Council could vote tonight to fell the Laman Street trees 17 8 2010


Tonight 17.8.2010 at 6pm on the second floor of the Town Hall – turn left at the top of the stairs – council’s ordinary meeting starts. There seems to be a lot on the agenda and it includes the Laman Street figs.

Council managers have whittled the options for the street down to two alternatives. Their business papers claim this is because of councillor feedback (item 15).

The choices are between (obviously my desired option) the status quo with all its silly  ‘risk management’ actions like ugly barriers, closing the street in the evening, green footprints painted on the road to discourage walking near those treacherous trees on the northern side of the road  and so on, and a single row of liquidambars down the middle of the street.

I was talking to a wildlife worker today and they were appalled at the choice of tree.

We”ll see what happens with the vote, but the numbers aren’t looking good.

I was interviewed today by NBN, our local TV station, which was nice. It’s a measure of how big a story it is – it’s going to be bigger when the trees go.

I still remember Birdwood Park in the early 70s when my English teacher and many other people chained themselves to bulldozers and treeswhich were then chopped down. Here is a picture of the park before some of the figs were chopped down. We used to go to the circus there. Here is an amazing picture of a rally in the park – in the days when you could get people to go to things. The equivalent now, I suppose, seems to be joining a group on facebook. Very little effort required for that.

In the 70s in Newcastle the Lord Mayor was Doug McDougall:

  ‘As lord mayor (1956, 1958 and 1965-73) and chairman (1965) of Shortland County Council, he promoted Newcastle as an industrial capital. Believing that ‘relics should not be allowed to hold up the progress of Newcastle’, he advocated the demolition of several of the city’s most important colonial buildings for a new office-block. The projected destruction of the historic eastern end of the city in the 1960s and its replacement with high-rise development was forestalled by widespread community opposition backed by the trade-union movement.An accomplished pianist, McDougall supported the arts. He oversaw the establishment of the War Memorial Cultural Centre and five new branch libraries, and the installation in Civic Park of a fountain designed by the sculptor Margel Hinder. Major capital works completed during his term included an administration building for the council, suburban swimming pools, the International Sports Centre and inner-city car parks. His support for the construction of a freeway through the city’s most extensive bushland reserve and a road through Birdwood Park attracted strong resistance. Aware of his waning popularity, he reluctantly retired from local government in 1973, though he returned briefly in 1977.’


I wonder if history will repeat itself for some of our current councillors?  Home


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One Response to “Council could vote tonight to fell the Laman Street trees 17 8 2010”

  1. T Says:

    Shame Newcastle Council! No foresight and no sucession planning. If a tree is senesing, then replace it with the same thing of great beauty.

    How could the Council seriously consider liqudambar trees? These EXOTIC trees are a horrible allergen for hayfever and asthma suffers – its very nature is that it requires windborne pollenation so it produces huge amounts of pollen. Consider the respiratory health of the community! And those horrible seed balls are hard and spikey – if one treads on a fallen seedpod on the footpath it can roll under your foot and cause a fall very easily – another public liability issue.

    And what of the native wildlife that feed on the figs? The endangered bats, native birds and believe it or not, even urban possums I have seen in the city.

    Newcastle Council has not demonstrated any committment to keeping Cooks Hill green. Where figs fell in the 2007 storm the Council did not replace them but rather tarred over the hole where the tree fell and is now getting parking revenue. Two examples of this are the corner of Laman and Bruce Street, and further along Bruce St towards the Bull St intersection.

    Why oh why cant the current Council have the insight into the amenity that these trees give – the foresight of former city planners gave us a place of great beauty. Please allow the current and future generations the same pleasure.

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