Monthly Archives: November 2015

CBD to South East Light Rail (CESLR) Project: Why our threatened urban trees are valuable to us – 30th November 2015

Greens Councillor Murray Matson stresses the advantage of keeping established urban trees by reporting that American trees that have lived for fifty years has been calculated to be worth $41,769 USD over that period. Poorly planted trees actually lost money by failing to recoup the cost of their plantings.

“Urban trees shelter our buildings and reducing the demand for heating and air conditioning, which mean less CO2 in the production of energy.  Properly planted and long lived trees will all so reduce intercept storm water while removing contamination and sediments from it, increase property values, and directly sequester carbon. These factors all contribute to the financial, environmental and social benefits for both individual residents and governments.”

Greens Councillor Matson once helped plant urban trees at an environment conference in China. But did he plant this one deep enough?

Greens Councillor Matson once helped plant urban trees at an environment conference in China. But did he plant this one too deep?

The State Government has promised to plant eight replacement trees for everyone removed for the CSELR rail line. But Councillor Matson states that there are advantages to retaining established trees rather than attempting to replace them with younger plantings.

He said,

“The Alison Road trees in particular are not typical Council street trees constrained by pavement and road requirements. An American study has found that most urban trees have less than 1/10th of the rooting volume they need to thrive. Our Alison Road trees on the other hand are essentially forest trees with ample root space growing on the edge of Centennial Park.”

Councillor Matson points out that there is always a risk that any replacement trees may not take. He says

“Newly planted seedlings or saplings do not have a hundred percent survival rate. Furthermore the ones that do take root may have dramatically shorter life spans if they are planted too deep above their root balls or in too constricted a growing area. “ (Source “1 Million Trees: Vision or Nightmare”.

Councillor Matson sees a key overseeing role for his newly reestablished ‘Greening Randwick Committee’ of Councillors and resident representatives. He said;

“As well as fighting to retain trees using clauses in our signed development agreement, I would like to see the Greening Randwick Committee taking a keen interest in how the CLELR contractors do the promised re plantings. If they employ assembly line planting methods then we may not get as much of a bargain as promised. Expediency may in fifty year’s time cost our residents many millions in today’s dollars.”

BACKGROUND

“Most urban trees have less than 1/10th the rooting volume they need to thrive.” (source “Investment vs. Returns for Healthy Urban Trees: Lifecycle Cost Analysis”)

One study in Minneapolis, MN has shown that the benefits over the stunted 13 year life span of an “improperly” planted trees is only $2,717 (USD). This means that the tree fails to recoup its initial $4,000 planting cost plus $600 eventual removal cost. This is verse $41,769 for a professionally done job which allows the tree to last 50 years. (source “Investment vs. Returns for Healthy Urban Trees: Lifecycle Cost Analysis”)

The same Minneapolis study listed the financial benefits to Americans provided by properly planted and long lived urban trees as being:

  • savings from reduced building energy costs;
  • stormwater interception;
  • Reduced fees imposed by government authorities for stormwater control;
  • increased property values;
  • the net value of carbon sequestration in the tree;  and
  • “bioretention”in which contaminants and sedimentation are removed from stormwater;
  • Shoppers in well-landscaped business districts are willing to pay more for parking and up to 12% more for goods and services;Increased property values increase tax base resulting from higher property value;
  • Tree shade has been correlated with better pavement performance, which translates into reduced pavement maintenance costs, and increased pavement durability (McPherson and Muchnick 2005).

Paris Climate Change Conference: Greens Senator Larrisa Waters calls on Australian Prime Minister “to do better than Tony Abbott” – 30th November 2015

Senator Waters wants Malcom Turnball to “lift Australia’s pathetic pollution reduction targets and contribute Australia’s fair share to the Green Climate Fund”

Greens Senator Larrisa Waters meets up with former leader Christine Milne at the Paris Climate Change talks.

Greens Senator Larrisa Waters meets up with former leader Christine Milne at the Paris Climate Change talks.


Dear Murray,

It’s the end of a long but lovely first day in Paris. After 30 hours in transit I made it to COP21 for registration. Tomorrow the climate conference centre will be filled with 40,000 people from all over the world calling for a safe climate future.

I then headed to the Place de la Republique where – for the first time since President Hollande’s ban on public protests – thousands of people turned out with one simple, peaceful message: you cannot silence the overwhelming public will for action on global warming.

Back home I know that 60,000 of you hit the streets in Sydney for the Peoples’ Climate March. Thousands called for action from the streets of Canberra and Tasmania, following on the heels of 60,000 in Melbourne and 7,000 in Brisbane. The will of Australians for a safe climate is clear!

While the Peoples’ Climate March was banned here in Paris, and despite the heavy police presence on the streets, know that you were joined by thousands of people who stood in defiance and in solidarity for our planet.

I then met with our climate champion, former Greens Leader Christine Milne, for lunch (and hot chocolate and eclairs!). It is always such a privilege to meet with Christine – not only because she is a dear friend, but because her knowledge of climate policy and her incredible legacy of climate activism is unmatched.

Tomorrow the world’s leaders are converging on Paris with one hope – to strike a deal that will keep the planet from cooking.

The world is looking at Prime Minister Turnbull to do better than Tony Abbott and not stand in their way. Over the weekend you sent him a powerful message that showed him just how deeply Australians care about taking action on global warming, and how closely they will be watching him.

Turnbull has a choice to make tomorrow. He can lift Australia’s pathetic pollution reduction targets and contribute Australia’s fair share to the Green Climate Fund that helps countries hit the hardest by global warming to survive; or he can back his big coal mates.

Which will it be?

Stay tuned,

Larissa Waters

PS – Please forward this email on to any friends or family you think would be interested in updates from the ground in Paris. They can receive updates by taking the #ParisPledge >> grns.mp/paris-pledge

CSELR light rail: Non agreed on tree losses drives Randwick Council to start protest campaign against Government route changes – 25th November 2015

Protests by Greens Lindsay Shurey and Murray Matson that the NSW State Government is not abiding by the spirit of an agreement with Randwick Council has seen Councillors commit money to a protest campaign to protect trees along specific streets of the planned rail line.

The start of tree removals is apparently planned for early January and will include trees that the Council had thought were safe under the painfully negotiated development agreement signed last year.

Councillor Matson said after last night’s Council meeting that:

“The Randwick Green Councillors were always prepared to show good faith by working with the NSW State Government to bring light rail back to Randwick. We understood that trees would have to go. But we also understood that the development agreement that we supported signing was a painfully negotiated scheme for retaining as many as possible of trees along the then identified route. The Greens can not now accept that this route can be changed after the signing to actually force the removal of more trees. We call on the Government to abide by the spirit of the signed agreement and work with the Council to save as many trees as possible.”

Please note that the resolutions below are taken from the draft minutes of two recent meetings of Randwick City Council.

RANDWICK CITY COUNCIL EXPANDED CSELR LIGHT RAIL TREE LOSS RESOLUTION 24th November 2015

That in noting that Light Rail construction work will commence in January 2016 and will result in the destruction and loss of a significant number of established trees through Randwick, including along Alison Road, Wansey Road, High Street and Anzac Parade; this Council:-

  1. acknowledges that the established trees in Randwick threatened by Light Rail construction are a precious part of Randwick’s living environment, synonymous with the Randwick Local area;
  2. calls on the state government to urgently review the design for Light Rail to ensure the trees of Randwick are protected;
  3. expands the current campaign to include identifying each tree threatened by the CSELR, while abiding by the signed development agreement;
  4. delegates authority to the General Manager to fund this campaign from savings identified in the budget; and
  5. notes the tabled submission tonight from the community member who addressed Council on the matter and obtains an urgent legal opinion, prior to the next Council meeting, on the substance of her request that we explore, in addition to our other previous legal avenues, the possibility of a judicial review into the consent granted for the CSELR relating to the protection of trees.

RANDWICK CITY COUNCIL CSELR LIGHT RAIL ALISON ROAD TREE LOSS RESOLUTION 11th November 2015

That Council rejects the intended removal of trees and bike path facilities along the north side of Alison Road that results from the approved modification to the CBD to South East Light Rail consent as both unacceptable and unjustified and;

  1. notes that the tree removals are likely to occur in January and will arouse great and justifiable anguish in the eastern suburbs community;
  2. notes its disappointment that the issue of this consent modification was not flagged with Council until after the signing of the CSELR development agreement;
  3. will seek urgent legal advice on whether Council now has grounds to challenge the consent modification;
  4. calls on the Australian Turf Club to support a revocation of the consent modification so as to enable the light rail lines to be returned back to the south side of Alison Road bordering the racecourse as was the design at the time of the signing of the Development Agreement with Council ;
  5. authorises the spending of $10,000.00 on street signage along Alison Road calling for the saving of the trees by the relocation of the light rail route to the southern side of Alison Road; and
  6. writes to The Hon Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport, State Member for Heffron, Mr Ron Hoenig and State Member for Coogee, Mr Bruce Notley-Smith seeking their support to intervene in good faith on behalf of the community to save the trees and bike path by a return to the design prevailing at the time of the signing of the development agreement.

MOTION: (Shurey/Neilson) CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY – SEE RESOLUTION.

Fit For The Future: Randwick Council sets up its Transition Committee – 24th November 2015

Ray Brownlee
General Manager
Randwick City Council

Dear Ray

I am thankful to my fellow Randwick Councillors for their trust in voting me on to Randwick Council’s Transition Committee to oversee our community’s response to the State Government’s amalgamation agenda under its Fit For the Future program. It will be an honour to work with you to protect our residents.

There are two objectives I have personally sought to achieve as I voted on Fit For the Future related Council matters.

One was to stop Randwick and Botany from being forcibly amalgamated into a five member super City of Sydney. I am confident that Randwick at least has now avoided that fate by merging with Waverley.

The second was to keep the democratically elected Councillors of Randwick from being dismissed when the Boundary Commission finishes the inquiry that everyone now anticipates is coming. I am now confident that this has also been achieved and that we will remain in place to be able to  continue to represent the views of those constituents who elected us at the last Council elections.

I wish to advise you that I will not be drawing the $5,000 per month allocation for sitting on the committee as this was never my motivation. I ask that it be used instead to fund Council’s poster and media campaign against the unnecessary removal of trees along Alison Road resulting from this year’s unfair changes to the alignment of the CSELR light rail line.

Thank you.
Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

CSELR – Green Councillors up the pressure on Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith to save the Alison Road trees and bike path – 6th November 2015

Randwick Green Councillors are stepping up pressure to try to save a bike path and significant trees from being destroyed by a late design change to the approved development consent for the CBD to South East Light Rail (CSELR) project.

Councillors Lindsay Shurey and Murray Matson emailed their fellow Councillors on Friday evening urging that a much stronger resolution be adopted instead of the recommendation attached to a Council report to be debated on Tuesday night (10th November).

New route of the CSELR light rail threatens trees and a bike path along Alison Road Randwick.

New route of the CSELR light rail threatens trees and a bike path along Alison Road Randwick.


Email sent Friday 6th November 2015.

Amendment to “Miscellaneous Report No. M9/15  – Randwick Light Rail Alignment Working Group” on Nov. 10th Planning Committee Business Agenda

Dear fellow Randwick Councillors.

We wish to propose an alternative recommendation to that listed in Miscellaneous Report No. M9/15 with the suggestion that it be moved as the actual motion on the night.

CURRENT RECOMMENDATION

“That Council receives and notes the outcomes of the investigations of the Randwick Light Rail Alignment Working Group.”

WORDING OF ALTERNATIVE MOTION

“That Council rejects the intended removal of trees and bike path facilities along the north side of Alison Road that results from the approved modification to the CBD to South East Light Rail consent as both unacceptable and unjustified and;

  1. Notes that the tree removals are likely to occur in January and will arouse great and justifiable anguish in the eastern suburbs community;
  1. Notes its disappointment that the issue of this consent modification was not flagged with Council until after the signing of the CSELR development agreement;
  1. Will seek urgent legal advice on whether Council now has grounds to challenge the consent modification;
  1. Calls on the Australian Turf Club to support a revocation of the consent modification so as to enable the light rail lines to be returned back to the south side of Alison Road bordering the racecourse as was the design at the time of the signing of the Development Agreement with Council ; and
  1. Will authorize the spending of $10,000 on street signage along Alison Road calling on Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith to intervene in good faith on behalf of the community to save the trees and bike path by a return to the design prevailing at the time of the signing of the development agreement.

Randwick Greens Councillor Lindsay Shurey
Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson

Paris Climate Change Conference: Rally at Coogee Beach (i.e. Goldstein Reserve) 11am 14th November 2015

Greens Candidate for Kingsford Smith James Macdonald calls for positive climate change action at Paris conference.


Greens candidate James Macdonald

James Macdonald 2015 Greens candidate for Kingsford Smith

Dear Greens members and supporters

Australia desperately needs to take urgent, effective action on climate change if we’re to avoid the catastrophic environmental damage of a warmer planet.

Together with Labor, we’ll be calling for such action on November 14th 2015, at 11am at Coogee Beach (Goldstein Reserve). Together, in the lead-up to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, we can give our community a loud and clear voice.

Our very own Senator Lee Rhiannon will be speaking alongside Labor’s Matt Thistlethwaite, activists and academics as we show our support for climate change activism. I invite you to join me in demonstrating that the community’s demands for action can’t be ignored.

James Macdonald
Greens Candidate for Kingsford Smith in 2015


Rally at Coogee Beach to put pressure on the Liberal Federal Government to contribute positively at the Paris Climate Change Conference

Climate Change Rally Coogee Beach, 14th Nov. 2015

Support positive action at the Paris Climate Change conference by rallying at Coogee Beach on the 14th Nov.

Date: 14 November
Time: 11 am – Midday
Location: Goldstein Reserve,
Coogee (i.e. Coogee Beach)

Speakers include;

  • Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon;
  • Labor MP Matt Thistlethwaite;
  • John Conner, CEO of the Climate Institute;
  • Katrin Meissner, Associate Professor at UNSW; and
  • Alex Nicolson of the Citizens Climate Lobby.