I received a call from a member of the Laman Street action group today telling me about tree removals from King Street.She was as shocked as I was. I’d only been in the street taking a picture of a graffiti-art installation the day before and hadn’t noticed anything amiss.
So I looked up council’s website and there was the media release from 2 days before the work was done:
As part of its tree replacement program, The City of Newcastle will replace 10 trees along King Street, between Darby and Crown Streets, with work set to commence on Sunday 18 July 2010.
Manager Place Management Services DEBORAH ALTERATOR says the existing trees have been assessed by Council’s arborist and need to be removed.
“The trees currently in the footpath will be taken out and new trees will be installed in specially-constructed vaults at the edge of the road area. This will create a wider pedestrian access and ensure the establishment and longevity of the trees.”
They go on to say that the new trees will be planted in October.
I’m sincerely pleased that the information was there. It’s a positive move in community consultation. It would have been even better if the media release had been two weeks ago and if a sign had been attached to the trees for 14 days as some councils do, but it’s a start. Perhaps the arborist looked at them and saw only poor little ordinary struggling trees that seemed insignificant. I hope the fact that the information was put on the website less than 48 hours before the work was done wasn’t done cynically and was an attempt at community engagement.
North Sydney council’s ‘Details of Tree Removal Notification System’ says
Removal or non-removal of trees from nature strips and parks is potentially the greatest cause of conflict in the management of the Council’s trees. Understandably, residents become very attached to a tree that has been living and growing near their home for many years. North Sydney Council will assume that every tree, no matter how insignificant it may appear, has some value to someone.
Boroondara Council’s approach is:
‘When more than 30% of street trees are to be removed from a given street or location and their removal may impact upon the wider community the following will apply.•Resident and Ward Councillor notification will be undertaken…
Signage, that explains the reason/s for tree removal and providing Council contact details.’•contact details for further information, will be erected no less than fourteen (14) days prior to the proposed works occurring.
The City of Sydney will inform and consult the community about tree removal and planting proposals it undertakes.Trees proposed for removal will be:• Signposted
• Letter box notification undertaken in certain situations
Community consultation process should aim to give understanding of issues and rationale for tree removal / replacement programs.’ (p 11)
I hope the work will actually be done in October. Remember, in Laman Street after council arborists removed ‘potentially unstable’ trees after the Pasha Bulker storm (not because they failed), councillors moved that those trees be replaced and almost two years later we’re still waiting.
On a positive note, Laman Street and the tree stump sculpture story has made the news in a tree preservation blog called Saving our trees. It’s not just locals who are baffled at this issue.
And a few unrelated bits and pieces I’ve found out via twitter:
Gramercy Park is Manhattan’s only private park. It’s open to the public one day a year and some locals want to change that.
Another New York story: Prospect Park in Brooklyn has been home to hundreds of Canada geese. Some live there all year round, others migrate from up north. The Hudson River plane crash spooked everyone because it was caused by geese but investigation showed they weren’t part of the Prospect Park population. But the city killed them anyway. Sad.