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Conserving the Living Heritage

Centennial Parklands is a cultural landscape, highly modified over its long history, and has an interrelationship with its broader setting in the highly urbanised environment of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, whilst retaining significant intrinsic natural and cultural heritage values.

These values are recognised in the Conservation and Vegetation Management Plans. These plans provide comprehensive strategies that address site and catchment issues in relation to conserving the living heritage of the Parklands.

For many Parklands users and visitors these values may not yet be apparent or are experienced almost subconsciously. The Trust aims to balance visitor aspirations with a number of these other diverse values.

Those values are not necessarily aligned at all times, and complex decisions are often required as to which values may need to take priority in certain situations or locations within the Parklands.

This challenge is particularly relevant to the issue of tree species selection and management of tree life cycles, where the values of the current community need to be balanced with those of future generations. This is sometimes called ‘inter-generational equity’ and is based on the idea of stewardship – that is that we are looking after these important places now so they will be available for the enjoyment of future generations in the same or better condition.

Likewise, continued focus on the quality of maintenance in the Parklands remains as important as the progressive implementation of park improvements.

Amongst the challenges that the Trust addresses in conserving the living heritage of the Parklands are:

  • managing catchment wide impacts, outside the parklands boundaries, over which the Trust currently has limited influence.
  • improving connections between fragmented natural habitats within a cultural landscape setting to enhance wildlife values.
  • managing community concerns over systematic tree removal and replacement during their life cycles, whilst responding to safety issues and providing for long term legacies.
  • broadening understanding of the Parklands natural and cultural heritage and the inter-related nature of natural and cultural values.
  • responding to changes and intensity of development on the boundaries of the Parklands which have a range of impacts on the visual catchment of the Parklands.
  • mitigating physical and visual impacts of vehicles on the heritage and environmental values of the Parklands.
  • monitoring and planning for ecological implications of environmental change and restrictions on water availability and use.
  • maintaining a high standard of maintenance across the Parklands, including for the ponds.
  • achieving a balance between ornamental plantings that maintain the heritage values of the Parklands, and the selection of locally endemic native plants for their environmental values as outlined in the CMP and Tree Master Plan.