Tents and Radars and Spring 3.9.2011


Tents have been in Civic Park for over a week and I expect will stay there until the next Council discussion about Laman Street on Sept 13th. Go down and visit, have a chat, take a photo, sign the petition, get the latest dirt news on what’s happening – make a memory you can tell your children about how you helped save those magnificent trees.

The first weekend the tents were there some wonderful campaigners camped overnight. I stayed to say goodnight to them but didn’t have the fortitude to sleep out.

It opened my eyes to what Newcastle’s like on a weekend even to be there at 11pm. I had sympathy for the police who dropped by, for whom the work of dealing with alcohol-related violence is routine. Who’d be a young male and go out partying on a weekend in this town?

If you have a spare hour or two during the day over the next ten days come and help man – or woman – the tent. Everyone’s very friendly.

What’s new? I uploaded the December 2009 radar report that’s so different from the version released via a freedom of information request last year. I wrote about this at the time of charrette in Feb/March last year: Council management’s explanation for why a ‘modified’ version was done and reluctantly released was that they weren’t ‘happy’ with the calculations which were ‘done in haste’ so they sent it back to GBG to review.

Read the considerably shorter original version for yourself here (permanent link on home page in the blogroll at right) but here is my favourite example of changes made:

Dec 09 ‘The GPR  [ground-penetrating radar] investigation has mapped a moderately extensive root system from the target trees. The majority of the identified roots appear to be of large diameter…’

which four months later became this: 

Mar 10 ‘The radar investigation has mapped a possible root system from most of the target trees. The exception to this are trees 12020, 12024 and 12025 which appear to have little or no larger roots and trees 12012, 12013 and 12018 which have a less certain root system.’

Let’s watch the contortions of those charged with explaining this. They will no doubt have had some expensive committee meetings to come up with something. And that will be added to the bill of Council costs caused by – you guessed it – Save Our Figs.

The issue isn’t the radar findings. Council claims trenching showed no roots in the middle of the road or indeed where the radar said there were roots. Anyone have the energy to GIPA the photographic evidence of that?

So what does this mean – that the trees have either deep or eccentric or lineal root systems. This doesn’t mean they’re going to fall over. It may mean radar is a QRAP way to investigate trees. So release the report at the time and say that – don’t hide it.

The issue remains one of transparency and trust.

See you at the tent embassy. Home




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One Response to “Tents and Radars and Spring 3.9.2011”

  1. Joanne Says:

    I’ve noticed that Save Our Figs is being blamed for the blow-out cost surrounding these trees. Someone should publicise how much money Save Our Figs & others in the community are paying out of their own pockets to fight Newcastle City Council. I admire you & the community for doing this.

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