June 17, 2015

Save the Møllegade trees, sign the petition

We just launched our first petition!

Communications with the project managers behind the Møllegade square and the 14 endangered trees, has come to a full stop. At this spot the city plans to cut down 14 out of 17 big and viable trees, to “open up” and make a tile square entrance to the City of the Elderly. Part of this vision includes a bike lane. The children’s playground will be moved to the other side, incorporating a row of community gardens.

From the beginning:
From the very beginning, we have fought to be heard. Our concern was that trees would not be included in the process from the beginning, and that is exactly what turned out to be the case. At the time, we were told that the meetings were for a select group of locals, including the local environmental office (Miljøpunkt Nørrebro) and the local council (Lokaludvalg Nørrebro), who assured us they would fight for the trees.

Along the way.
From the sideline we have watched the proposals turn darker, and less green. The selected group of locals had to swallow this plan, as the tree health report they had requested, revealed that the trees were in “awfully poor shape”, and a risk to citizens. In December it is clear that we are looking at complete deforestation. We ask the project manager for an update, and are told that the trees are sick and that they don’t want any interruptions. We reach out to the Danish Society for Nature Conservation, who inspects the trees and gives them a clean bill of health.

After this, the dialogue gets tense. The project manager is infuriated by the extern evaluation that so clearly contradicts her claim, and we are instructed to not share our findings on social media. The conversation ends with her yelling and hanging up the phone. We write to our mayor of trees Morten Kabell, to inform him that the process is moving forward based on incorrect information.

The project manager invites us to a meeting, under the misleading subject line: “possible preservation of trees.” At this meeting we are informed that the budget for the project has been unrealistic from the get-go, preserving trees was never an option, and that the plan to fell 14 trees is final.

Following this meeting we get our answer to our letter to the mayor of trees, answered by the project managers. They state that the process have been good, that citizen’s have been heard and conveniently ignore the core of the problem: the untrue statements regarding the health of the trees. Attached is a note to the mayor, stating that not 3, but 6 trees will be spared. That is one story for the citizens and another for the mayor of trees.

The end of the line.
We ask for clarification (Are the citizens worn out yet? Confused? Exhausted? Hang in there!). And finally we get the answer: the plan can only be implemented if 14 trees are felled. Leaving only 3. But those who asked for an open and light square will receive planting boxes with onion flowers, and there are plans to re-plant four tulip trees on the square.

Three big ash trees could be spared, by moving the shed (!) away from the wall.

Enough is enough!
Nørrebro is the borough of Copenhagen with the least nature. With a Copenhagen average of 35 m2 green per citizen, the Nørrebro citizen have only 6 m2. This affects the quality of both air and life. A plan costing us 14 big and viable Nørrebro trees, is a bad plan. It needs to be re-considered or not implemented at all. 

(City of Copenhagen's own numbers from 2009. Amount of green m2, per citizen/borough)

The project has now been submitted for political approval. According to the project managers in late August, but they have previously said June. We can only assume that time is running out. We need to rally the troops now, to prevent this plan from going forward.

Our first petition is launched. We need to act now, or we lose our trees. Sign to save the Møllegade trees, and spread the word.

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