Street tree masterplan briefing 11.5.2011

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A briefing was given to Council about the Draft Street Tree Masterplan last night. Can’t remember a more boring evening at Council, and that’s saying something – I do not know how Councillors do it week in and week out.

The presentation was to have been given by the head arborist, Mr Field, but he was unwell and at the last minute Council’s former arborist, Mr Hewett filled in.

He apologised for being unprepared and then proceeded to talk almost without taking breath for what felt like half an hour.

There were flow charts and management systems and management policies and technical manuals and a species matrix and planting site inspection forms and Living Streets programmes and community consultations and street tree inventories and biodiversity and A3 charts with tiny boxes in them and illegible, overwhelming lists of trees and pictures of streets with tiny blue, green and yellow dots that you couldn’t distinguish from each other and filtering software to choose which trees would fit which streets – and in the end it was just tedious.

Sadly there wasn’t a landscape architect in sight or any mention of native animals or birds. Biodiversity, sustainability and heritage were mentioned in passing. I look through my notes to find something memorable and I struggle:

  • large trees have eight times the environmental benefit of small trees.
  • Newcastle’s tree planting programme has a 99% success rate, excluding vandalism.
  • the species choice is made up of 54 local natives, 35 non-local natives and 26 exotics.
  • there was no agreement in a limited discussion to predict the right canopy cover level. I thought this was odd since a lot of other cities manage to set themselves a goal. We’re aiming for ‘the maximum’ but that’s not specified.
  • myrtle rust rated a passing mention. It would surprise me if many people in the room realised how scary that is.
  • ten years ago a storm went through Beresfield and Council never went back to replant the trees that were lost. Che?
  • the projected budget for tree renewals (?and maintenance) is $1million a year
  • Council is planting about 2000 trees a year.

Bet you’re glad you didn’t go. 

On my way home I walked through the Memorial Grove. It was almost 9pm and I had it to myself. There was no one scary or antisocial in there – and the No Smoking sign is gone from the brass plaque. Thank you Council.

And for two cheery distractions here’s some public art in New Orleans: an artist put a blackboard on two sides of an abandoned house for people to use as a bucket list: ‘Before I die I will…’  and a story about how Port Stephens Council banned a member of the public from using an iPad.

And in happy news, the EU is going to pay fishermen to retrieve plastic from the ocean.

Cheers. Home

P.S. An example was given of a street in Tighes Hill. Once powerlines, street width, infrastructure and whatever else could be factored into the software were taken into account there was the grand total of two suggested tree species out of 115 possibilities that would/could be planted there.

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One Response to “Street tree masterplan briefing 11.5.2011”

  1. Ali Says:

    they should pay you as a Community Consultant Caity, you have a much better grasp of community attitudes concerns & wishes. I wonder if NCC will be sharing copies of the “presentations”? Thanks again for keeping us up to date.

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