All hands on Wray!

The Wray Avenue verges were beginning to look a bit untidy with weed growth on the verges after Spring and the late rains and a little bit of litter so Dianne and Molly organised another clean up day.

It was a beautiful morning for it, with the sun shining and people happily greeting us as they walked into town. It was also great to see local, community-minded business owners helping out too – John Douglas from Brown Cow Design and Therese Pitman from Gourmet on Wray. Both of these guys are ever-present at these events and really supportive.

Molly, Diane and June have been doing regular litter pickups recently and it really shows – there was far less mess than usual. But we also felt that this vigilance had led to litter dumping, as the avenue looks tidier and people are more likely to respect it.

For me, I’m really excited that we’re taking ownership of this sliver of public space we have, caring for it and actively connecting with each other through it.

Massive respect to Dianne and Molly for their efforts on this!

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Crazy times this Friday!

There are two events on or near Wray Avenue on Friday – but don’t let the rain keep you away!

The first is Ecoburbia‘s film at Replants, which is a second attempt to show the documentary The Queen of Versailles. For those that weren’t there last month, Shani discovered the disk was cracked just before the screening and had to substitute the (very good) Clean Bin Project at late notice. She has tracked down another copy and will be showing it this week.

There is a pot luck dinner at 6pm and the film starts at 7pm. There is a fee – usually $10 to cover the venue hire and such things.

Also on Friday is Boom Box Bike’s latest Polyester Prom themed bike mashup party which is starting very near to Wray (head to the music).

With live DJs using a portable, bike-transported decks and stereo system, the idea is to move en masse by cycle (or foot or skates) from one secret location to another throughout the evening in a huge progressive dance party. Cars are outlawed of course and all locations are in public space.

When I go, I usually hang back and do a quick site clean up – which is normally not very much as personal responsibility for litter and respect for the public space is very much promoted by Boom Box Bike.

I’ll be doing this on Friday as it’s basically in my backyard and I don’t want the organisers to face any local opposition should they want to start it here again as I think its an incredible event.

Boom Box Bike ask for $10 to cover their equipment and time. They’ll pass a bucket around during the evening. Pay it – it’s well worth it!

Once you ecoPOP, you just can’t stop!

The City of Fremantle has invested in two ecoPOPs!

This was a concept that I wrote about here and here, with hopes that Wray Avenue could have one incorporated as part of the Manning Street realignment. After several discussions with people, I felt there was opposition to the idea there because of the impact on sight lines and dropped the idea.

Since then, I have spoken to people about the idea of replacing one of the median strips at the intersection of Attfield Street and Wray Avenue.

This is an excellent location as it is a wider section of street, so it will impact less on sight-lines. There is very little shade around this point of Wray, so it will add that amenity and its associated cooling effect. The east/west alignment will maximise this effect. Finally, there is also no feature in this environment to slow down traffic (as the custom brought by Galati’s does further to the west) and the ecoPOP, with its strange appearance, is likely to do this.

Despite City Councillor hopeful Roel Loopers “poop-pooping” the idea on his blog, I do think these can provide excellent benefits to our community. Unlike trees planted directly into the ground, the ecoPOP infrastructure should support its own water and fertilisation, as it functions more like a closed-loop system. It is also meant to be a temporary structure that can be replaced with a permanent one later once a community embraces the concept, the ecoPOP then moved to a new area to inspire.

It’s great to see them in Kings Square – where we’d all like to see more people – and I hope passers-by stop to have a look and imagine where they could be in their community. While it doesn’t seem to be connected to gutters for the rainwater tanks and it doesn’t demonstrate the shading benefits (and it doesn’t have worms in the worm farm yet)  it is still a visible concept for the public to consider. Some interpretive signage for people would be a good feature to add too.

Hopefully you can swing by King’s Square or Pakenham Street near CUSP to have a look at the latest models.

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More and more a true avenue

It’s less than a fortnight now until we start planting out more native trees on our verges.

Thanks to the amazing work of Diane and Mollie, a few of us are going to dress up our verges with the support of the City of Fremantle, in particular Michael Leer.

Diane and Mollie also coordinated the clean up a month back where we weeded and pruned and picked up litter to ready ourselves for this event and make the avenue more presentable in general.

The plant out follows on from last year’s balga tree planting, not to mention the incredible work done many years ago by other residents. I’ve seen photos from 20 years ago and the avenue is a barren, bitumenised wasteland. I can’t imagine what it would be like in our hot summers.

The present day Wray looks like a true, tree-lined avenue thanks to the hard work a decade or so ago. With more natives, hopefully we can encourage more birdlife to flock into the area and shade it out some for the hot summers.

In other happenings, the realignment of Manning and Wray has finally gone ahead. It has created a great space by Galati’s that is ripe for some creative imagination.

At a recent Living Smart course that Emma and I facilitated, a session run by the inspirational Katie Stubley (nee Dobb) shared the wonderful story of Italian verges and median strips being kitted out with bocci playing fields. The result was a culture of recreation on the street: a tradition rather than a work of place-making enthusiasts.

For what it’s worth, that’s my suggestion for that space anyway – one that I don’t imagine will clash with sight lines and provides the opportunity for interaction, fun and play on the street.

It connects with the recent heritage of the area and I’m sure we could even string some potted herbs around the outside at the same time!

I’d love to see us inviting teams from the Italian Club to play, or having some friendly inter-street competitions.

Anyway, that’s just one idea. Let me know what you think!

Wray Ave verge ‘makeovers’

The wonderful Dianne and Mollie are busy making preparations for a planting and mulch spreading day 9am, Sunday May 26. Can’t wait!

If you live on the Ave and you haven’t seen their yellow letter or registered your interest yet, call Dianne on 0407 199 018.

Did you know that City of Fremantle’s annual native plant subsidy offer through APACE is now on? Call 9432 9999 for details and grab some beauties before they run out! They do free mulch sometimes too: http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/sustainability/Verge_beautification

Here are the photos from our verge clean up day in preparation for May 26:

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Street busy bee this Saturday (preparing for planting!)

Dianne and Mollie have been preparing for a little gathering for sprucing up the Ave this Saturday April 6, 7-10am.
If you’d like to help tidy up, have a chat about a group verge planting in May and a cuppa after – do come join us at any time! Looks like Dianne and Mollie have lined up great support for plants and mulch in May. Nice one ladies. See their full invite for Saturday below.

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Tidy Up Wray Avenue Day
Saturday April 6th 2013

Dear Wray Avenue Resident,

Tidy Up Wray Avenue Day is part of an initiative, organized by local residents and supported by Fremantle City Council, to make the Avenue even more beautiful than it currently is. Over the last six months or so, a small group of residents has been involved in improving the verges in the Avenue. More than 20 grass trees were planted last August, all of which have survived the hot summer and are thriving. Occasional Rubbish Runs have been organized to pick up litter dropped by passers-by. There has been planting, mulching, pruning and clipping at various sites and our verges are looking the better for it.
Now we are hoping to extend the Verge Improvement Initiative along the whole length of Wray Avenue, from the Business Hub at the intersection with South Terrace to the Top End at South Street, and we’d like your help.

On Saturday April 6th, from 7am, we’d like you to join us for a morning of fresh air and gentle exercise as we tidy the verges in Wray Avenue in preparation for planting and mulching in May. Maybe you’d like to use this as an opportunity to do a job that you’ve been putting off for ages, and get stuck in to tidying up your own verge, and
perhaps get some help to do it. Or maybe you’d like to meet some of your neighbours and help them tidy up their section of the Avenue. Perhaps you’d be happy to wander up and down the Avenue picking up litter or pulling out a few unsightly weeds. Even if you can’t be there on the day, you can help by putting out your green wheelie bin so that we can dispose of the debris (we promise not to fill your bin up, and we’ll put it back onto your property when we’ve finished). Of course, if you want us to leave your verge alone, we will. Just let us know by Friday morning – you can ring Mollie on 9335 7946 or email Dianne (see below).

We’re meeting at the corner of Wray Avenue and Attfield Street at 7am., or come and find us later if you prefer a more leisurely start. The weather forecast is just right – not too hot and not too cool. Bring along a hat, gloves, sunscreen, water and any tools or implements that might come in handy – secateurs, shears, trowels, spades,
forks, rakes, brooms, bags and buckets, a wheel barrow if you have one and most importantly – a willingness to have a good time. We’ll finish with a coffee and a chat at the end of the session – we hope to be finishing up around 10am.

We’d also love to hear from anyone who wants to be part of the proposed Planting Day in May. The Wray Avenue Verge Volunteers and Fremantle City Council will to provide help to anyone who wants to plant and mulch the verge outside their property. Interested parties please note that you must be prepared to water your verge, especially in the period immediately after planting and in hot weather. The Verge Volunteers can help with ongoing maintenance. To help with organization, it would be really helpful if you can let us you are coming – contact Dianne on 0407 199 018 or emaildianbl@westnet.com.au. If you have any other queries or questions, feel free to get in touch.

Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you on Saturday morning!

Regards,
The Wray Avenue Verge Volunteers.

Wray Avenue March of the Lanterns Festival 2013

It’s getting close to that time of year again that we’re organising the March of the Lanterns community festival for Wray Avenue.

We want to coincide it with Earth Hour again, which is on Saturday 23 March this year – so save the date!

Bruce Abbott has kindly allowed us to use Replants to have a little get together this Wednesday 30 January from 7pm to see if anyone has any new ideas and to look at ways of sharing the coordination. We always love to see new faces, so don’t be shy.

Also, bring a plate as it’s always great to share food!

I also realised that I never posted anything after the event last year to say how great it was and to show the photos. I think Emma and I were exhausted, plus involved in work at the Fairbridge Festival immediately after then running a Living Smart course.

So, in belated summary, it was a great success. It rapidly evolved from our original idea in a very short space of time and the organic nature of the final event really floored me. I reckon we had around 200 people at the event throughout the day. I was astonished to see how many children lived nearby!

In particular our lantern designs developed and a huge (belated) thanks goes to Bec Massey for her instruction in making lanterns – if you need a professional to instruct groups of people I highly recommend hiring her services. As a result all sorts of crazy shaped lanterns were made.

A very sad part of the night was finding out that Vincenzina Galati had been taken to hospital with a heart problem, so we made a lantern for her and covered it with well-wishing messages (you can see it in the pictures below). The Galati family were very generous donating some food to the festivities. We were very relieved to learn that Vincenzina recovered.

We had three wonderful musical acts (Stuart Orchard; Dave Robertson, Rachel Armstrong and “Merle”; and The Dream Tree Collective) playing on the corner of Wray and Brennan.

During Earth Hour we asked all residents to turn off all electrical devices besides their fridges and demonstrated how we can have community and really enjoyable leisure without relying on electricity.

To finish, we were led on a beautiful march by the Dream Tree Collective up Breanna Street, through the primary school,  back along Attfield and then down the middle of Wray.

All this happened without shutting down the avenue. Everything was kept just the way it always is, with the community making use of our space, just the way it should always be!

This year I’d love to replicate it with a clearer sustainability focus, even more local music, a range of food and even more lantern making and decoration.

Oh, and here’s the best pictures of the 2012 event.

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