Last night’s celebration 19.12.2010


Had a lovely gathering under our beautiful fig trees last night to celebrate a successful campaign.

It was fantastic to meet up with some of the residents who were there at the start: the first rally in Civic Park followed by the council meeting where Cr Nelmes’ rescission motion was debated, and then the charette – which feels soooo long ago.

It was great to see Crs Nelmes, Claydon, Crakanthorpe and the Lord Mayor there and it was great to have the opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in saving this steetscape. Cr Osborne, as always, was incredibly supportive from day one and deserves lots of thanks. It was great to see him there to be able to thank him yet again.

The fate of trees in the main streets of Toronto and Carrington came up as they do regularly, since the people there hear that those trees, both avenues of fig trees, are under scrutiny. I recall one of the charette attendees on the last day put forward the proposal that council facilitate the group be kept in touch with each other. Of course, the council staff present had no desire ability to facilitate that. Lucky it happened anyway.

And just in case you didn’t read the Herald editorial I gave you a link for recently, about the meaning of the fig saving resolution for council staff, here it is:

After the fig-fight

16 Dec, 2010 04:00 AM

STAFF at Newcastle City Council who worked hard to implement the council policy that involved removing the Laman Street figs should not take the council’s latest change of mind too personally.

These staff are professionals whose duty is to give effect to the will of the elected council and, ultimately, the citizens of Newcastle.

Ratepayers expect that staff, confronted with a policy reversal, will apply the same professional determination to their new challenge as they brought to bear on their earlier brief.

In the case of the figs that means maintaining the trees in the best possible health by the best means available. It means incorporating the trees in whatever new precinct plans are developed and harnessing their aesthetic appeal to the city’s best advantage.

Of course it would be understandable if some city staff felt baffled or even let down by the elected council. After all, the council had spent much money and effort in court and elsewhere trying to stave off challenges to its right to remove the trees.

Having won a court declaration that it was entitled to fell the trees without any planning consent the council is now committed – on this week’s vote at least – to keeping them.

But even the most enthusiastic backers of the tree removal plan must concede the weight of public opposition to the proposal. They should also recognise that the process by which the council pursued the plan had its faults.

Debates about trees are fraught with subjectivity at the best of times. The wildly divergent professional opinions about the stability of the Laman Street figs and the extent to which they posed any unusual risk to public safety did not help the proponents of removal.

Hear, hear. And I am so glad I don’t have to climb a tree, buy chains or be arrested. Yet. Home

Thankyou Mark Hartley


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3 Responses to “Last night’s celebration 19.12.2010”

  1. Ali Says:


  2. chatty Says:

    What a fabulous conclusion it was last night, to a 92 day vigil. I wonder how the trees would tell the story, looking down on us gathering there every night. I know the birds got to know us as we did them.

    Try it sometime…..go to the same place every day at the same time, and do it for a long time. It’s amazing what goes on there, who you see there, and what you learn about that place!

  3. Sean Freeman Says:

    “I wonder how the trees would tell the story”

    I strongly suspect that if trees are able to (or bothered to) consider us at all….by comparison to their potential mellenia our very brief time on this planet (as individual organisms)it would be as a blur of motion and frenzied activity.

    I am so very glad that NCC have come to a rational decision, and fervently hope that it remains so (I think it will).

    I would also like to add my admiration for the local residents who have committed so much time and resources to protecting these wonderful community assets.

    Thankyou to Mark Hartley who was prepared to stand up and say what so many others felt regarding the distortedd representation of the assessable level of risk posed by the Laman Figs.

    I hope that as Mark said to me on the day after the NCC vote..perhaps in the future other instances where trees are condemned ‘en mass’ as being too dangerous to be retained…the question might be asked…

    “what dangerous like the laman Street Figs you mean?”

    Keep the Blog going Caity, hopefully you will have future very positive Newcastle tree news to share with the world.

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