Fauna in Laman Street 12.10.10

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People who have been attending the vigil held in Laman Street every evening know how many birds make their homes in the beautiful trees there.The sounds of the fig birds, kookaburras, wattle birds, rainbow lorikeets and native cuckoo shrikes are easily recognised and it’s amazing to watch the aerial acrobatics of the fastest birds darting in and out of branches.

The kookaburras tend to laugh at about the same time each evening (daylight saving notwithstanding) and if you hadn’t noticed that spring was in the air the birds would have let you know.

This time next week, these trees could be gone [well, going: it’s to take a painful three weeks] if the Land and Environment court case is unsuccessful – and remember, all it is deciding is whether it’s legal for Newcastle City Council to use the Roads Act to remove these sturdy, majestic, iconic trees, calling all 14 of them a traffic hazard, or alternatively whether this actually constitutes a ‘development’ and therefore needs to be treated as such – whereby council could still remove the trees but at a later date and after public comment – more public comment.

Isn’t it ironic that approximately 7000 signatures on petitions could fail to save these trees? Isn’t it ironic that of the 400 submissions to council in February/March this year about these trees only 4% suggested removing the trees? I rarely meet people who think it’s a good idea to destroy this streetscape. And then they don’t have a good reason except that they’re sick of talking about them.

You can read the fauna assessment that council finally commissioned here (379KB). I think it makes sad reading: apparently destroying 2% of the food source of a  threatened species isn’t significant.

More later. Home

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4 Responses to “Fauna in Laman Street 12.10.10”

  1. Ali Says:

    From the Newcastle Herald” Appearing as an expert witness, ecological consultant Charles Williams told the court he was “surprised” to have seen a Greater Broad-nosed bat on the wall of the art gallery on April 1 because the protected species were not known to be in Newcastle.

    Asked by Adrian Galasso SC, for the council, whether the removal would effect bats, Mr Williams said he couldn’t say as an “adequate survey” hadn’t been done to determine if bats used the trees.”

  2. Ali Says:

    Grey Headed Flying Fox
    East Coast Freetail Bat
    Little Bent Wing Bat
    Broad Nosed Bat

    All Scientifically listed Threatened Species all acknowledged as being present at the Laman St 14 Fig Tree area.

    Yet I have tried to ascertain & enter sightings into the DECC wildlife atlas without success. According to the atlas maps, there are for eg no GHFF in Newcastle inner city area which we all know to be untrue. I also note no Marine Turtles (assumedly they must fly between Port Stephens & Lake Macquarie?) My point is that the DECC atlas is renowned for being unreliable. So just who in DECC has been formally consulted & who exactly authorised the removal activity of these mature trees?
    So many Threatened Species utilise the habitat has anyone from the Threatened Species Unit even been made aware & involved?

    I would additionally argue that the extensive lighting which attracts insects and the proximity to water & green space in Civic Park makes this indeed a unique valuable and an important inner city urbanised environment. (Was a ladder even used to check the upper limbs of the canopy of the fig trees for evidence of species?) 45 mins each day at dusk does not seem to comprehensive to me.

    Felling trees that contain hollows of course will impact the threatened species. The Freetail Bats breeding cycle begins in warmer months often December (however we all now know how out of whack seasonal predictions have been)

    To say that these threatened species will not be impacted on by simply noting additional trees in the local area is ridiculous and not a strong justification at all. Who is to say these other trees nearby don’t already have existing species utilising hollows? Are these other trees supposedly “available” located in back yards with predators like cats & dogs? I could go on!

    A new and comprehensive Fauna assessment needs to done with proper authorities submitting objective comment.

  3. Ali Says:

    How remiss of me . Additionally the Eastern Bent Wing Bat was also sighted utilising the “air space” of Laman St Figs. that is 5 Threatened Bat Species to date. But alledgedly there will be no impact on these supposedly legally protected threatened species Please spare me!

  4. Ali Says:

    has DECCW or the Threatened Species Unit even been involved in this high profile NCC habitat removal proposal? Should the Federal Environment Department be notified? I doubt the proponent would notify unprompted.

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