Sunday, 21 November 2010

Scottish Hospital site - tough decisions

At the beginning of this post, I need to declare a personal interest. The Scottish Hospital site in Paddington houses a Presbyterian Aged-Care facility. My father resides in this facility.

There is local uproar over the proposed redevelopment of this site, primarily because of the loss of significant trees, but also because of increased traffic and loss of amenity. Much of the protest is aimed not so much at the rebuilding of the hostel part of the facility, as the inclusion of a large number of self-care units of significant economic benefit to the Presbyterian Church. I call it the Scottish Hospital site because that is what it is known as locally. The hospital no longer operates (!) as such.

There are two heritage declarations on the site: parts of the hospital buildings; and, the general gardens and trees.

A number of large figs will be removed, and the garden will be totally relandscaped. The proposal is currently before the Department of Planning, and there is another public meeting in ten days.

I am in favour of the redevelopment, but I would be, wouldn't I. However, I am also aware of the paucity of aged-care beds in the local area, and the dire need for more over the next twenty-five years.


bitingmidge said...

A vexed question to be sure, but trees can be grown again, and in world history terms our "old" buildings are really not.

Loss of amenity for some may be a small price to pay for the provision of services for them at a later time!

Sunshine Coast Daily Photo - Australia

Margaret said...

Trees that old are national treasures.

Stephanie V said...

Such hard decisions to make. Striking a balance is almost impossible. I hope that one is found.

jabblog said...

Ancient trees take hundreds of years to grow so I hope a compromise can be found to accommodate all interests.

lewi14 said...

Trees with "personality" and history. If they could tell us ...

Ann said...

Its a tough one, the trees are beautiful and it would be a shame to lose them but we need so many more beds. It looks like a really good facility, much nicer aethetically than where my parents are (although their village is well run).

Joan Elizabeth said...

It's always sad to see trees go but sometimes they must. We need to be sure that creative thnking, rather than expediency hss been applied first.

brattcat said...

So poignant, your bookended images of the seated elder and the empty bench. You say so much, so eloquently, with these two images.

J Bar said...

Magnificent trees. They would be a sad loss.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Sara said...

How unfortunate for your father that the aged care facility will be moved to the western side of the site, where all the trees are going to be removed from Stephen St. He'll look straight out onto the ugly 1960s tower block, and have to put up with the noise of service trucks trying to navigate the narrow cul-de-sac.
It's a shame they're not going to keep the lovely big trees. The arbourist said at a community meeting it's so they can excavate that bit further to make a bigger carpark. A travesty.

Julie said...

Sara, At the community meeting I attended, the aborist did not indicate that. In fact, he said that the only big tree to be removed is the large fig undermining Brown Street right there on the edge which is dropping rotted limbs already. The trees along Stephen Street are the scrubby self-sown imports from South America with that vibrant orange flower.

I agree that the 60s tower block is ugly. Maybe we should look towards pulling that down and making that double block into a park.

My understanding is that the car park will be accessible from Brown Street and will actually be located in the centre of the block beneath the ponding area.

I am hopeful that the facility will be a blessing to this suburb and to its ageing population.

Sara said...

What the arbourist would have meant is that the only heritage-listed tree being removed is that fig on Brown St.
The trees along Stephen St are a mix of Camphor Laurel, Chinese Hackberry, two Coral Trees and a Queensland Brushbox. Because they are all over 10 metres tall, they are protected by Woollahra Council's Tree Protection Order.
Paradoxically, these same tree species are being kept in other areas of the site, so telling the community that the trees have to go because they are 'weed species' is disingenuous.
A slight modification to the plans to set back the building a few metres from Stephen St would allow the trees to be kept, and thus retain one of the few contiguous tree canopies in Paddington.
As for the car park you're right that it will be accessed from Brown St. But a new service access is being added to Stephen St which makes no sense given it's a tiny cul-de-sac.
And as for the ugly tower block - it's home to an ageing population of its own. There are five residents in their 70s and 80s who would never be able to afford the Independent Living Units being developed at the Scottish Hospital site. They deserve some dignity too.
The redevelopment of the Aged Care Facility is wonderful, but some slight changes to the plans to allow the trees to be retained would be even better.

Julie said...

Before we continue, may I ask your interest? I have noted mine: my father is a resident. Also, I live on the corner of Brown and Glenmore.

At the community meeting that I attended in November, the developers asserted that the plans had been modified and there was now a set-back fron Stephen. Is this not accurate?

I am not sure about the other trees, but I know that Camphour Laurel is a declared weed. Maybe they should all be eradicated from the entire site. I gather Chinese Hackberry is also a weed that chokes natives. As for the Coral Trees, are they Indian or Cockspur or other varieties? Those two are weeds and spreed by prunings on dumps very readily.

The conflict with the ageing residents in #40 is emotive. They are older than many of the residents in the PAC and would share the same worries.

I think the redevelpment is good for people with limited impact on either the environment or other residents. I suspect that deliveries to Thomas Dux are more frequent and 'heavier' that those to be processed through PAC.

Where will you go when you can no longer live alone?