Newcastle neglected again


It’s an education reading the comments on online newspaper articles. I don’t think  the conservatism that comes through is just a Newcastle thing but it’s impressive here.2 articles appeared over the last few days in The Herald, one about Laman Street and one about trees in general and how pesky they are.

I was very impressed that one person put their name to their comment:

‘Caitlin Raschke is wrong in taking this stance and is well depicted in the photograph as rather a quaint dreamer, more fitted to a fairy tale than the reality that faces the Council on this matter. The facts are that they are the wrong trees in the wrong place and have wreaked havoc on the pavement and buildings for long enough. Time to take photographs, paint some amateurish pictures (perhaps contact the Save Our Rail artist) then prune them and replace them with fast-growing mature trees of a less aggressive variety. It’s a pity that the Greens councillors didn’t make provision 20 years ago for replacement trees to be developed, say at a corner of Summerhill Garbage dump, so they could be plonked in. Instead, the Council wastes money on studies and faux “consultations”. The Tyrrell Street replacement trees are coming on well, by the way! get real, Caitlin!
Posted by John Price, 16/06/2010 7:54:09 AM, on The Herald

The Tyrrell Street trees are indeed growing, I can’t argue with that, but they’ll never create the canopy effect that council arborists promised the council of the day – who agreed to let them fell half the figs there – that they would create.

Newcastle people will remember that the first set of trees planted in Tyrrell Street died because they weren’t watered. Theoretically they should have been planted in vaults to prevent future infrastructure damage but a resident talking to one of the councillors at a Ward 1 community meeting last year  – who watched the trees being planted  – said no vaults were installed so we’ll presumably be having similar fights in fifty years about how the tuckeroos that have survived are in the wrong place.

The ‘right tree,right place’ argument is obviously important but no council arborist or officer has at any stage come out and said ‘we want to remove the Laman Street trees because they’re wrecking the pavement or the footpath or getting into pipes in the gallery’. One would have more respect for them if they did say that because that would probably be the truth, not the safety argument.

The risk of being killed by a tree – unless you’re working as a tree-feller – in Australia is less than 1 in a million – and that figure’s in a  bad year. UK risk estimates use a figure of 1 in 20 million as the risk of being killed by a tree.Compare that with the risk for a young male of being killed going out in Newcastle on a Saturday night, or the risk of a child drowning in a dam, not to mention the risk of being injured in a car accident.

I like Mr Price’s advice that I should contact the Save Our Rail people – which gives me a nice segue to an article about light rail and Newcastle. The Gold Coast managed to get $1billion to build a light rail system there. I can’t imagine having that much money invested in Newcastle. I can’t see it ever happening. No one has to buy our vote and we have been letting people use us up and spit us out forever. This article is from The Herald on 15 6 10:

HUNTER Minister Jodi McKay has questioned the involvement of transport and sustainability expert Peter Newman in the debate about Newcastle’s revitalisation, after he warned against plans to delay the installation of light rail.Ms McKay has proposed that areas of Honeysuckle remain undeveloped as park areas, if the public backs plans to terminate trains at a Wickham interchange and establish light rail once the population has expanded.

That comes as the government is yet to outline the results of a study to assess the feasibility of a terminus and the potential cost.

Professor Newman, a board member of the Rudd government advisory body Infrastructure Australia, has said light rail should immediately replace the heavy rail if that was removed or else it would probably never be implemented.

Asked to respond, Ms McKay issued a statement querying his advocacy.

“As a director of Infrastructure Australia, is Dr Newman guaranteeing funding for a light rail project in Newcastle with its current population?” she said.

“Has Dr Newman spoken with [federal infrastructure] Minister [Anthony] Albanese about Newcastle?”

Professor Newman said he did not speak for the federal government.

But as a board member he was involved in the process that led to the Gold Coast receiving federal funding for light rail.

Professor Newman said the need to install light rail swiftly was based on the use of contributions from redevelopment near the rail corridor to help fund the project.

“You would encourage that development in connection to the transport option,” he said.

“If you leave [light rail] for one day in the future you will miss out on those contributions [for transport].

The money just won’t eventuate at some later stage.”

The government’s timeframe for a rail scoping study and a Newcastle transport plan suggested the results would be known in June, and the full cost estimates available in September.

And as an example of sad irony – I think development of the Art Gallery is where talk of removing the figs first began – NBN last night reported that Newcastle was unsuccessful in a bid for a paltry amount of money to extend the Art Gallery.

The city was asking for the equivalent 8 school tuckshops in the recent school infrastructure programme…

Another example of government regional neglect here

It’s time we asked private enterprise ie coal companies to start kicking in. They’d be remembered forever, long after the coal’s all gone, if their name were on our gallery. Home


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One Response to “Newcastle neglected again”

  1. sharon Says:

    Quote-“The facts are that they are the wrong trees in the wrong place and have wreaked havoc on the pavement and buildings for long enough.” -Unquote

    Is that Laman Street in NEWCASTLE that John Price is talking about? Last time I took a look, yesterday, the footpath in the section of Laman Street that is supposed to be the ‘issue at hand’, the section from Darby Street past the Art Gallery & Regional Library (one block), was looking fabulous and inviting!

    The pavement is wide and in good condition. There are no private residence there and i haven’t heard of ANY complaints about the public buildings struggling with the trees for space. The trees themselves, anything but aggressive, don’t have protruding or unruly above ground roots, they are orderly & incredibly well behaved, contained to a small area and at ground level.

    Gosh, one would hardly know they were there, unless someone wanted the very space that they occupy for another self-gratifying use and erected fear-mungar signs everywhere to bring attention to them and to influence the opinions and actions of others towards them. I wonder where John gets his facts?

    If it takes a person to have a drop of dreamer (Martin Luther King) or romantic (Shakespeare) in them to respect and appreciate natural wealth & beauty and to expect truth & transparency, then maybe Mr Price has you pegged Dr Raschke!

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