NIMBYs 9.8.10


No one likes people who have that Not In My Back Yard attitude. But what about when there are piles and piles and piles of coal in your backyard?

I must actually look at the road on my way to work because I hadn’t noticed a huge area of coal storage within less than 1km of residential Carrington and Islington. When I come home from work it’s dark so the stuff is camouflaged. It’s so close to town they have to pour water all over it to keep the dust down apparently. And I was worried about the stuff on Kooragang Island. A tree buffer zone is just not going to cut it in the inner city.

Thanks NSW state government.

According to Google earth the piles were there in 2006, but they weren’t noticeable from the road. Double-click on the image and it will enlarge.

What else did I find out today? 

Did you ever wonder why political campaign launches seem to happen weeks after the parties obviously started campaigning? It turns out that prior to the campaign lauch, the taxpayer funds it all. Isn’t it nice of them all to let us pay for all that travel?

Trees on farmland are in real trouble if the way people farm doesn’t change according to an article I read in the Sydney Morning Herald. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get out in the paddock and see a lot of big, fat trees and only some little ones,” said [researcher] Joern Fischer. “Typical paddock trees are often over 120 years old, which in many cases pre-dates when farming started in the area. This means there is not a lot of regeneration,” he said.

Apparently non-native grasses tend to choke young trees and livestock eat the saplings.  But there’s hope – if livestock are grazed together the trees do better.

Up north, Brisbane has a canopy cover of 40%. This is the magic figure towns aim for. That’s the tropics and sub-tropics, though, isn’t it? Brisbane really cares about its heritage trees and seems to go out of its way to look after many of them. Loads of them are figs. I read one story about re-routing public transport to preserve a Moreton Bay fig.

There have been instances in Newcastle in the last year or two where some older trees have been conserved by council: council has made a point of insisting that some Hill’s figs outside at least two developments have been maintained and protected, one in the city and one in Mayfield, and the No 2 sportsground ‘upgrade’ has to happen without damaging ‘significant’ trees.

You’ve heard of carbon offsets – well, now there are biodiversity offsets:

‘THREATENED native animals and plants that live on prime development land could be ”offset” by an undertaking to protect different species somewhere else, under proposed state government changes to biodiversity rules. It means an echidna colony in one part of NSW could be destroyed in exchange for the preservation of a rare stand of trees elsewhere in the state…Payments made in lieu of being able to find suitable animals or plants with which to offset a development would usually be a last resort..’

How black must the heart be of the wunderkind who came up with this idea? According to another article in The Land the first case of ‘Biobanking’ has already shown this system won’t work. A ten-year-old could tell you that.

Perhaps Forestry NSW which is government-owned needs to arrange biodiversity offsets: they’re being investigated for shoddy practices that have risked threatened species.

On a less depressing note, rooftop gardening is taking off in New York and the ban on beekeeping has been lifted after 11 years. You can’t imagine a ban on beekeeping, can you, but then 11 years ago there wasn’t the publicity about the decline in bee numbers internationally. Australia is one of the few countries in the world that is free from a mite that is killing off bees. There’s a lovely ‘World of Pollinators’ poster here.

Anyway, more later. I keep checking Newcastle City Council’s meetings agenda listings to see when Laman street is coming up again: so far they only have tomorrow night’s up and it’s a development applications meeting. Deadlines must whizz past council workers’ ears just like they whizz past mine. Pretty noisy when they do that.  Cheers.   Home


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