Be careful what you wish for


One of council’s risk management actions has been to put almost a complete ban on parking in Laman Street. This was done within about thirty seconds of council voting to give these trees time for community consultation before they chopped them down, ie back in December.

This was done to ‘remove the target’ in the event of tree failure. In other words, if a tree falls there is unlikely to be anyone near it.It satisfies insurers in that it means you’re reducing the risk of damage to people or property. After all, one of these trees could move a couple of centimetres but remain standing in the event of a one-in-a-hundred-year, 9 on the Beaufort scale storm with strong gale-force winds of 90km/hour fall at any time.

The added bonus of the appearance of risk reduction is the irritation this causes to some residents and visitors. When you want to get rid of a much-loved row of trees you need to wear people down until they can’t be bothered trying to save them any more.

The parking arrangements in the street now mean there are three 5 minute parking spaces just outside the art gallery, one 15 minute space just outside the Baptist tabernacle and one or two disabled parking spaces at the western end of the street.The street is basically one-way in that there are barriers on the northern side of the road at both ends of the street. This is all fantastic for pedestrians and the trees – thank heavens the roots of the trees are safer from parking than they used to be.

The second photo on this page is the No stopping sign seen from the eastern end of the street. Cars approach from this side. Until late last year the street was two-way and I think the people who decided to put the signs in had this history in their heads.

Cars would originally have approached heading towards the business or red side of this sign. Not any more. Maybe council did the no-parking stuff first and when that wasn’t irritating safe enough they blocked one lane off and made it one way. They only forgot one little thing – moving the signs around.

I was reminded of all this by an article in The Herald yesterday about a man caught out by this very problem and fined – wait for it – $197.

He can at least be happy in the knowledge that the greater good is served by this restriction. After all – a fifteen or thirty minute parking restriction would allow people to go into the library or the gallery. We can’t have that.

I’ve said all along I’d prefer never to be able to drive into or park in the street than to see these trees removed without good reason and so it’s a case of be careful what you wish for.

At least we don’t live in Belgrade: there the government decided to renovate a street by felling about 400 plane trees that had been planted after World War 1 with reparations money from Germany. They alleged they were all sick but locals were skeptical. A group was set up on Facebook to try to save these and this had 15000 members. On the day the trees were to go unfortunately the protesters were outnumbered by police and all but one of the trees were removed.

A single tree remains.

And some non-tree notes:

While I’m whining here’s a picture of the vans that are back at the corner of Laman and Darby Streets. We’ve even gained a fence. My guess is these have the chainsaws in them for the tree-felling. Congratulations to council for the very attractive fence around the van/containers that will be admired by all.

Serious congratulations do go to council who presumably commissioned a new public artwork on a boarded-up building in Hunter Street and to whatever developer renovated a non-public building in Hamilton where I had lunch today: it has the most beautiful pressed-metal ceiling I’ve seen in a while. And if you ever go into Spotlight, the last large sewing shop in the area (since they and we put all the others out of business) look up at the ceiling there. It’s stunning.

 The Australian artist William Dobell’s first job was as a dog – walloper – when he was 12 he had to stand outside the pub and wallop any dogs who were about to pee on the building – and his second job was creating designs for pressed-metal ceilings. There’s a plaque outside the cafe in Cooks Hill where Fig Jam, the tree preservation group, have their meetings, telling us that the building is Dobell’s birthplace. Cool. Home


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2 Responses to “Be careful what you wish for”

  1. Ali Says:

    Heaven help those highly trained paratrooping staffers who risk “life & limb” by having their workplace in such “risky” environments! Imagine the elavated risk in actually extending your time under these trees while erecting signs! What a joke NCC is!

  2. sharon Says:

    Crikey! does this mean that Council doesn’t care about the Disabled? Maybe this is really a conspiracy to reduce the amount of Disabled people in Newcastle by ‘Killer Tree’ because they are “lazy assets” (the disabled that is).

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