There’s trouble brewing for Clover Moore over a series of trees in Bourke Street, Surry Hills. As I wandered off to meet my friend Colin for brunch this morning, I noticed a small group of people standing underneath a tree on Bourke Street, opposite Cafe Nikki.
“She only likes photo opportunities when it’s good news”, one member of the group told me, indicating their attempts to meet with the Lord Mayor had been unsuccesful. “Maybe you could go to the local state member”, I thought to myself. And yes, I’m being ironic, as Clover Moore is also the local member of state parliament.
According to the bloke I spoke to, a planned Bourke Street cycle-way is likely to mean a number of car spaces and up to 12 or 13 trees might have to be sacrificed. According to the council response so far, it’s only in extreme cases they would have to go. I don’t know if he’s right or not, and maybe it’s just another one of those NIMBY community groups, but I know I do love those trees on Bourke Street and would hate to see them go.
When I first moved to Surry Hills in 1995, Bourke Street was still a very busy street. In those days, it was two-way traffic all the way to Kings Cross. And then when the Eastern Distributor was introduced, and traffic conditions were changed (to make us all use the distributor), Bourke Street became a one-way street.
In the years since, this particular part of Bourke Street has become a little oasis in many respects. With the opening of a number of nearby restaurants like Bistrode and Il Baretto – though we sadly lost the Bourke Street Pantry when Matt and Catherine went overseas – and with the trees, and the reduced traffic levels, it’s become a favourite part of the suburb for me.