Black is the new black 4.6.2011


Here are the new painted Laman Street fences.

In black.

I recall reading that Council decided on this so we could see through the fences. Or some such guff.

At least they’re not beige, I suppose. Just think – we could have had lots of different coloured sections: we could have had a little corner of Buenos Aires in Newcastle. Or the fences could have had brackets fixed to them so the community could hang art works or posters or banners – saying things like ‘Hands off Laman Street’. Or best of all we could have hung the new ‘Brand Newcastle’ logo on each section. There’s a competition entry for you.

A propos of my last post, there were several memorable moments at the third Working Party meeting. The first was when Cr Osborne was proposing we make the street beautiful while still satisfying the paranoia/propaganda (my words) about tree risk. He suggested a design competition so we can build beautiful gates doubling as public art. In the pessimistic spirit of about half the meeting, the General Manager asked what would we ever do if we built the gates and the trees still had to go – OMG: we would end up with gates we don’t need.

Cr Osborne instantly suggested we could put them in the museum. (And don’t start me on that.) I found a US website that makes beautiful wrought iron gates (for the millionaire who has everything) and there are two lovely examples of their work here and here.

Another interesting moment was when the GM tried to silence the Lord Mayor. He told Cr Tate that he, the GM, was in a difficult position because, since the LM is not a member of the Working Party, he isn’t  permitted to ask questions or make comments and Mr Noble felt obliged to enforce this.

This struck me as odd because I clearly remember that question being clarified at the first WP meeting. A councillor can speak if the WP members don’t object. No one did but I felt as though a number of people in the room would have liked to.

In discussions skirting around whole of street tree replacement versus staged tree replacement – neither of which should be relevant any more except in terms of what we’re going to do in fifty years – because the valid council resolution for December says we retain the trees – two council managers expressed the desire that no poor sod (my words) 70 years from now should have to go through what they have gone through in the last three years. My heart went out to them.*

Cr Cook was told at one point  to ‘consider your words carefully’ as he was referring to a confidential report that had nothing to do with the WP and was, unsurprisingly, confidential. It was a ninety page report written in relation to the public voice in December last year that he said claimed the information in the public voice was misleading.

That was the wonderful public voice where we heard about Ryde Council sensibly employing technology to examine tree health and a Sydney council encouraging aerial roots in Lillian Fowler reserve. You can read about the figs in this reserve on Saving Our Trees website here and see some pictures of aerial roots in Newcastle here.

Perhaps the 90 page document is a critique of the advice not to remove bitumen from around the base of the trees as that is holding them up. (Another don’t start me etc.) 

I wonder if Council consultant and staff time and resources went into writing the presumed critique. I wonder if it was the same consultant team who used Mattheck (who hates pull tests) to write an opinion on the feasibility of a pull test in Laman Street. Or the same consultant who told every arborist who has ever looked at Laman Street that there were tree failures in 2007 when there were none.  Of course, since Cr Cook did indeed consider his words, (quel bummer) we have no idea if it’s an internal or external document.

And Cr Cook was also pulled up when he used a profoundly racist term. He used it in a metaphor in relation to himself but notwithstanding that, it’s a term that most of us have either never used or indeed ever even heard since about 1952. Unbelievable.

Anyway – more soon. Home




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One Response to “Black is the new black 4.6.2011”

  1. David H. Says:

    I love the title.


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