Greener Streets

NSW Minister for Housing David Borger has been a strong supporter of the Community Greening partnership between Housing NSW and the Botanic Gardens Trust. Today he launched the Green Street Program in Chestnut Crescent, Bidwill.

This first street planting, of Chinese Elms, was either side of the Bidwill Community Garden in Chestnut Cresent. Bidwill Community Garden is one of more than 150 Community Greening gardens around New South Wales. Although each garden is started and under the full control of the local community, the Botanic Gardens Trust (primarily through the inspiring leadership of Stephen Paul, who sadly for us retires in three months) provides advice and support along the way.

Green Street is another collaboration between Housing and the Trust, and we hope it will be part of a larger program to bring Community Greening to more of rural New South Wales as well.

For now though, it will bring thousands of street trees to public housing areas, mostly in nature strips but also to community gardens and neighbourhood parks. Minister Borger made the important point this morning that a cool, street-lined street enourages us to walk to school or to the shops, rather than drive.

So not only do trees reduce carbon dioxide in the air, absorb toxic air chemicals, improve the look of a street and encourage wildlife, they may bring us back out in the streets (without our metal case).

As part of the program Housing NSW tenants will be offered plants for their front gardens and new common garden areas will be established for townhouse and unit complexes. Residents will be asked to select what trees they would like but the final choice will take into account the streetscape and the growing conditions.

To start with plantings will focus on main streets but in time it will extend into other areas. If you want street or garden trees for your own area you could always contact the Local Council - many have native plant nurseries and will often provide a free tree or two. I know Blacktown Council provides two free trees each year to its residents.

Images: Top image is Minister Borger and the Mayor of Blacktown, Councillor Charlie Lowles, planting (as best one can plant such a large specimen) in Chestnut Crescent. The two pictures below are from the Biwill Community Garden.