Another reprieve 14.9.2011


Last night Council gave the fig trees a reprieve when they voted on independent assessment of their risk.

The elected Council, like campaigners and the community, are all tired of talking about this issue so what a relief it is that they have persisted with it, seeking a process that will sift through the evidence from experts and Council administration and tell us whether the trees are actually safe or not.

There was a packed gallery and a  packed overflow room where the meeting could be watched on video link – when I left the overflow room it was standing room only.

The extraordinary meeting on Laman Street started at 8:30pm and between about 5pm and then, campaigners stood in the street collecting signatures for what is now the largest tabled  petition in NSW, as well as holding up signs for motorists to honk their support. Government vehicles, commercial vehicles and ordinary people honked their little hearts out.

A trumpet player joined the sign wavers and what a great sound that made: when he arrived he played that ‘the cavalry is coming’ music we all recognise but can’t name. The media took photos on the steps of the Town Hall and there were some short speeches, then we all walked up the stairs singing ‘All we are saying – is give trees a chance.‘ That continued right up until the meeting began. What a fantastic sound. B***** hippies we all are.

When Councillors arrived in the chamber they were cheered – Cr Osborne (Greens) was the first to be cheered when he came in to get his coffee cup.

The Lord Mayor asked Councillors to soften their hearts and later reminded them that he had voted early on to remove the trees but after looking at the issue had change his mind to support retaining them.

Cr Buman talked about Tyrrell Street which we all know was denuded in about 2004/5: he reminded the chamber that even the Greens on that Council had supported that process and that elected Councillors congratulated staff on the ‘scientific approach’ they had taken to solving that problem.

Sounds like they fell for the rhetoric to me.

Cr Connell foreshadowed a motion that aims to examine the whole process that has looked at the trees – how fantastic that we can all learn from this experience.

Councillors who voted for the process of independent assessment: Lord Mayor John Tate, Cr Nuatali Nelmes, Cr Sharon Claydon, Cr Tim Crakanthorpe, Cr Michael Osborne and Cr Shayne Connell. Cr Jackson was away.

There were some low points in the meeting but the end result was so positive. What a shame you couldn’t all be at the Delaney for a celebratory lemon squash afterwards. You were there in spirit. Home




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6 Responses to “Another reprieve 14.9.2011”

  1. Ali Says:

    thankyou Caitlin for your thoughtful updates. So very pleased to hear the outcome & sincerely sorry i couldnt be present to share the community spirit. Even if your not a “tree hugger’ i think the independent assessment is such a sensible outcome. Ridding Laman st of these magnificent trees ( in Spring!) would never have ended the debate, if anything it would only have served to amplify the anger & determination in the community for proper scrutiny & investigation.

  2. Scott CooperJohnston (@ScotCoJohn) Says:

    Caity, congratulations on your persistent efforts and attention. The excitement in the overflow room was palpable. (Even though most people there didn’t know the LM could use a casting vote) Those of us who knew, were able to launch the preliminary applause when we could see that it would be 6-6, and therefore carried! What a great night!

  3. tess Says:

    I was there and would have loved to go for a drink afterwards. I was not invited.. nor was anyone around me

    • Caity Raschke Says:

      What a missed opportunity for the few who went that we didn’t all go together – we didn’t get there till ?10:30 so I think we were pretty late in thinking of going and had hung around for post mortems adn talking to the press and thanking Councillors and trying to muster the energy to go anyway. In retrospect, instead of being full of pessimism and announcing the presumed need for a community picket line the day after the vote, I should have announced celebratory drinks. I was expecting doom and gloom so my huge apologies. I would have loved to go out with everyone. Soon?

  4. tess Says:

    but it was a moving evening with a good result, well done everyone

  5. tess Says:

    yeah I think I was expecting gloom too, hoping otherwise but…
    anyway we still have work to do, on-line if nowhere else, but hopefully we can all celebrate once the independent assessment is back. Thanks Caity

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