Information, not consultation 8.11.2012


There was a nice group of cynics at Gregson Park yesterday to hear what the Uber-Managers had to say about Newcastle City Council’s limited vision for Gregson Park.

What was good about the meeting? I guess the fact that they held it. Only because it will save them some angst when felling day comes, of course.

What else was good: no arborists were paid overtime to attend. I’m guessing they’re not interested in having to explain themselves to people.

This meeting was an example of What the Philth Council learned from Laman Street: don’t engage or consult, just tell the community what you’re going to do and Get On With It. They’re not working for you, and they’re not interested in what you think.

So what else was irritating?

They were asked whether a fauna assessment had been done since we all know native fauna use mature trees for food and habitat. Deborah Alterator for Council said yes. She was asked whether a written copy of that would be available. The answer was no. There is no written report, since just an inspection was done.

Original flyer

Don’t know about you but in my work, the lawyers tell me if it’s not written down it didn’t happen.

She was asked whether other ways of dealing with the trees had been considered – no. Someone asked about lopping and she said quite rightly that that’s against the Australian standard.

She had no reply to the woman who asked for an explanation of why NCC lopped a jacaranda in Adamstown recently.

One of the things that tees me off about lopping discussions is that usually the community member using the term doesn’t use it in the same way that NCC use it so it’s a trap people fall into.

I went to Milan a year or so ago and a large tree in a busy public park was being supported by wooden props. Outside the Museum in Tours in the Loire Valley I saw a tree planted by Napoleon being held up by supports: next to the entrance. Our doltish tree people wouldn’t have the nouse to look into things like this. These Gregson Park trees are as likely to hurt someone as pigs are to fly and could easily be left while replacement trees are allowed to mature.

The info flyer dropped in letter boxes said four of the trees were being replaced with figs and one would be replaced with a North American cypress. (WTF, you ask. Indeed.)

It turns out only three figs will be planted because someone wants a jacaranda apparently. Of course, jacarandas are like sliced bread or pavlova: what’s not to like? Have a jacaranda by all means but replace figs with figs.

They alleged one of the trees was doing badly because it was growing in wet conditions. It was standing right next to a native weeping tree whose name I’ll need reminding about, which is thriving and a cynic asked why they couldn’t put one of those in instead of the North American tree. No convincing answer to that. They’ve made their decision.

They were asked what fauna will feed from a Bald Cypress (or whatever it is). Someone suggested American fauna could use it.

A local resident pointed out that she has a beautiful Tasmanian Blue Gum growing in her backyard only a street or two away and that this species could be considered. No takers there. She tells me this is the most frequently planted eucalypt worldwide. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think there’s a beautiful row of them adjacent to a railway bridge in Broadmeadow.

Someone else asked why a red cedar couldn’t be used. Native to the area, would do well: there’s a huge one thriving only streets away behind the National Australia Bank. No takers there either. I’d love to see more agonis put in but I assume one of the Tree People doesn’t like them.

Sorry: you have to double-click to enlarge this. New flyer, one less fig.

Five trees out, five trees in. Is there a problem with this statement?

There’s lots of room for more trees in the park but apparently no imagination to fill that space.

Anyway, we all know I Could Go On but I’ll spare you.

The video shows what danger they’re saving you from.




2 Responses to “Information, not consultation 8.11.2012”

  1. architectgja Says:

    Would someone please explain to NCC that an announcement is not a consultation?

  2. here today, destroyed tomorrow! Says:

    I loved the NBN news piece last night where the man interviewed said” …one in the corner was just waiting to fall on someone.”

    Heavens! us humans have a self-centered way of looking at the world, it’s ‘so all about us.’

    I’m sure the tree has more important things to do than wait for a homo sapien to walk by so it can fall on it……….like getting on with being a tree, if humans will let it that is!

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