief arborist said council are aware of their status and that they are charged with the responsibility to do nothing to endanger them further. He mentioned a row of figs in Hamilton that they planted ten years ago ?in anticipation of other trees coming closer to the end of their life cycle. In Newcastle I think we all think there are so many of them that they must be safe but there are other examples of species which were apparently in abundance and still became extinct. Surely as a city we would be proud to look after these.

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