When will Laman Street’s figs come back to council?

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Every time the vans (shown at left) disappear from one of Newcastle’s most-passed corners I give a little inward cheer and every time they come back I’m reminded of the barbarism that must exist in the hearts of our city’s managers.I keep an eye on our council’s website for meeting agendas (agendae?) so that deciding on Laman Street figs’ demise doesn’t sneak up on me. The last time it came to council it was decided that the report written by the Sydney consultants about the design workshop’s findings would be presented to councillors as a briefing rather than just handed to them and then put on public exhibition.Here’s what I’m up against: an empty page.

Is it feasible that just over a week before a meeting one has no idea what’s going to be discussed?

Anyway, I’ll keep looking.

What have I found out this week?

Times Square was pedestrianised ages ago: the story from the NY Daily news is here . I hadn’t heard about this – that’s how out of it I am. I told a couple of people today to see if everyone knew, but I’m not alone.

This weekend Livesites in Newcastle has a Waste as Art display along our foreshore which should be worth a  look. It’s called Waste Knot Want Knot. I found a picture of a fantastic work that will be there:

This picture is from The Motor Report

There’s a public art installation in New York at the moment called Play me I’m Yours  in which 60 pianos have been put in squares and parks throughout the five boroughs of New York for anyone to play. People have uploaded photos and videos onto the project’s website. It’s a cool idea.

I read about an over-55s facility being built in Morpeth, a lovely little town in the Hunter Valley, which is being built. It’s reported that 900 trees are to be taken out to build the facility. Local residents are understandably upset and say the local council isn’t listening to their concerns.

A city councillor in Orange, in central NSW, wants the council there to start spending something like $100 000 a year to bury energy cables to try to avoid the butchering of trees by Country Energy. Country Energy say they’re putting in Aerial Bundled Cabling when they upgrade power lines. It has been cheering to see some ABCs throughout Newcastle recently.

I saw this heron/crane/ibis/whatever on a roof in the grounds of the Roads and Traffic Authority on the way home from netball. We had seen three of them having a busy time in the storm water channel where Cottage Creek runs, catching fish. A relative of mine lives in a former industrial suburb in Newcastle and has a pond in her backyard with fish and frogs in it. She has to chase away a large grey bird that has more than decimated her fish population.

In Goondiwindi some mature figs in one of the main streets, Maclean Street, were felled by council because of pavement damage. Sad story. The other sad story from Goondiwindi has nothing to do with the council; there has been a huge Moreton Bay fig in the grounds of the hospital there that Queensland health decided were a threat to staff safety. One of the hazards was supposed to be the fact that someone could hide behind the tree. OMG.

There’s an arborist forum called treeworld and a page of it is about the Goondiwindi Hospital tree pruning. (I signed up to this forum to learn about arboriculture but was affected by culture shock and had to take a break: so many of the avatars that people use to represent themselves are of huge trees being felled or chainsaws.) There’s some passion on the Goondiwindi page.

And on the South Coast of NSW a Bunnings hardware development will require the removal of tens of thousands of trees and cover an area the size of seven football fields, on a tourist drive right near the beach. Imagine the habitat loss. The council is allegedly calling for tenders to remove the trees and the bushrock even before the development application has been  approved.

And I saw a high-rise building that I liked today. This is not a very helpful picture but my excuse is that it was raining so I had to take shelter under an awning. Sorry about those pesky trees that are in the way. It’s built on/behind what used to be one of the roughest pubs in Newcastle, the Bellevue. I only ever went there once to see a friend in a show. I’ll take some better photos when it stops raining.

And on a depressing note it seems the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico every 4 days, I hear there are 33 similar deepwater oil platforms in the gulf (I stupidly thought there was only one) and one in Bass Strait and one off Ningaloo Reef in WA. Please tell me this news is incorrect.

A hopeful thing to take one’s mind off that sort of thing is the Transition Towns network whose Newcastle website is here. The transition towns concept is great. It takes an optimistic approach to the problem of peak oil.

As an afterthought, I should just say I’m in no hurry for a resolution to the Laman Street Issue if it means losing the trees, so I’m happy to keep seeing council meeitngs that don’t mention them forever.  More soon. Cheers.     Home

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