Save The Trees And Animals From The Ashmore Development

Friday, August 16, 2013
RE: Ashmore Precinct Stage 2
Currently On Exhibition until 28 August, 2013

Dear Lord Mayor, Deputy Lord Mayor and Councilors and John Davies,

I am an Ashmore St resident, writing to express my strong concern about the current lack
of protection for existing trees and ecosystems in the new Ashmore Development plans.
My concerns relate specifically to:

1. The mature stand of fig trees on the corner of Mitchell Rd. and Ashmore St (and
the small historical electrical substation they shade), to be replaced with apartment
blocks running flush with the street;

2. The thriving microsystem of trees and bushes behind the Ashmore St terraces,
a home to a variety of birds, insects, bats and possums, to be replaced with a rearlane
access road called 'Coppersmith Lane';

3. The well established trees along the eastern side of 55 and 56 Ashmore St,
which may not be preserved as part of the new 'Kooka Way' thoroughfare.
I understand from previous correspondence that the developer is entitled to tear down
existing trees on site providing they establish equivalent tree canopies elsewhere on the
site. I also understand that the fig trees in question are apparently not old enough to be
considered 'state significant' and can therefore be removed.

However, I believe that the above position ignores an issue vital to the preservation of the
character of Erskineville and the quality of life of its residents, and is out of step with one
of the key objectives of the Sydney City Draft sub regional strategy, which is listed in the
new Ashmore development plans as: "E2: Protect Sydney’s natural environment."
All of the trees in question are well established and the majority are well over 40 feet tall.
They provide welcome shade for pedestrians and residents, add beauty to the street,
provide crucial habitat for local wildlife, and are in keeping with the 'pocket park' aesthetic
that characterizes the suburb.

They should be preserved on the basis that they are significant public assets:- not only to
the lifestyle of the new Ashmore residents (and by default to the value of their properties),
but more generally, to the quality of life of the Erskineville community as a whole.
It would take at least a decade for tree canopies of a similar size to grow (and more than
three decades in regards to the fig trees), should the existing trees be destroyed. This is
small consolation for existing Ashmore St residents, who are set to see our shady views
replaced with concrete buildings. Many of us do not view 'rear lane access' as an asset,
and moved to Erskineville to get away from the city's dependency on cars.

In light of all this, I respectfully request that the City of Sydney, on behalf of Ashmore St
residents, consider the following possible solutions in their ongoing negotiations with the
Ashmore Estate developer:

Reconfigure the design of the proposed apartment blocks on the corner of
Ashmore St and Mitchell Rd to preserve the trees and existing grassy verge, as a
harmonious landscaping feature between the apartments and the street.

Preserve this small building on the grounds that it is of significant historical value,
and convert it into a cafe (as has been done on McEvoy St at the junction with Fountain
St), preserving the large fig trees that flank it to provide shade and beauty.

Preserve this (partly landscaped and partly self-seeded) thriving habitat for
animals and birds, reconfiguring it not as a lane for motor vehicles, but as a
pedestrian thoroughfare running between the Ashmore St terraces and the new
terraces to be built on the other side. We don't need rear lane access!

In the interim, conduct an Ecological Assessment Report to examine the existing
habitat features of the area as part of the DA assessment, and take all steps to
ensure that this habitat is preserved.

Should these steps still not preserve the trees, and Coppersmith Lane goes
ahead, enable the residents of Ashmore St to extend their rear fence boundaries
by 1.5 meters so that the trees that stand within this perimeter can be saved.

Preserve these tall and well-established trees, incorporating them into the
landscaping for the new Kooka Way. A brand new tree canopy would take at least
10-15 years to provide the equivalent shade that the existing trees already provide.
Thank you for your consideration and assistance in helping us preserve one of
Erskineville's most loved, but too often overlooked, assets - its trees.

Yours sincerely,
Anna Broinowski