Letters / We’ve got the trees, now they need the time

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An aerial photo of treeless Arthur Circle in Forrest in 1940. Photo: National Library of Australia

COLIN Lyons and Murray May (CN, letters, October 3 and 10) complain about the new suburbs of Coombs and Wright, particularly the lack of trees.

Have either of them given any thought as to why these suburbs are virtually devoid of trees and what is actually going on in these suburbs?

The land that now makes up these suburbs was used for pine plantations and farmland for many years, then the disastrous 2003 Canberra bushfires resulted in the loss of virtually all the trees. 

The planners faced the difficult task of rehabilitating this wonderfully located land, adjacent to the Molonglo River and Mt Stromlo and quite close to the city.

Thousands of trees have now been planted along the streets and throughout the parks of these suburbs and now what is needed is time. Eventually these suburbs will take their place with the many other leafy suburbs in Canberra.

Look back at early aerial photos of Canberra and you will see that what are now the most lauded leafy suburbs were once as treeless as Coombs and Wright are now. 

Pictured is an aerial photo of Arthur Circle in Forrest from 1940. The same long-term thinking is also being used by the Parks Service in the work to rehabilitate the Molonglo River valley.

Both Lyons and May also say there is negligible open space. This statement displays such ignorance that you have to wonder whether either of them bothered to look at either suburb before making this claim, or did they just drive along John Gorton Drive? There are more than 20 parks and three lakes in Coombs and Wright, in addition to the Molonglo River Reserve and Stromlo Forest Park.

I would like to think that both these suburbs reflect the sort of long-term thinking that would make Wright and Coombs (the people) proud to be associated with these suburbs.

 John Hutchison, Coombs

Praise for ‘micro forest’ plan

THE Downer “micro-forest” planned for the area bounded by Cole Street and Cadell Street is an excellent idea (“Micro-forest plan to cool compacted Downer park”, CN, October 10).  

This small park has two small hills and in the 1980s it was (perhaps still is) referred to as “Tit-Hill” park. A delightful local recognition.  

In that earlier era they were covered with shrubbery and used as a meeting place by local youth, but there were complaints to the police about their activities. So, alas, the shrubbery was removed.

Edwina Robinson’s “micro-forest” will enhance the park, without the opportunity for those former nefarious activities. But perhaps a small indication of its picturesque nomenclature may be included.

Jack Palmer, via email  


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  1. I wholeheartedly support John Hutchison’s letter about the Molonglo Valley. Every community has to start somewhere and trees don’t grow overnight. The same goes for his commentary about people saying there is a lack of ‘open space’ – what nonsense. There are parks and open spaces all over Molonglo, not to mention the close proximity to the river and Mount Stromlo. As a resident of Coombs since 2015 I’m sick of people attacking our area because of these imagined issues, when in reality it is a beautiful and well-planned area of town that is right at the beginning of what will be a very bright future. Well done, John, on weighing in with some positive commentary – more of it, I say.

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