What we know
We know that none of our trees need be sacrificed for this Light Rail project. It is only the will to build around them that is lacking, nothing else. Over 150 people came out on a Sunday morning to Randwick Tree Walk for Tree Day on July 26th, proving that the residents of Randwick value these irreplaceable trees, and all that they give us (and the planet!), extremely highly. So if this State government and project team want to show that they are at least giving some consideration to community & our local environment, we know that they wouldn't hesitate to implement the following five design changes at the very least.
Move the Wansey Rd stop back to Wansey Rd. This would spare five trees that were actually initially going to be spared. See the initial plan. The orange indicates trees approved for removal...
...destructive already. Then, the modifications made after the first round of submissions in January 2014 resulted in five additional trees to be removed along Alison Rd, marked out in light blue below.
Why? Because the Wansey Rd stop was moved to Alison Rd. Why was that? Well it definitely wasn't to save trees, since according to the map this modification makes no difference to the trees to be removed on Wansey Rd. They're still marked out in orange. Apparently it was to further accommodate existing Randwick Racecourse operations. 'Cos damned if they'd have to change one bit.
Avoid removing any of our Alison Road trees while they're at it. You might have noticed another new colour on the modified tree removal map - dark blue. This marks out a small section of the Alison Rd trees that were going to be permanently removed, but aren't anymore. How so? Apparently the alignment was "amended slightly" for that small portion of the route, 'saving' up to 20 trees (out of 50 bordering the racecourse). So why can't they "slightly amend" all of Alison Rd? They can, and they should.
Threatened fig & plane trees of 'exceptional significance' border Randwick Racecourse, Alison Rd
Scrap the "median strip" style walking & cycle path idea for Wansey Rd, and (again) go back to the initial plan. Threatened trees of 'exceptional significance' on Wansey Rd
Apparently after considering Randwick City Council's concerns (not sure which), changes were made to Wansey Rd. Wansey Rd's existing shared pedestrian/cycle path is one of the most leafy & peaceful in Randwick. Below is the Light Rail's revised shared pedestrian/cycle path. Traffic on either side, and the iconic Moreton Bay figs and Palm Trees lost & forgotten.
But below are the initial plans for Wansey Rd before they were changed.
While they have shown 'existing trees removed', they wrote: "This walkway would be designed to minimise impacts to existing trees within the Royal Randwick racecourse site." Not great either way. But somehow they managed to make it worse.
Leave Centennial Park alone. 'Cos this is just ridiculous.
Green marks 'additional planted trees required to be removed as a result of the proposed design modification'. Light blue marks 'planted trees identified in modifications report no longer required to be removed' (after requests from Centennial Park).
Leave High Cross Park alone too. Threatened 125 yr old Cook Pines in High Cross Park
Apparently four working groups are (still) considering Randwick City Council's alternative High St interchange location proposal, to save High Cross Park. We can't quite understand why however, since this very idea was already 'considered' in the project's initial EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) below.
Not only do Options 2 & 3 avoid impacts to High Cross Park, apparently they also fare better cost-wise.
So there you have it - five changes this Light Rail project can make (at the very least), without much effort at all since the groundwork has already been done. They have (at least) five opportunities to show that they have listened. * Next steps for you - Speak for the Trees.