Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rail Flange Noise and Other Matters

The BCCT is associated with the Cowan Rail Noise Steering Committee, exploring options for reducing rail noise on Sydney railways.  They have just advised us that they are planning a meeting in Cowan on Monday, 5 December 2011, 10:00 am – 12 noon, at the Cowan Community Centre, located at Cowan oval at the end of Chandler Ave Cowan.
Given the rather short notice and distance involved, so far no member of the BCCT committee is able to attend.  If any BCCT member interested in this problem wishes to go as an observer, please contact to discuss.
Meanwhile a recent article on the net describes very well the technical aspects of the problem.  Good reading about the whole problem of rail vs road, especially for freight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blue Gums Stolen!

Six Sydney blue gum trees planted by Ryde Council in Miriam Park at West Ryde have been stolen!  New exotic plants have been planted in their place.
The blue gums were planted by Ryde council workers on Friday October 28, and were reported stolen on Monday.  This demonstrates that residents need to be alerted to the plantings, and asked to be vigilant to try to prevent such thefts.
It also demonstrates how important it is to preserve and protect the mature blue gum trees we do have!  Not as easy to steal as new plantings, but quite capable of being destroyed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

79-87 Malton Road Application Rejected

The application to subdivide the above property into five lots has been rejected by Council in accordance with Clause 51 of the Environmntal Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

BCCT President's Report for 2011

2011 seems to have flown by, as the end of the year approaches it is appropriate to look back on the year and how Beecroft and Cheltenham were impacted.
However, firstly I would like to thank all of our Bulletin distributors, Brian Sippel and his helpers, for their efforts throughout the year. I would also like to thank my fellow committee members for giving up their time for the good of the community. We have a dedicated committee with expertise in advocacy, law, architecture, planning and environment.
This year the Civic Trust has been involved in:
* Clean Up Australia Day.
* Organisation of two very successful bush walks.
* Negotiations to have the Murray Farm Road bridge open with one lane controlled by lights instead of closure and improving pedestrian access.
* Having rail deadeners installed on the tracks between Cheltenham and Beecroft. We hope that TORFMA units will be installed to reduce the flange squeal from freight trains.
* Negotiations with Hornsby Council to improve the outcomes of the Housing Development Strategy for Beecroft.
* Negotiations with Hornsby Council to improve footpaths and drainage.
* Lobbying to save critically endangered Sydney Blue Gums and to improve street tree plantings.
* Reviewing all development applications for properties in 2119.
* Holding displays to inform residents of the impacts of high density housing and of the plans for the North West Rail Line.
* Holding two very successful public meetings and distributed five Bulletins to every residence in 2119.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Take Care when digging near Blue Gum trees

This paper relates to the earlier post about recent telecoms work in Cardinal Avenue.

AS4970 The Protection of Trees on Development Sites defines the relevant rules, and applies to all interested in integration between trees and construction This Standard was prepared by the Standards Australia Committee EV-018, Arboriculture.  This Standard provides guidance for arborists, architects, builders, engineers, land managcrs, landscapc architects and contractors, planners, building surveyors, those concerned with the care and protection of trees, and all others interested in integration between trees and construction. The installation of in ground cabling is considered a form of construction.
Blue gum trees belong to a Critical Endangered Ecological Community, and are protected by a Threatened Conservation Species Act. Legal controls and Liabilities under common law need to be considered before disturbing the ground around these species.

Sydney Blue gums have a broad shallow root system with the majority of their feeding and anchoring roots confined to a depth of 30 - 60 cm below the surrounding soil.

The trenching that took place, most likely to a depth of 45 - 60cm as this is the required depth to place communication services in the ground, would have severed about 40% of the trees roots.

The cutting of roots close to the trunk within the structural root zone affects the tree’s stability and cutting roots further to the drip line of the foliage, known as the tree protection zone, severs the important feeding and anchoring roots.

The Structural Root Zone (SRZ) is an area around the base of a tree required for the tree’s stability in the ground that is necessary to hold the tree upright. The SRZ is nominally circular with the trunk at its centre.

The Tree Protection Zone (generally close to the edge of the outer foliage drip line) refers to an area around a tree to provide a specified area above and below the ground for the protection of a tree’s roots and crown to provide for the viability and stability of a tree to be retained where it is potentially subject to damage by trenching and excavation.

The main functions of roots include the uptake of water and nutrients, anchorage, storage of sugar reserves and the production of some plant hormones required by the shoots. In order for roots to function, they must be supplied with oxygen from the soil. The root system of trees consists of several 'types' of roots found in different parts of the soil and is generally much more extensive than commonly thought. The importance of roots is easily overlooked because they are not visible, that is 'out of sight, out of mind'.

 Damage to the root system is a common cause of tree decline and death and is the most common form of damage associated with trenching and excavation. In addition to lateral root spread being underestimated, root depth in trees has also been grossly exaggerated. Deep root systems or taproots are the exception rather than the rule. Most roots of most trees are found in the very top of the soil. The vast majority of these roots are small non-woody absorbing roots which grow upward into the very surface layers of the soil and leaf litter. This delicate, non-woody system, because of its proximity to the surface, is very vulnerable to injury.

Optus Work Performed in Cardinal Avenue

The Beecroft Cheltenham Civic Trust notes with great alarm the work done recently, apparently by Optus staff or contractors, in Cardinal Avenue.  It appears this work has been conducted in complete contravention of regulations and guidelines.

A row of significant mature Sydney Blue gum trees located within the Cardinal Avenue nature strip had their roots prejudiced and probably severed during the installation of communication cables, laid into a newly installed Optus box.  This work may very well result in the death of these trees, which have taken many decades to reach maturity.

These photographs show the evidence left visible above ground when the work was discovered by Trust officers.

In the middle of the trail of destruction is a new Optus box which is why we assume Optus contractors are responsible.

We included in our letter to Optus a paper explaining why the work performed is expected to have such devastating consequences on these magnificent trees.  The paper will be added as another post in this Blog.

Optus has been requested to investigate and report on this work and advise what remedial action or compensation is intended.

Meanwhile residents of Beecroft and Cheltenham should be alert to the hazard represented by these rogue contractors, and challenge them if they start endangering more trees.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

M2 Early Conversion to Fully Electronic Tolls

Message from the Hills M2 Project:

The NSW Government has reached agreement with the operator of the Hills M2 Motorway for the conversion of the motorway to cashless or fully electronic toll collection on 30 January 2012
The conversion three months ahead of schedule has been facilitated by the Hills M2 Upgrade and will allow the timing to align with the conversion of the Eastern Distributor by Airport Motorways Limited, the operators of that motorway.
The introduction of cashless operations follows the successful conversion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 2009 and the Sydney Harbour Tunnel in 2007. Consecutive governments have indicated their commitment to transition the Sydney Motorway network to fully cashless operations.
Cashless operations will ensure a simpler, safer and faster journey for motorists. Cashless operations will remove stop-start conditions and queuing at key bottlenecks on the motorway, including Pennant Hills Road interchange and the main toll plaza, servicing the Christie Road off-ramp and the Herring Road on-ramp.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tree Replacement

One of the more thought provoking statements at the recent Open Meeting was from Councillor Michael Hutchence who said trees don’t live forever and must be managed. He suggested that residents should proactively plant new trees.  He also pointed out that owners are reluctant to plant trees that they may later not be able to chop down.
It is worth seeing how Ku-ring-gai Council addresses this issue.  Clause 4.3.6 of their DCP 38 for Residential Dwellings has a Tree Replenishment clause, "Landscaping proposals shall contribute to the replenishment of trees so as to maintain and restore the treed character of Ku-ring-gai."  Lots of less than 850sqm must support at least 3 treees, and so on up to lots above 1,500sqm which must support ten trees.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Plans to Demolish a Lovely Old House

The Trust is objecting to a proposal to subdivide the lot on which this lovely old house stands, and to demolish the house.
This is one of only a relatively few such landscapes within this State let alone the Shire.  The Trust has suggested an alternative to demolition would be to retain the house in its classically fine location and condition, and build a sympathetic extension in the large space at the rear.