Mildura Weekly : Friday October 24 2014 Vol 8 No 51
14 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2014 MILDURA’S trees can’t speak for themselves, but they’ve been given a voice. ‘Greening Mildura’ is a group of dedicated ‘tree peo- ple’ committed to preserving the city’s heritage trees, and making sure Mildura main- tains its ‘oasis in the desert’ reputation by the judicious planting of trees into the fu- ture. The mission statement, found on the group’s Face- book page reads: “Greening Mildura is about creating an opportunity for community members to get involved in the health and well-being of trees in our towns.” The group’s spokesman is Red Cliffs’ Tom Fagan, award- winning landscape gardener, qualified horticulturalist and self-confessed tree admirer who explained the group owed its start to growing resi- dent concern about the way some of Mildura’s trees were being treated, or more accu- rately mistreated. And he was quick to point out it was not just trees in public areas the group was prepared to concern itself with, and not just authorities like Mildura Rural City Coun- cil and Powercor it would be dealing with. “There are also landmark trees on private properties that deserve recognition and protection, and we are keen to work with their owners to see them main- tained and pre- served,” Tom said. And there is an emphasis is on ‘work with,’ Tom said. The group has no adversarial intentions, preferring to work with own- ers and authorities to further Mildura’s oasis reputation. Like the preservation of Mildura’s disappearing heri- tage architecture, an issue aired by Mildura Rural City Councillor Ali Cupper earlier this year, Tom says Mildura’s ‘heritage trees’ are impor- tant to the city’s streetscapes and open areas, and contrib- ute mightily to our ‘sense of place.’ Many of our landmark trees owe their existence to the irrigation colony founded by the Chaffeys in the late 19th century. Without the life- giving water from the Murray, there is no way many of Mil- dura’s outstanding large trees could have survived Sunray- sia’s harsh summers, particu- larly when they were young. “Those trees are part of our history,” Tom says, point- ing, as an example, to the huge, heritage-listed Moreton Bay Fig on the vacant lot at the end of Douglas Avenue near the 8th Street/San Mateo Av- enue roundabout and railway crossing. Formerly in the yard of a private residence, the land is now Council owned, and the tree is the feature of a park be- ing established on the site. Another tree of note is the Bottle tree in the front yard of 176 Lime Avenue, between 10th and 11th Streets. It too started out in the front yard of a private home, but was retained when the block was redeveloped for commercial office space. It is a magnificent exam- ple of the species, Tom says. Both trees, and others like them, are part of the commu- nity fabric that marks Mildura as an oasis in the surround- ing dryland farming area and Mallee scrublands, he says. And Mildura, Tom con- tends, would be a very differ- ent place without its majestic big trees, and all the poorer for their loss. Greening Mildura is keen to see that preservation of ex- isting trees, and smart plant- ing of new trees to ensure the city’s ‘green future.’ “There are times,” Tom says, “when some trees must be sacrificed...for a variety of reasons.” “But there must be a con- sidered approach to the is- sue...underpinned by good policies and practices,” he adds. And that is where Green- ing Mildura sees its future – working with Council, pri- vate owners and other groups and authorities to preserve and protect what Mildura has where possible, and to plant for the future. The group is presently working with Council on a pilot program ‘test driv- ing’ different street trees, for example, to ascertain those most suitable for planting out around the city. The trial involves test plantings of different species across the municipality and monitoring their progress. Council’s Parks Coordina- tor, Trevor Watts, described a meeting with the Greening group as constructive. It was, he says, a chance for the group to explain its as- pirations, and for Council to explain the constraints it must work within regarding public plantings. “We (the Greening group and Council) seem to be on a similar wave length,” he said. “We are certainly looking to achieve the same outcomes. “And Council is happy to work with community groups to further its tree strategy.” In defence of the trees email@example.com By Grant Maynard In the Garden Grant Maynard • TREE TALK: Mildura Rural City Council’s Parks Coordinator, Trevor Watts, INSET, has welcomed the Greening Mildura group’s interest in the city’s trees. Spokesman for the group, Tom Fagan, RIGHT, says Mildura’s landmark trees, like the magnificent heritage-listed Moreton Bay Fig, ABOVE, on the vacant lot at the end of Douglas Avenue near the 8th Street/ San Mateo Avenue roundabout and railway crossing are part of the city’s rich history. 16001820141253 Staying Mobile and Independent A free community forum about staying mobile as you get older RoadSafe MILDURA COMMUNITY Thursday 30 October 2014, 9am – 12:30pm Mildura Seniors Citizen’s Centre Tenth Street, Mildura Free morning tea and light lunch RSVP before 27 October for catering purposes by phoning Jeni Snadden on (03) 5018 8240 or Sunassist on (03) 5023 1906.
Friday October 17 2014 Vol 8 No 50
Friday October 31 2014 Vol 8 No 52