Friday, December 31, 2010

Sydney Centennial Park

Sticking with last posts' Sydney location I would just like to sing the praises of Centennial Park I had a wonderful time wandering around the parklands watching puppies racing across open grassed areas 

The Paddington gates to the parklands

It really can be a dog's life sometimes

some parts of the park are really quite traditionally formal, not unlike a British Royal Park;

An avenue of Melaleuca not far from the Paddington gates - probably part of an earlier carriage way
Cycleway and footpath flanked on both sides by a mixture of tree species

A short chain of ponds near the more formal herbaceous beds

in other parts I found myself wandering myself amongst a very beautiful patch of Melaleuca.

There were almost enough larger established trees to satisfy my obsession with Veteran Trees (there are never really enough!)

Even on the walk back into the city centre there were more wonderful fig trees to be in awe of;

Then there were some wonderfully well treed streets of some Sydney suburbs, spending most of my working life on the Gold Coast I wonder if Sydneysiders realise just how lucky and blessed they are to be able to walk along such canopied streets as these...mind you I know only too well of the complaints from car owners regarding the seasonal gifts from London Plane trees - its true I have little sympathy for them..such debris is part and parcel of plant growth.

Sydney Green Space

I love the impact that parks can have on you when walking through a major capital city, even small pocket parks....they have the capacity to transport your mind away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis to a more reflective place.

I think that Sydney's Hyde Park is one such space, like its name sake in London it sits within the heart of the city...and every time I have visited that there have been many people making use of the green amenity provided by the lawns garden beds and trees.

The real value of these places is beginning to be recognised by local government and the general public. Movements like 'Healthy Parks, Healthy People' in Victoria are delivering the critical message about the intrinsic link between our access to green spaces and the maintenance of our physical and mental well being.

It is unfortunate that there still are a few people (including some Arborists) who seem unable to grasp the significance and value of green space in our urban environment.

Every city in Australia is facing increasing demands and pressure on the available space, urban infill, transport upgrades (both vehicular and pedestrian) are factors that result in less space to grow trees.

Green spaces like Hyde Park, and the Centennial Parklands are unique places, by virtue of their size they are able to deliver huge recreational benefits to residents and visitors alike.
Centennial Parklands
But the benefits from 'green exposure' can be gained even if the that green is limited to the street fact street trees (and their canopies) can have an enormous impact on phenomena such as the heat island effect.

Street Figs opposite the Sydney Football Stadium

Long term planning is essential in the management of these growing assets, and as previously pointed out the competition for space both above and below ground is getting ever more intense in all our cities.

Local government in the city of Sydney does seem to have more developed management plans than a great many other places I have visited. I do worry however that an unjustified (IMO) emphasis on percieved risk from larger established trees has been presented to the general public as the rational for tree management in a number of high profile locations...Hyde Park being one. 

Within such a dense urban environment there are no easy solutions to the competing demands placed on Local Government resources...many of the initiatives being followed in Sydney are a great improvement on what has gone before.

I do not think assessable risk justifies removing and replacing almost all the Hill's figs in Hyde Park...there may well have been a small number of trees which were so severely comromised that removal was entirely appropriate but it would seem unlikely (in the extreme) that all the tree removed thus far fell into that category. Nor have I ever been convinced by the spurious suggestion that an (IMO) improperly applied and highly subjective assessment of Safe Useful Life Expectancy (SULE) should have any bearing on decisions regarding these trees.  

The iconic avenue of Hills Figs at Hyde Park Sydney

That having been said, I do think that it is appropriate for the City of Sydney to develop long term plans for all their public trees and green spaces....and it would be incredible if those plans matched all of my own preferrences.

The impressive Anzac Memorial Hyde Park redevelopment