wonder at the sanity of our urban planners. Regular readers of my prowling and growling will remember my concerns about the expense of relocating a pre-school because of the danger posed by some trees. Oh yes, the trees were worthy of millions of dollars worth of expenditure.
We have a little more madness today. There is a square in the middle of our fair city. It has been the subject of much debate over the years, as has the entire layout of the city. Unlike most cities ours was planned - or the CBD was. Colonel Light set out two neat square miles with cross grids of streets and the squares intended for public space. And, as I said, one of these is in the centre of the area which is the CBD. Right.
There is a road around the square and a road through the centre. There is a tram line down one side. There are buses. There is a fountain - and a statue of Queen Victoria. The main court buildings are one two sides along with other government offices.
From time to time things get moved. Someone decides that the square is not functional or that something else is wrong. Now they are doing things again.
In the process of doing things again they are planning to move one tree. It is the second time this tree, now fourteen years old, will have been moved. (Six years ago it had to be moved for the redirection of the tram line.)
Cost? One hundred thousand dollars. (Yes, $100,000.) This is for one tree. They plan to take it out and put it in the parklands about a kilometre away.
The reason? This tree is "significant" - but only because it has reached a certain size.
Well, I am sorry but I would rather see a thousand trees planted in the parklands. The parklands could use a thousand trees. They would do far more good to the environment and for the natural habitat than one tree which may not even survive being moved.
Oh yes, the planners are going to put more trees into other places in the square - the wrong sort of trees according to more than one arboriculturist. Oh yes, they are putting in native gums. Native gums should never be put in an urban environment. They are, quite simply, dangerous. They shed bark and other detritus all year round. They lose limbs.
At some point in the future there will be the expense of moving the gums too.
The planners can see the trees but they cannot see the forest.