Great Christmas Present 15.12.2010


We won.

Last night’s council meeting was fantastic. The night for us started with a Public Voice presentation given by Fee Drelincourt who was just sensational. She was a mine of information on the difficulties of assessing tree risk and ways to preserve these trees and actually improve their health. Her approach of concensus and her desire for the community and council to work together set the tone for the night.

When the council meeting looked at the issue in the second part of the night only four councillors voted against the motion put forward by Cr Nelmes and Cr Claydon which was to keep the trees, REPLANT the ones that have been taken out in the past and to look after the current trees.

What were some of the highlights? More petition signatures were presented to council in the course of the meeting. That takes us to almost 10000.

 Crs Nelmes and Claydon (ALP) spoke beautifully and persuasively.

 On a personal note I also liked it when Cr Connell (Ind) said he wanted to correct some comments from an earlier meeting (where it had been said we were a difficult bunch to deal with) by saying that the campaigners he had dealt with were respectful and professional. Cr Osborne (Greens) made the point that while council’s costs on this were high – eg $150 000 in legal costs – the costs of volunteers’ time and the cost of expert reports etc to campaigners was likely to be very significant.

The Lord Mayor talked about listening to and representing the community rather than just telling them what is thought to be Good For Them. Cr Jackson (ALP) talked about the huge variations in levels of assessed risk – eg that the risk of the trees were 1 in 19.8 by one report and very safe in others).

The Herald story is here.

We are so grateful to elected councillors, the experts who have helped the campaign along the way and without whom we could not have done this – Mark Hartley’s arboricultural advice and tree risk assessment advice have been invaluable and I thank Sean Freeman for telling me about him; local arborists have been very helpful as well, especially with tree maintenance advice and optimism about how long the trees are likely to last; if lawyers had not offered assistance the trees would have been felled in September so our huge thanks go to them, Saving our trees for all their help and all the members of the community who have emailed and phoned councillors with their sentiments, the media who have stuck with this story, and all the campaigners who have persisted and prevailed. I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone – oh yes: my children who are so over trees but still didn’t complain too much about meetings and vigils and posts.

Have the best day. Home


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7 Responses to “Great Christmas Present 15.12.2010”

  1. ArchitectGJA (Ed) Says:

    Excellent news, persistence when you are in the right can provide wonderful results. This is a win for all Novocastrians, present and future.

  2. Julie Richo Says:


    When is the PARTY @ LAMAN STREET.

    My family is so so happy.

    Julie Richo

  3. Saving Our Trees Says:

    Congratulations Caitlin, Fig Jam, Parks & Gardens, all the people of Newcastle & anyone else who was involved in this campaign. That the Laman Street Figs are saved was the most fantastic news to wake up to today. I am so proud of you all.

    I also thank NCC Mayor Tate & the other Councillors who voted to save these trees. These trees are well known outside of Newcastle & are such a beautiful & iconic part of the city.

    This has been an excellent campaign by all involved. I have been so heartened that so many people remained motivated to save these trees over such a long period of time. I hope you all celebrate this well-deserved win.

    For NCC to decide to mulch under the trees & to encourage aerial root growth to promote stability is a great move, one that City of Sydney Council is doing for a massive Fig in Lillian Fowler Reserve right now. It is pleasing to see progressive techniques implemented to save trees & to promote healthy growth & longevity. It is also wonderful that the Figs from Laman Street that have been removed in the past are to be replaced.

  4. Sherilyn Psaltis Says:

    Congratulations Caitlin, Fee, Sharon and all the organisers of the vigils, affadavits, petitions and legal challenges! A magnificent outcome for the people of Newcastle in the present and future. You have been inspiring and motivational in the imperative of not giving up, even when at times the prospects for the Laman Street beauties seemed dire. Their salvation owes everything to your leadership and personal sacrifices and commitments. The Hallelujah chorus will resound in my heart for many days to come. Immense gratitude and respect from Sherilyn, Peter and Alexia Psaltis .

  5. Ali Says:

    its absolutely wonderful news… this beloved canopy of green home & city heart to many…a peaceful cool respite, a memorial & place of tranquility. The critters that utilise the hollows & foliage no doubt all thank you so much for all your efforts. & thank you to your children too! as a mum i know how taxing campaigns can be on families… but “Ms Brockovich” what an inspiration you are! hope to celebrate with you on sat 5pm with music & location location location 🙂 xx

  6. tess Says:

    yea! yea! yea! wonderful.

    Now they can pull all that oppresive, stupid and waste of our taxes signage and fencing down and let people wander around happily again. I hope the person/s responsible for wasting everybodys money and time never tries to run roughshod over a community like this again

    Long live the trees

  7. tess Says:

    thank you Caitle and all who were so committed

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