News update 26.8.2010


I uploaded the photos that were taken by council after the Pasha Bulker storm onto photobucket so you can see what represents ‘whole tree failures’. These are what council’s website calls ‘casebook’ examples.

The photos are here or on the right hand side of the home page and are called ‘Underwhelming storm damage’. They consist of pictures of cracked footpaths. The most impressive picture to me is of some cracks in the base of a tree.  It saddens me greatly that these were used as justification to remove those trees and leave gaping holes in the streetscape.

I looked at these photos when I received them via a Freedom of Information request and was, of course, baffled that these represented impending doom for anyone who walked under the trees.  See what you think. It just reminds me of the aftermath of the earthquake 20 years ago  when with possibly unnecessary haste any number of lovely buildings were demolished to save the public from danger…

As various council advisers have pointed out to me on numerous occasions, trees are not My Special Subject so I sought advice from an Independent Arborist and he said,

‘The fact that trees did not fail [in the Pasha Bulker storm] but developed defects…demonstrates that such defects can be addressed if and when such an incident occurs. I do agree with the view that trees planted close to the curb do have a different root morphology than those that are planted in open parks. There is however no evidence that this means that those trees with altered root morphology are at a greater risk of failure since trees develop responses to ensure stability. I have actually had the opportunity to move this species bare rooted and am very aware of the importance of sinker roots in providing significant stability even when all the roots are cut.

 ‘Sadly it may have been the case that the movement and cracking observed in the ground under these trees was little more than the result of tensile strain being placed on roots within the root plate. If no ‘root pull out’ occurred then the tree would have simply respond by strengthening itself over the following seasons.’


In other news I hear there may be more than one endangered or vulnerable animal that makes its home or uses as a  food source the Laman Street trees. More when I know more.

And everyone in Newcastle knows that GPT, the enormous company that was going to build a shopping ‘mall’ in the CBD of Newcastle, have taken their bat and ball and gone home. This was announced yesterday but had been threatened months ago.

They were going to turn the CBD into a suburban shopping mall but insisted for some reason that the rail line should be cut. The reason for that eludes me but it had something to do with ‘connectivity’. Given our experience at the charade  charette I know I start twitching whenever I hear about connections – we were openly encouraged to aim for cutting the rail line in our discussions about Civic Park and Laman Street. 

The latest thing about connections is that there is talk that the connection between Nelson Bay CBD  and the waterfront there is inadequate. Presumably a shopping centre will increase it. They’re kidding.

And NCIG are going to start planting trees in front of their coal stockpiles in the next few weeks, I’m told. I look forward to that.

And the talk with the lawyers has begun. Watch this space. Home

Pride in our city


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3 Responses to “News update 26.8.2010”

  1. Phoenix Says:

    I am afraid!
    1.30 Thursday.
    Just coming back from University CBD Campus Library – the area around the Figs is now cordoned off with those extra heavy duty orange and white barricades (not the ones they usually use on a windy day). They are linked together with heavy wire rope.
    A cherry picker arrived while I was there and backed up to the barricade from the Darby St end and there’s a few workers wandering around. I waited awhile but no further action except checking the wire rope at the Dawson St end. I will go up again in a little while – but it makes me afraid for the trees.

  2. Phoenix Says:

    After being there for about an hour the cherry picker has gone. It does make me fearful, one day they are just going to cut the trees down and they will all be gone.
    tragic. Phoenix

  3. Caity Raschke Says:

    I phoned council – thanks for letting us know about it. They said the tree team were there putting in barriers because of the wind warning.
    Anyone in the community who sees something worrying should let us know – we’d all be grateful; cheers. C.

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