From Esteddfod to plane trees

The views expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Fairfax Media.
The views expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Fairfax Media.

A big thanks

As the 69th Inverell Music and Speech Eisteddfod has drawn to a close,  on behalf of the teachers and performers, I wish to thank and congratulate the small but dedicated Inverell Eisteddfod Committee and the  volunteers  on the excellent running of the event.   The Inverell Eisteddfod is a non profit organisation and all time is given voluntarily. The Eisteddfod provides a very valued performance outlet for the young (and some not so young!) members of the community to hone their skills and receive what is usually positive and constructive feedback. The community would be much poorer without the Eisteddfod.

As an adjudicator of numerous Eisteddfods over many years, I have a good understanding  of the work and expenses involved in   facilitating  such an activity.  Most eisteddfods are run by a handful of dedicated people -   more often than not, the same people year after year. Well done to those who participated - may there be many more entrants next year!

Thank you sincerely to all those who  made it possible.

Peta Blyth OAM 

Plane explanation

 “Ms Wilson’s misunderstanding concerns me greatly,” opines Cr Michael in his letter of 8/09/17. He states assuredly that Council will only be replacing plane trees “which were planted in concrete pipes.” His comment though, belies The Inverell Times article of 3/08/17 which confirmed in an interview with the General Manager, that the plan would “see most of the species removed” including those “down to the corner of Henderson St.” 

Cr Michael’s comment also belies the fact that in the May cull of Plane trees, 3 of the 6, were not placed in concrete pipes.  His comment also ignores the fact that in August 2015, Council passed a motion permitting it to remove (without requiring proof or definition) “any inappropriately planted plane trees.”

 Cr Michael also asserts that the upgrade is “not a multi-million dollar plan” and by way of argument infers that Otho St constitutes the entirety of the plan, which will only amount to a mere “$450,000 plus the cost of the trees.”

Actually no. This figure for Otho St does not include the cost of $3,000 x 14 trees or for the $15,000 that the Director for Civil and Environmental Services has calculated to be the figure to ameliorate the site of each of the 9 plane trees, which a quick reckoning reveals, amounts to $627,000. Nor does Cr Michael take into account the cost to develop that other streetscape from Wood St to Lawrence St with edge removal amounting to $3,225,000 and a further $638,000 for centre strips totalling $3.863M. Nor do such figures include costs for tree planting and plane tree site ameliorations.

Is Cr Michael seriously denying the scope of these costs? Because they are evident for all to see in the April and September 2017 Civil and Environmental Committee minutes and papers. So far the nearly $4.5m I have tabulated is earmarked for just two sections of the CBD. It does not cover the costs for further development in other parts of Byron St and Otho St.

Cr Michael would have us believe that the SRV has “nothing to do with the proposed upgrade.” Actually, $300,000 of the SRV was assigned to “urban streets.”  In April, $300,000 of ratepayer money was earmarked for urban development. Now in September, a further $730,000 has been recommended via revotes. With money clawed back from past projects, it becomes difficult to calculate initial budgetary allocations.

Finally, Cr Michael’s notion that the tree canopy will, “be enhanced if the proposed CBD upgrade proceeds.” Factoring in the 18 plane trees since removed from the CBD, IACA arborist Jacki Brown’s report conclusively proved the nonsense of such an unsubstantiated assertion. Cr Michael’s erroneous assertions only raise more questions. Council must come clean.

Caroline Wilson