‘Transition of the space’ 7.9.2010


At left is a picture of a branch that fell off a tree in Civic Park in our CBD during the wild winds on the weekend. Was that a fig tree I hear you ask? No, it was a poplar.

Most people in Newcastle are aware that council arranged a process of community consultation for the Laman Street and Civic Park precinct. Most people were appalled at the cost of it. I wonder how they feel about that expenditure now that it’s been completely ignored?

Cr Nelmes (ALP) reminded other councillors and the gallery at a recent council meeting that of the 400+ submissions to Newcastle Voice relaying residents’ vision for the future of the street and the park 96% wanted to retain the trees.

So far in total 3500 people have signed petitions to retain the Laman Street figs and yet this is unlikely to happen. This is in contrast to a street in Mayfield where a small street-full of people (50 max is my bet but I don’t actually know) petitioned council to fell mature and beautiful camphor laurels and were successful. There street looks appalling. This is spite of council’s arborist recognising that it would be twenty years before the replacement trees (we’re still waiting) made up for the  environmental losses caused by  from removing the existing trees.

At least two councillors have now said that they voted to remove the Laman Street trees not on the grounds of safety after all. One said,  

My opinion is that the issue of risk and risk management was what brought the matter before the council, but it was the issue of transition of the space that drove my decision.’

The other said,

‘This is just the beginning of what this city can do if we accept change, let go of the past and work towards a greater future.
… For me, at the end of the day this is not about conflicting arborist’s reports, it’s about council making tough decisions for the common good.’

Interesting way of looking at the common good.

If you haven’t already read the community-commissioned  Laman Street arborist’s report  you’re missing out. And you can see pictures of the council’s apparent definitions of whole tree failure here . And it’s never too late to email or phone your councillors and tell them politely what you think of the decision. Their details are here.

In 2007 in Paddington a beautiful street called Selwyn Street (on the City of Sidney Council’s website as a significant street) was under threat by politicians and arborists. You can read about it here. Eerily familiar.

Winston Churchill said,

Well, one can always consult a man and ask him: ‘Would you like your head cut off tomorrow?’ and after he has said: ‘I would rather not,’ cut it off. ‘Consultation is a vague and elastic term.’              Home


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One Response to “‘Transition of the space’ 7.9.2010”

  1. Jacqueline Says:

    The reasons given to remove these trees just keeps growing. I can hardly keep up with them.

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