20 September, 2007

The saga of the Bunya Pine ends

When we submitted our Development Application for the PGV there were some early obstacles identified. One of them was a large 15+ metre high Bunya Pine. This tree had stood on the site for 50+ years, but was right in the middle of where we wanted to build the North West wing of the building. Council initially said it would need to stay, but this would have been the end of the project as between 35 and 50 rooms would have been lost from the development making it unviable. As it turned out many people were keen to see the end of the Bunya Pine because it has the unfortunate habit of dropping 10kg pine cones every year. Two independent arborists supported us and recommended its removal. While the Bunya is a native of the Queensland rainforest it has a problematic past in urban areas in Australia (and even New Zealand as the report on a problematic tree in the early 1900s suggests) due to the risk of injury to people and property. In fact both the University and the University Army Regiment were keen to see the Bunya removed due to safety issues.

Eventually, when the DA was approved the Randwick Council agreed to its removal conditional on its replacement with another mature tree (no, not a Bunya!). As it is, the PGV will add a number of significant new trees to the campus which will more than compensate for the loss of the Bunya. As well, we will be preserving the row of Box trees on Day Avenue that provide an attractive streetscape to the south. While it was sad to see the big tree fall, it was a justified act based on development and safety issues. And fall it did! I was present to see the tree go down and expected a slow lopping process. But no, as the photos show our demolishers used a large bulldozer that took just a few seconds to push it over, snapping the trunk close to the ground.

17 September, 2007



The PGV site as seen using Google Earth

Here is a view of the NCV site that few would have seen. Note the position of the NCV site relative to New College. The NCV site is on the corner of Day Avenue and Anzac Parade. It is in the top left-hand side of the picture. The University Mall is visible as is the Round House. The site is shown here with a number of buildings (none will be standing by this afternoon).

12 September, 2007

Demolition nearing completion

Demolition of the existing buildings on site commenced just two weeks ago but most buildings have now gone. Three box trees that were approved for removal by the Council have also gone. Here are some more pictures to give an indication of progress. Demolition should be completed in a week (or less at this rate) and after that bulk excavation will commence.

11 September, 2007

Will the NCV be linked to New College?

The New College Village is just 200 metres from New College. It will be managed by New College but will also have its own reception and Office. Administrative staff will be shared across the two buildings, but each will have its own academic and pastoral care staff. Our aim will be to develop a separate, but equally rich community as that in the 'old' New College. There may some interaction between residents, but essentially, the PGV will develop its own community rich in social activities, supportive and stimulating. Our expectation is that there will probably be more overseas residents than at New College. While we would like the PGV to have a population similar in character to the UNSW student population, it is inevitable that we will attract slightly more overseas students in the early years.

10 September, 2007

The Postgraduate Village is Underway

The New College Postgraduate Village is finally under way. Randwick Council approved the Development Application on the 14th August, contracts were signed on the 25th August and demolition of existing buildings commenced on site on the 28th August. Progress has been good with demolition of all existing buildings expected by the 18th September.

The site is on the corner of Anzac Parade and Day Avenues, just opposite the University Mall traffic lights. This prime site has been leased to New College for 49 years at a peppercorn rental. The University is excited about the development as reported recently in News@UNSW.