Here’s a Joke 12.3.2013


wpid-2013-02-24-20.09.03.jpgTonight Council will be asked to approve mega bucks for tree vaults in Laman Street.

$250000 for tree vaults that will generously allow Council to plant figs in such a way that they won’t damage infrastructure.

In eighty years no damage was done by the former trees – or not enough to influence NCC’s decision to remove them.

The problem was too few roots, not too many.

A council that is supposedly cash-strapped can throw even more money at this graveyard of a street.

At least good old honourable ENSPEC have won part of the tender. Seriously honourable.

I have better things to do than go to the meeting – I’m going to put pins in my eyes. Thanks to the community members who will be there to keep an eye on these people.



Ordinary Council Meeting 12 March 2013 Page 56







To gain Council approval to purchase tree vaults for Laman Street redevelopment.


1 Council approve the expenditure of $230,211 plus GST on engineered tree vault units

for the Laman Street Redevelopment.


2 The use of tree vaults is a key element in the desire of Council to plant Hills Figs

Laman Street. The vaults allow large trees to be planted in the public domain

allowing for adequate root development without adverse impacts on adjacent civil



3 The expenditure is within the expected range of costs for the project and has been

included in the estimate and Major Asset Preservation Program for the work.


4 The Laman Street design and tree planting is aligned with the following strategic

directions within

Newcastle 2030, our Community Strategic Plan

i) Vibrant and Activated Public Places


Public places that provide for diverse activity and strengthen our social



Safe and activated places used by people day and night

ii) Liveable and Distinctive Built Environment


A built environment that maintains and enhances our sense of identity.


5 The purchase of the engineered tree vaults is an essential element of the current

construction in Laman Street. This project is in the current Management Plan.


Ordinary Council Meeting 12 March 2013 Page 57


6 A decision not to support the purchase of the engineered tree vaults will require a

complete re design of the works in Laman Street causing a significant delay to the

project. Should that decision be made the road should be made safe, the work

stopped and Laman Street reopened until there is a resolution of the design.


7 There have been many related decisions on Laman Street with the key ones being

the resolution of 19 July 2011 to remove and replace the trees, and 17 July 2012

endorsing the draft design for Laman Street.

8 On 12 February 2013 Council resolved to accept the tenders of Citygreen Systems

Pty Ltd and Enspec Pty Ltd in the City Wide Supply of Engineered Tree Vault Cell

Units over the two year contract period of Contract No. 2013/203T.


9 The use of engineered tree vaults has been a key element of all the design

consultation relating to Laman Street including the reports relating to placing the

design on exhibition and adopting the design.


10 Option One is the recommendation in paragraph 1.

11 Option Two: Council not support the purchase of the engineered tree vaults. This will

result in delays to the project and a necessary redesign of the redevelopment of the

site. This is not the recommended option.


12 This report is the result of a resolution of Council of the 12 February 2013.

13 The cells required for Laman Street consist of 400 Silva cells and 9748 Strata cells

with a total cost of $230,211 plus GST. Two types of cells are being used. A small

number of cells with large voids are being placed adjacent to the trunk of the trees to

allow substantial diameter root growth and a large number of heavy duty smaller void

cells to allow for ordinary stabilizing root growth.


4 Responses to “Here’s a Joke 12.3.2013”

  1. Clare Says:

    I was wondering about these tree vault thingos…trees are designed so that the drip line off the branch tips corresponds to the outer line of the root spread…providing symmetry and stabilty in winds etc etc. Obviously I’m not an aborist (thank god it seems) but I find it hard to believe that there will be no long term effect on trees planted this way…growth stunting etc etc

  2. architectgja Says:

    The whole tree root issue was a massive boondoggle – the figs were alternately deemed to have no roots and thus impending death to all who would approach them in a breeze, and the roots were also accused of being so rampant they were destroying building foundations on Laman Street. If you limit a tree’s root system, it limits the tree above as Clare noted, taken to the extreme you get Bonsais.

  3. Newcastle.... developer heaven Says:

    Here it comes…………….the beginning of ‘why we can’t plant Hills figs!’

  4. architectgja Says:

    Some items to contemplate.

    The text of the Council motion, as voted and passed, to remove and replace the trees on Laman Street:

    “Council resolve to remove and replace, with regards to the Street Tree Masterplan, the 14 Fig Trees as soon as practical under section 88 of the Roads Act 1993 (NSW) because Council is of the opinion that the Fig Trees are likely to cause danger to traffic, property and persons in the use of Laman Street and are a traffic hazard in severe weather events.”

    …and remember in the rush to remove, tree removal equipment was already on Laman Street at night, ahead of the vote. How many months now with no rush to replace, maybe no funds, maybe nobody will remember all the old promises, maybe the vision as presented in artist renderings of a barren concrete plaza..?

    The previous Council was arrogant, wasteful and destroyed their own credibility along with any hope of trust by the Community while presenting Newcastle as an international embarrassment. They blindly acquiesced to opinions and decisions made by non-elected staff officers and refused to accept testimony of world experts. The Community response was to remove most of the offending Councillors through the election. The new Council has an opportunity to remedy past wrongs, or will they continue on the same path as their predecessors?

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