From Hilltops Council – Marg Roles

Margaret Roles
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I planted here, to-day, a strong young tree.
Rich soil it has, and sun, and space to grow;
And who, I wonder, in the years to be
Will seek its boughs’ soft shade;
Thus wrote the Australian poet CJ Dennis.

Shade has always played an important role in the liveability factor of our environment. In Australia, UVR remains high throughout most of the year, so quality, functional shade is an important lifestyle consideration.

With temperatures predicted to rise, the demand for local government, as an owner, planner and manager of open space, to provide shade, will grow. COVID-19 has also focused attention on the public spaces as areas of respite and recreation. We don’t often consider the key role shade plays in connecting places and people.

Shade provision thus becomes an important part of the design and creation of healthy communities and an important feature of the urban landscape. There is a need for careful, long-term planning and a commitment to install and maintain quality shade.

We know that shade from trees can be one of the most effective, aesthetically pleasing and environmentally beneficial ways of providing shade.

As one well respected landscaper in our community discussed with me – we need to plan for shade into the future so that our region can continue to be a comfortable, liveable area for the next generations. Some of us might not be around to see the results of such planning, but as CJ Dennis mused, I planted here, to-day, a strong young hope and if in the future a soul thanks the one who set the tree, content… shall I be.

Built shade systems of course are also important, either during establishment of natural shade or when green shade is not an option. Verandahs have always been treasured as part of the Australian shade scape but increasingly art is being included into the shade equation; adding a creative depth to climate management solutions.

With determination, creativity and commitment, we can, as individuals and as a community, make our Hilltops a region, where we can in a shaded, sun safe environment, continue to enjoy our streetscapes and shared recreational spaces.

– Marg Roles

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