Feeling Pollyanna-ish 20.4.2011


October 2010

Went to observe the first meeting of the Laman Street working party tonight and came away feeling mostly optimistic. What a sucker. (Hope not.)

I’m grateful to the Councillors who took part – Cr Claydon, Cr Nelmes and Cr Cook, as well as to the Lord Mayor who came along as an observer; I also appreciate the work of the council managers who were there and the acting General Manager – who is charm itself. The technical advisers on the committee are to be admired for their input.

The feel of this meeting was so different from the charrette last year. Maybe a year has mellowed me and I should have chilled at the charrette…

There were places for four councillors on the committee but only three are filled.

In no particular order, these are the things that stood out for me:

The presentation about the Tree Asset Management System was as impressive as it was when I saw it in Council last year. I was pleased to hear that there is some flexibility in the system for special circumstances where problems are occurring eg Hannell Street (the Norfolk Island pines dying of a fungal disease), rather than just putting resources into the urban forest as a whole. I wasn’t entirely clear what the TAMS had to do with Laman Street’s figs, but I guess it was a good place to start. It really seems to be something NCC is doing very well.

Enspec who will be coming to brief Councillors and the Working Party in  2 weeks were universally praised.

Cr Cook told the room he was there with an open mind in spite of his recent comments about the issue.

The terms of reference were adjusted to reflect the whole resolution made by Council in December.

Council management were asked why the Laman St fig trees lost (= pulled out by the Council management of the day when they sustained in my view minimal damage in the huge 2007 storm) hadn’t been replaced, as required by December’s resolution. The reasons are related to infrastructure and services in the street as well as a lack of sunlight for smaller/medium trees. This was disappointing because I wondered why this hadn’t been reported back to Councillors – but maybe it was.

(Is putting in huge trees an answer to the sunlight thing? I know it doesn’t solve the infrastructure problem. Hey – we just changed the political party of  our local member for the first time in almost a century – maybe there’s some funding we could get to move the services round the back of the building as part of the Art Gallery redevelopment??)

The Lord Mayor tried hard in my view to get the fences removed – or at least removed from the trees that the arborists have asserted (incorrectly in my view) have the longest life expectancy -but Council management are stuck on their briefing by insurers. This will be in two weeks.

[I sincerely hope the insurer gets to see Mr Marsden’s affidavit to the Land and Environment Court in which he talks about being told there were tree failures in the 2007 storm rather than seeing the evidence of that for himself, and the pictures of what actually happened to the trees in the 2007 storm. (I feel like a broken record sometimes…)]

Our community reps brought the meeting’s attention back to the tree preservation approach. We touched on the trees’ health improving since parking on the root zones was stopped, and Council’s infrastructure manager pointed out that this is good and bad, bad because it makes the canopy heavier. We touched on pruning but didn’t go into too much technical detail as Enspec should help with This Stuff.

The difficulties comparing visual tree assessments and quantified tree risk assessments was mentioned, and the group seem all to be looking forward to information that can be gained from applying some technology to this.

Since you probably stopped reading six or seven paragraphs ago, I’ll give you a rest.

The bottom line is that the calm and charm of the meeting was a breath of fresh air.

My regrets are that the insurance briefing precedes the Enspec briefing. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I should have more faith, though. Home


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One Response to “Feeling Pollyanna-ish 20.4.2011”

  1. ArchitectGJA (Ed) Says:

    If insurance is requiring fences around things that “may fall”, I think a great part of the CBD is going to require fencing now.

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