Trivia Night coming up on November 12 and some Cairns pictures 1.11.2010


The Laman Street trees as usual are looking particularly beautiful in spring weather and the backdrop they provide to Civic Park – where the deciduous trees have finally come back from hibernation – is as usual stunning.

I was gratified when I spoke to a number of people yesterday after the Chopin concert who assumed that the safety spin from council has been debunked. What that says to me is that people who have been following the media reports about the Laman Street figs are aware that experts have come out and said exactly what they assumed correctly themselves, that the trees are safe.

We are still left with a few people to convince: some Newcastle City Council employees (there are over 900 of them in total) who have been propagandised for a year and a half, and some of our councillors.    

The next event to raise funds to cover the costs of fighting council is on Friday November 12th at Newcastle Leagues Club (in National Park Street opposite Spotlight) at 7:30pm.

There’ll be more details in a few days but write it in your diary and if you have any suggestions or donations feel free to email me at lamanfigs at gmail dot com.

I was sent a great question and suggestion which a Newcastle resident put to councillors:

‘I note s97 of the Roads Act NSW 1993 allows the cost of utility conduits to be recovered by a roads authority (council for Laman St).:

97  Utility services to be located in conduits
(1) The roads authority for a public road in which there are conduits for the carriage of utility services across the road may direct any person who is entitled to place utility services in, on or over the road:
(a) to locate any new or replacement services in any such conduit, and
(b) to pay to the roads authority such proportion as may be prescribed by the regulations of the costs incurred by the roads authority in connection with the construction of the conduit.

So, if we
1.      retained the Laman St ‘Hill’s Fig Avenue’

2.      made a conduit for utilities and sent the bill to the utility providers

would this save up to $1.4 million of ratepayers money?
Then you could close the street to vehicular traffic and easily cover the cost of landscaping, thereby enhancing this significant urban landscape.’

When I saw the picture of a Cairns streetscape I thought it was a photoshopped version of Laman Street. For those people who want pretty new paving in Laman Street and can’t envisage this with the current trees, this picture is informative.

In a follow-up to a councillor he suggested:

1.       It may not be that simple to move existing services but at least the cost would be borne by utility service providers, not ratepayers. Alternatively council could follow Brisbane’s lead by requiring tunnelled placement of services instead of trenching.
2.       I agree that the trees will eventually need to be replaced [but the urgency assumed by council does not exist – CR].
3.       There is plenty of support for closure to vehicular traffic. Community consultation concluded “The majority of respondents who commented on access in the precinct area, favour pedestrian use on Laman Street” ( Laman Street – Civic Precinct, Consultation Report, February 2010 Page 11 of 167).

4.       Option 2b [in the report on planting/replanting options by council officers to elected councillors] assumed vehicular travel was necessary along this section of Laman St  and was then dismissed because of road level differences that might occur during staged replanting. Option 2 b , replace in two stages east then west would preserve the cathedral effect while delayed succession planting would allow larger specimens to provide an immediate effect. (This is the technique being used in Hyde Park . We could have a great result in 12 months not 16 years.
I absolutely want to avoid a substandard result like the city ended up with in Tyrrell St.
I agree it’s about time Newcastle started doing the best, not second class.’ Hear, hear. Home


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One Response to “Trivia Night coming up on November 12 and some Cairns pictures 1.11.2010”

  1. Ali Says:

    “When there is tension it can sometimes provide opportunity” & Ive said it before & il say it again “CAITY FOR MAYOR”! Thankyou for updating & sharing your intelligent & rational concepts for resolving this ridiculous ongoing fig fiasco. If only Newcastle would draw from the award winning plans for the Cairns scenario. The Laman St space has been for generations made & embraced by locals & tourists alike.

    In other news I also feel for all the beautiful Spring brides & wedding parties who persist in coming to the beautiful & beloved backdrop that the Laman St Figs provide. (Despite the tragic presence of the ridiculous orange barriers having to be in the wedding photos.) Ive heard that if the Trees are removed then it will be a win for Wallsend Parks as wedding parties & photographers take their much loved focus & business elsewhere. Talk about disengaging communities from the “organic local spirit” of the civic precinct & inner Newcastle. Makes an absolute joke of bringing in the foriegn “placemaker” when NCC completely ignores wishes of local constituents.

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