Give me a tree buffer zone and a green roof and I’ll shut up for five minutes 7.8.10


 Blackbutt Reserve is an area of remnant bush in the middle of Newcastle.

There are several entries to the Reserve:  this is the western entry. Well marked for visitors. Not.

Not sure if it’s deliberate. I remember a f ew years ago there was talk of council selling parts of it for housing and there was loud opposition in the community to such a dreadful idea. There was also talk of putting a highway through it. One of our current councillors was appalled at the lack of support for building on the fringes; he thought that losing too many trees wasn’t a reason not to build. Wake up and smell the oxygen, sir.

The top of Blackbutt, here, is where my family would go for picnics when I was a kid, but it seems to have been let go back to its natural state, with the picnic area we used then now  going wild. I don’t know if that’s why there’s no sign. It reminds me of the museum.

The museum is currently closed, having been a beautiful old brewery which was done up specifically to be our museum. It was sold a couple of years ago to a developer for what felt like a song. For years it was standard to measure the number of visitors. Leading up to the sale they gave up this routine. Not surprisingly, numbers seemed to drop off. It was said at the time, I think, to be the country’s only museum that made a profit. I recall the Lord Mayor being negative about the future of the building because it was going to cost a lot to air condition it. Well, it would have been a fraction of what the new building is costing.

Work has started on the new site which so far is going to cost millions. It’s at Honeysuckle on the harbour where there’s no parking now, unlike at the West End of town where you were always certain of being able to park, and if you went by bus it stopped right out the door, unlike now where the bus stop will be possibly 300 metres away.

Here’s a picture of Laman Street this week after the storm . It’s a good thing they closed the area – someone could have been injured by a leaf blowing into their eye.

There was a story in The Herald this week for a Plan to have a Plan for the former BHP site.

BHP left the state-owned site 11 years ago and the 90 hectares is up for grabs. It’s heartening to think there’s any manufacturing left in this country. I had been thinking that one day we could be making little plastic bits ‘n’ pieces with ‘Made in Australia’ stamped on them, destined for China’s $2 shops, that consumers at the other end would often reject because of poor quality.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the site were made attractive and some of the land were parkland? Here is some pictures of under spaces – areas under bridges made into parkland for example.  Green roofs as a prerequisite for building there would be fantastic: Toronto has made it mandatory for all new major buildings to incorporate a green roof. We should do the same. Tree buffer zones between industry and residential zones and nearby roads would be a huge boon and should have been required for the coal loader sites on Kooragang. We need some Newcastle m/billionaires who aren’t just pro-development and anti-environment to take an interest. Flying pigs anyone?

More frothing at the mouth soon. Home




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One Response to “Give me a tree buffer zone and a green roof and I’ll shut up for five minutes 7.8.10”

  1. Ali Says:

    You raised some very interesting points Caitlin. My sister & children lived near the western entrance to Blackbutt too. I have such fond memories of the place, but agree i would be hard pressed to see any sign of entry now.
    I also just noticed the new roof garden at a large Toronto apartment development & the greenery looks great. The Toronto Boulevarde is lined with magnificent figs a welcome, popular & needed reprieve in the hot summer sun.
    Funny you should also mention those hazardous risky leaves blowing into someones eyes 🙂 When i visited Laman st at the opening of the Curious Colony exhibition ( where the Govenors car was illegally yet SAFELY parked for hours under the Trees!) I near slipped trying to negotiate pools of water before entering Laman st proper. The Darby st gutters were so blocked by material, that a mini flood had backed up onto the st making it hazardous for pedestrians & cars alike. & I can assure you in that torrential rain there wasnt a FIG LEAF in sight as the cause! Surely if safety is serious concern for NCC, why would they allow such visible drains to remain blocked with known invitations having been sent to all & sundry to such a popular exhibition opening? NCC must have known this would increase traffic pedestrian & vehicular, as most would be expected to traverse this route?

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