Response by Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson to “Majestic Myrtles Down To Stumps” (Southern Courier, Oct 10 2017 page 5)
There is a species of Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia archeriana) that is native to Australia but the ones removed by Randwick City Council were actually of the
Indian eastern Asian species Lagerstroemia indica.
These Crepe Myrtles were not thriving as can be seen in the photo below from a 2016 Council report. The image shows that they formed two regimented rows in the village green outside the Randwick Community Centre.
They were thus there as an unsuccessful design element rather than as a contribution the natural environment of the adjacent Randwick Environment Park. This design value became redundant when the Council decided to change the entrance way to the Environment Centre.
“However, the Crepe Myrtles are not significant in anyway, and as they are seen to visually and physically block access to the Community Centre, the submitted plans & SEE seek their removal so as to accommodate the new entrance sign as well as hard and soft landscape works.” (DA D21/16 Compliance report – 21-29 Munda Street, Randwick, page 90)
I have been advised by Council staff that the Myrtles will be replaced “with more than 200 trees, shrubs, ground covers and grasses that are more suitable for the area” and which will “provide more habitats and an increased food supply for native birds, lizards, butterflies and insects”. I seem my job as a Greens Councillor to ensure that this ecologically valuable intent is indeed achieved.
I have a personal invested interest in the ecology of this area as I played a role in achieving the granting to us of the Randwick Environment Park from the Commonwealth when I was Randwick’s Green Mayor in 2010. I can assure readers that this concern for the Park is shared by the environmental staff of Randwick City Council.
The photo below (see red arrow) shows the removed Myrtles outside the community centre and the adjacent Randwick Environment Park containing its ephemeral wet lands.
It is clear that there is great potential to now use the removal of the Myrtles to augment the natural value of the Environment Park.