The night before court 5.10.2010

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This is a picture of what King Street looked like before the arborist ‘assessed the trees and they had to go’. I could FOI that report but at the moment I don’t have the energy. I just know it would irritate me.

Six months before the trees went I was told by a council officer that the block would be ‘done up’ so I guess the hazard the trees represented was being in the way of a new footpath. Which looks very pretty but it’s hard to get excited about footpaths.

It’s difficult to know how court will go this week but for the sake of a lot of other streets, mature trees and LGAs, I hope it goes well. I met a man in Laman Street at the vigil who heard a council officer where he works (not Newcastle) say, ‘I wish Newcastle Council would get on with getting rid of the trees in Laman Street so we can do the same here’.

We were all happy to hear a couple of months ago hear that Newcastle City Council only takes out trees that are hazardous (yeah right) and if it weren’t for a major loss of trust in council officers and their processes we’d be happy. I look forward to the day that they work out what ‘community engagement’  actually means and involve residents in a meaningful way when it comes to removing trees.

I’d like time for residents to get used to the idea that trees are to be removed – and to have adequate reason to remove the trees – as well as signage that’s prominent; most of all I’d like transparent arborist reports and some recognition that we need more science in arboriculture. And I would dearly like recognition that all aspects of the environment need to be considered in developments.  Any flying pigs passing?

When is the Street Tree Masterplan going to be made available? On council’s website its last mention according to the search facility was almost a year ago. Many other councils have managed to finish theirs and we did budget $200 000 for ours some time ago. Ryde’s is a 126 page document. City of Sydney’s is available online.  I glanced at Coffs Harbour’s: love the mention of liquidambar as a species with invasive roots. City of Greater Shepparton, Wannaroo, Blue Mountains – the list goes on.

The only thing worse than the fact that we in Newcastle have been waiting for so long for ours is the fact that people are beavering away in offices all over the country reinventing the wheel, writing their own street tree masterplans when a Master Street tree Masterplan would do the same job for everyone with a chapter or two for local relevance. Imagine the creative accounting that wouldn’t have to be done. Imagine the time that could be spent on other things. If our draft plan is ready – and I know something exists because I phoned to find out what trees were to be planted in Arnold Street in Mayfield, and the draft plan was consulted to give me my answer – we just need to put a new cover on it. Get rid of the word ‘draft’.

In terms of trees and courts in general Saving our Trees had an interesting article about a lucky grey gum that won a court case. It’s great to see tree risk seen in proportion to tree benefits.

Trees that weren’t so lucky were some heritage trees in the Dandenong Ranges: three mountain ash trees valued at $500 000 each were damaged with a chainsaw. According to a news video (which is irritatingly preceded by an advertisement) the trees are at the site of a flying fox/adventure park which has only been operating for six months. Some locals had objected to the park before it was built. Sad.

Anyway, wish us luck. And go and take some photos in Laman Street. Just in case. Home

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One Response to “The night before court 5.10.2010”

  1. Ali Says:

    BEST OF LUCK FINGER & LIMBS CROSSED!

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