Holiday snaps 23.7.2011


Pictures can be so eloquent, can’t they? I had fun on holidays comparing examples of the Italian approach to risk with our own.

The first photo (as usual, double-click to enlarge) is of a seriously-pruned tree that nevertheless  has issues with stability.

In the Public Gardens in Milan, a lovely green space in the CBD that was busy on the hot summer’s day I visited, stands – or rather leans – this beautiful old tree.

When you enlarge the photo you can see the wooden posts used to support the branches.

  •  Does this tree have a fence around it?

Has it been marked with an ‘R’ for removal?

Does it have a red tape around its trunk?

  • Does it have cyclone fencing around it?

Is there a warning sign nearby?

  • Is there a security guard in the vicinity to protect the public – at $835 a day: ratepayer funds?

No, and at least one woman is lying in the shade next to it.

The second pair of photos is of tree roots causing trip hazards.

This is a beautiful youngish plane tree in Venice. The paving stones around its base are a dog’s breakfast, having been lifted by the spread of the root system.

What would we do here in Newcastle? Years ago we used to prune the roots of trees. We’re told that doesn’t happen any more because it’s an outdated tree management practice that doesn’t comply with our present-day higher standard of care, that has the potential to damage trees – but there are at least six streets in Newcastle’s inner suburbs where I or others have seen this done recently. (Swan St, Bruce St, Jenner Pde, Stephenson Place, Laman St west, and a lovely street in Hamilton South whose name escapes me.) 

What does the municipal arborist do in Venice? S/he puts a yellow sign on the tree telling you to watch where you’re going or You’ll Be Sorry. So inexpensive and sensible.

And lastly, on a non-tree-related and purely historical note, I was reminded of the ‘rock’ at south Newcastle beach, when I went to Cinque terre – five villages on a beautiful, hilly seaside strip in Italy, connected by a four-hour hike. (Four hours, my eye. Luckily there’s a train service…)

The ‘rock ‘ fell from the cliff face onto Shortland Esplanade,  the road that runs below King Edward Park, passing by the Bogey Hole, and this enormous, there-but-for-the-grace etc rock was the reason the road was closed until $3million and eight years were poured into reaching a state where at least pedestrians could use the road.

I love the following quote – Mr Frank Cordingley, director of ‘Liveable Cities’, known for his approach to Laman Street which can be summarised as ‘those fences aren’t coming down until I say so’, was quoted in the Herald as saying,

One of my ambitions on council is to open [Shortland Esplanade].” [Emphasis obviously mine. Article 13.11.2010]

Enough of Mr C: I was reminded of the rock issue in Monterosso in the five villages by the wire and steel rope on their cliffside.

The metal can be seen better by enlarging the photo. No doubt the issues are different in Newcastle, and what do I know about rock formation and granite vs sandstone vs limestone, but where there’s a will etc.

The last photo is one small part of the walk below these cliffs. Not sorry I caught the train and appreciated the view without the effort….



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