Dumaresq St 2.4.2011

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I drive along this street twice a week and have done for two years. I love the figs in the middle of the road and wrote about them recently: council have announced that they’ll be making a special effort to look after them. As is their responsibility, but we won’t go there. 

How surprised was I yesterday when I found that instead of new mulch to admire around the Hill’s figs (they haven’t done that yet) there were Australian natives missing from the footpath. I phoned the council and a spokesman told me that these trees were removed because they had blocked a drain and caused flooding across the road.

‘Flooding across the road?’ I asked. ‘When is this supposed to have happened?’ In the last three months or so, the spokesperson told me. I ask my family who go that way every day whether they had ever seen this flooding?

No.

There’s an arborist’s report about this – I’ll add it to my collection. What do you think will be planted in the place of the bottlebrush? Pear trees?

Maybe if I didn’t like fig trees so much I would have been looking at the road and I would have noticed said flooding.

Who knew bottlebrush had voracious root systems?

There was apparently a  community meeting about the work so the neighbours were informed – it’s always heartening to think the things we expect actually happen – but it couldn’t possibly just have been just about these bottlebrush. I hope council staff used the opportunity to let the neighbours know to stop putting grass clippings around the figs.

Street trees don’t just belong to nearby houses, though, they belong to everyone and this is an example of a situation where a street tree or works notification page on council’s website would make the whiners among us – like moi – feel a whole lot less inclined to make irritated phone calls.

I suggested a tree notification page to the spokesperson but I won’t hold my breath.  Many councils have them but not ours. We have a ‘community engagement officer’ whose gig this could be but that role seems actually to be as a human resources manager – we have some very imaginative names for positions in local government.

And on the subject of drainage and infrastructure problems, I was reading about magnolias in a US publication today. It warned against planting magnolias within 25 feet of house. How many streets have been planted with magnolias around here? How many magnolia hedges have you seen? It’s a plague.

And chatting to a friend today while drinking guiltily out of a plastic bottle I was reminded that more people need to now about the amount of plastic in the Pacific. I assume everyone has heard of it bit that’s simply not true.

Every square mile of Pacific ocean contains 46 000 pieces of debris and there’s allegedly a plastic ‘garbage patch’ larger than Australia. ‘Water samples in the garbage patches contain six times as  much plastic as plankton.’

 Marine debris worldwide kills more than 1 million sea birds and 100,000 mammals each year, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. The chemical-laden materials have been found in the stomachs of dead fish and birds…

“Every product now is expected to be wrapped in plastic, and there is no take-back infrastructure for that packaging,” [marine researcher Charles] Moore said. “This lubricant of globalization has no end game. There’s no after-life for it and since the ocean is downhill from everywhere, that’s where it ends up.”

Depressing stuff. Time to go outside and enjoy a beautiful autumn blue sky.

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One Response to “Dumaresq St 2.4.2011”

  1. Saving Our Trees Says:

    I am shocked to learn that your Council doesn’t have a Notification of Removal page on their website.

    According to a water board employee who was kind enough to give me an onsite lesson, tree roots in drains can be easily dealt with. Once the roots are removed by an ‘eel,’ a new blow-up pipe is put inside the old pipe. After the new pipe is set, even the roots of a Fig couldn’t break through. Lately this kind of service for private plumbing problems is advertised in newspapers & on TV. It’s sad to lose so many trees when the problem can be easily fixed. The trees would have likely been worth more than the cost of fixing the pipe.

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