Took No 2 child (who is less able to assert herself than No 1) for a walk to the boardwalk through Kooragang Wetlands last weekend and can recommend it on a number of levels, not least of which are that it’s flat and it’s free. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘benefits of trees’
If you go to Newcastle City Council’s website and look up veteran trees – which I did so I could see how they look after them – you get this: (more…)
I was looking through old Herald articles trying to find the dirt goods on previous general managers and spin information on council tree policy and I found several good articles. Some of them had an eerie feel about them. (more…)
You can also go to the website to tell council your vision for Laman Street. You really should do this because weight of numbers is important. If council only have input from the people who are lucky enough to go to the charette and those people are overwhelmed by the spin put forward at the workshops and naive enough to believe it, then the trees will go and we’ll have our very own Concord Hospital in the middle of Newcastle (see last post).
Options could include:
Leave the street as it is: it’s fantastic, well-loved and viewed as safe by its users. Newcastle people have not been swayed by talk of the risk of the trees and are skeptical about the motives behind the current moves to remove the trees.
Look after the trees well: mulch around their bases and get rid of the palms growing out of the middle of them. Engage an arborist with the will and expertise to advise on tree preservation. Our own council arborists no doubt have this if they’re allowed to do their job.
Replace the figs that are missing from the eastern end of the street. Council moved to replace them as a matter of urgency in 2008.
Put disabled parking at the eastern end of the art gallery where presumably staff parking is now.
Put picnic tables and more benches in Civic Park.
Put a playground in Civic Park. This would greatly increase the relevance of and connection to the park for Newcastle residents. (Please no more Ausplay equipment, though.)
If someone is set on increasing the size of the art gallery and can’t rebuild because Newcastle’s residents have insisted on keeping the figs, the library could be moved and the gallery expanded into the Cultural Centre. Someone clever and creative suggested the Post Office building. That would stop that poor thing rotting away. Have we sold the wonderful museum building yet? (Wasn’t that a terrible move. The only museum in Australia that made a profit.) That would make a good library.
If you insist on having five minute only parking in the street (which you may not since it’s just part of the spin) then a bus needs to go up Laman street to make it easier for people to get to the library.
Light up some of the trees in Civic Park with fairy lights the way New York does.
Make a feature of the fauna in Laman Street: signage talking about how the grey-headed fruit bat is vulnerable, its numbers have been decreasing and that figs are an important part of their diet. Signage naming the birds that use the street trees. Suggest that anyone walking up the street at night take an umbrella – I can speak from experience…
Signage relating to the history of the street. The cultural collection has some great pictures you could use for this.
Signage relating to how big a contribution the trees of Laman Street make to the city: carbon sequestration, shade, reducing stormwater, dealing with air pollution, cooling the street, prolonging bitumen life, slowing taffic.
And what happened to the silver pointy sculpture that has been outside the gallery for a million years? It’s like anything: you don’t appreciate it till it’s gone.
In France at the Luxembourg gardens there were permanent structures that enabled free outdoor photographic exhibitions. A walk in the shade of the trees, the gallery and the library all attract people but that may attract even more. One or more of them could showcase the exhibit inside the gallery.
A tourist information sign at the end of the street at the corner of Darby Street with a map, beaches, galleries, shopping centres, movie theatres, transport info, skateparks etc.
If extending the gallery into the cultural centre isn’t a possibility and you insist it’s necessary, build an extension out the back where the car park now is.
Bottom line: leave the trees where they are.
If tree replacement can’t be avoided because of council’s intransigence then you should replace them with trees that are equally grand (click on this link and you’ll see some huge trees being moved) as the trees in place now. If Hill’s figs are your problem then you should use Port Jackson figs or Moreton Bay figs and they should be fully grown and planted using modern technology so that the trees are safe from the effects of roadworks in the future and so that the built environment is safe from the trees.
Bottom line: the people of Newcastle should not have to tolerate another Tyrrell Street debacle.
Leave the trees alone or replace them with trees that are the same size.
In the 60s King Street was widened and a row of mature trees were taken out at the edge of Civic Park. There were protests but they made no difference.
In the 70s the saddest one was when huge Moreton Bay figs were removed from Birdwood Park to make way for what is of course now a really busy road, Parry Street.
I remember (perhaps inaccurately) the front page of The Herald which had Vic Rooney and others chained to trees, blocking bulldozers. Vic Rooney later taught English at my High School. He was such an entertaining teacher. The protesters were unsuccessful and the park is now used as background to traffic.
Occasionally people sit at the tables but not many. It has some newish figs planted alongside the older ones and the trees are spectacular but the park generally has the feel of a traffic island. Watch out for council, though: a green blur as you are driving past is better than a ‘performing asset’: it’s on their list of small or pocket parks that they think need to perform some financial function.
It’s not enough that the trees reduce pollution, stormwater run-off, the heat island effect, road rage, domestic violence, sequester carbon dioxide, provide food and shelter for animals, shelter for pedestrians, reduce skin cancer etc etc etc, not to mention give you something to look at when you’re sitting at the lights in peak-hour.
Also in the 70s there was ridiculous talk about 2 things: removing the trees in Laman Street before the Queen came to open the Art Gallery: that was the bird poo story from an earlier post. Apparently there was a starling ‘plague’ at the time and our civic leaders had their proverbial knickers in a knot about the possibility that birds would poo on HM’s hat.
The other bit of silliness was talk of the stunning row of Moreton Bay figs in Islington being ripped out because ‘perverts’ could hide behind them.
More recently there have been some battles that were sadly lost: the trees at the side of the Gateway Inn in Mayfield: perfectly healthy Hill’s figs; the giant Moreton Bay figs in Wallsend; a row of Agonis in Broadmeadow near Goninan’s; more Agonis in Hamilton South; trees in front of the Calvary Mater development and the figs in Ravenshaw Street.
I do hope that the current one is remembered as one of the silly ones.
I have just had a lovely celebratory lunch at a Newcastle restaurant with a view of Newcastle Beach. The weather put on a gorgeous show with sun, then dark clouds, misty rain, then torrential rain with thunder and lightning. It was stunning. It’s not the day to do research so I have some questions.
The first one is – why on earth do Edgeworth people put up with the most awful median strip in the entire world? It has a synthetic green covering that has faded over the years. What I truly don’t understand is how did someone actually come up with this idea, how did they convince others it was a worthwhile project, and why has there not been a general revolt against it? Edgeworth people deserve better.
I think this Green Stuff has been there for about a decade so you can’t say it doesn’t last well but wouldn’t concrete have been less offensive? And if They wanted it to look green couldn’t they have planted grass? If they didn’t want to mow it they could have planted something like the Callistemon Little John* that adorns the median strip on the New England Highway on the way to Maitland (along with New Zealand flax*). It’s hot enough out Edgeworth way as it is without something like this that doesn’t fool anyone into thinking nature is helping them to cope with the concrete jungle.
My next question is what motivates vandals? I was looking at the street trees in Hunter Street yesterday and came across this poor thing. Its neighbour was looking lovely. If a tree is on a route between pubs or nightclubs it’s going to be in trouble but you can’t imagine destroying a tree, no matter how much alcohol you’ve had to drink, can you? Hey – I know what we can do for fun – let’s wreck something.
Trees often have an unconscious effect even on people whose psyches are damaged. Living in a green suburb reduces road rage and domestic violence. Did you know people in hospital heal faster if they can see green outside their hospital window? And a view of trees lowers blood pressure. What a shame a small tree doesn’t calm a young drunk.
Young, drunk sociopaths aren’t the only people who vandalise trees - there was a story in the Herald yesterday about Dixon Park pines, recently planted, that have been destroyed. It’s not known whether it was wanton damage or whether it was done deliberatley by someone trying to maintain their view corridor (an even less forgivable form of wanton damage). I know where I’m putting my money.
Question number three is what is the point of a heritage register? The ugly photo of this vacant lot is where the Palais used to stand. There’s a great story about this in the online newcastle on hunter with some great pictures. I’m sure the powers that be have covered themselves perfectly good reasons for allowing this building to be destroyed. Have a look through the Heritage register as it applies to Newcastle. I count 14 items that are listed as demolished; there is a stand of trees that have died that are on there still and the Palais is there in black and white as still standing. I’m glad it hasn’t been updated – perhaps this is a deliberate policy – and that these are there to shame someone – although I suspect there is no shaming bureaucrats who allow things like this to happen or developers who are happy to see any trace of our heritage removed and replace it with yet another block of units that will probably sit empty a brand spanking new high rise building.
A reminder from the southern side of the harbour would be fitting as a commemoration of the ships and people lost and the bravery of their rescuers.
Question number five is – is there a town in Australia that has more figs per head of population than Newcastle? I don’t know the answer to this but the more you look the more you find. It’s heartening to see young ones planted here and there in public spaces.
My last question is did you know that Hunter Area Health rent that huge glass and sandstone thing on Hunter Street built to maintain some kind of health presence in the inner-city once the Royal was sold? I was shocked when I heard that. Paying rent.
* Please correct me if I’ve identified these wrongly.