Wednesday, August 12, 2020

On the Verge

The maintenance of lawn verges is a significant cost to Inner West Council

As a long time campaigner for local provenance habitat on Verges, I used to point out the good work done by Marrickville to Leichhardt Council Officers. In particular, the use of Dianellas and Blueberry Ash Trees. I am pleased to say major developments are now planting Dianellas, Lomandras and native plants in verges in lieu of lawn.

If you get sometime take a walk to: 

  • Harold Park and check out their use of Native Trees and Groundcover Vegetation and their WSUD (trees in the middle of the street). 
  • Wisdom Street Annandale around the native nursery - where native plants have been used in the verge and nearby Arguimbau Street with its terraced verge.
  • Taylor Street Annandale
  • Flour Mill Way in Summer Hill. Taylor Street, Annandale was also a pilot of Water Sensitive Design.

A service review came to council in June 2019 with costings. I did attempt to turn things on their head with a foreshadowed motion:

Streetscape Operations Service Review (Inner West Council Meeting at Leichhardt) 25 June 2019

Foreshadowed Motion: (Da Cruz/Kiat)

1.   Adopt a service standard for street sweeping of seven days per week for mainstreets; 

2.   Retain the existing service standard for street sweeping of a 40 working day cycle for residential streets;

3.   Council maintains the mowing policy of the former Ashfield Council in relation to Verges in the former Ashfield LGA and; 

a)    Notes the cost of extending the verge mowing service to the old Ashfield LGA would cost $1.2 million (or $720,000 if privatised);

b)    Notes that there has been no community consultation on whether residents in Ashfield wish their rates to be spent in this way; and

c)    Consults with the community in the old Ashfield LGA on measures to improve street amenity, including options such as verge mowing, garden planting, preventing and addressing illegal dumping, and footpath repairs or upgrades, with a view to spending some or all of the $1.2 million saved per year by not extending the verge mowing service. 

4.   Adopt a service standard for verge maintenance of a 20 working day cycle from November to March and a 40 day working cycle from April to October.

5.   Council consults with the community on a Verge Maintenance Policy to transition away from council maintained lawn verges to: 

      i)council maintained habitat verges  providing where required paths connecting the footpath and kerbs or

      ii)resident maintained verges including grass lawn and providing where required         paths connecting the footpath and kerbs.

  The Foreshadowed Motion lapsed.


Current Polices pertaining to the Verges

But alas, lawn mowing was extended to Ashfield

However, not everyone wants council to mow their verge. Some are proud of their immaculate weed free lawn, which they manicure regularly - others have planted verge gardens. So, we have a No Mow program...


More information about street maintenance Sustainable Green Streets:

Verge Garden Policy - noting council has obligation for public liability of people tripping, cutting themselves etc and neighbours do complain also an issue of whether it is safe to eat food grown on verge (risks are soil contamination, pollution from motor vehicles and passing dogs are things to consider)


Information about Bushcare/Native Plants in Bushland, parks and verges

Street Trees

Campaign for Local Provenance Vegetation on the Verge

From 2007 until the council amalgamation in May 2016, I had a personal science project looking at which natives would thrive in traffic islands (kerb blisters) - but some people prefer star jasmine and perhaps in response to complaints from the community or of their own volition, under the administrator council replace the native plants in my local kerb blister with star jasmine. There is also a policy that kerb blisters are maintained by council, which I can understand due to safety concerns.

Water Sensitive Urban Design 

Urban Water Cycle

Urban Sensitive Water Design to reduce Flooding and Storm Water Runnoff

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