Slashing red tape, not weeds

A NEW “common sense” measure to reduce red tape in Bayswater allows green thumbs plant verge gardens without needing approval.

Councillor Chris Cornish first floated the idea a year ago, hoping to encourage people to grow their own “edible verges” to cultivate herbs, veggies and small fruit trees. Previously homeowners needed approval to plant on the verge and the hassle was a big discouragement.

Now as long as they’re not planting poisonous plants or thick, thorny hedges that block sight lines, they’re free to go ahead and get gardening.

• Chris and Della Cornish tending their verge garden. Photo by Trilokesh Chanmugam

• Chris and Della Cornish tending their verge garden. Photo by Trilokesh Chanmugam

Awesome

Mr Cornish says; “after my first blog post in March last year when I put it out… I’ve had oodles of people saying ‘awesome, it’s a great idea’ and people saying ‘I tried to do this but got shut down’.

“I’m a believer in a small government which minimises interference in people’s lives and I think this fits that to a tee.

“The concept of allowing people to make productive use of public land is a no-brainer.”

Mr Cornish has his own edible verge and wife Della says it’s been good to teach the kids about growing their own food, and they’re “often caught up in conversation with people who need a few herbs to cook dinner with”.

The only rules are that if there’s no footpath you’ve got to leave room for pedestrians and within 1.5m of a crossover the plants have to be below 75cm. Also no poison plants or super spikey ones with inch-plus-long thorns, and manmade raised bed structures will still need approval.

To encourage people to plant native, waterwise and edible plants the council’s providing funds to Environment House for a “plants to residents program,” similar to how Vincent gives away cheapy natives to its residents twice a year.

by DAVID BELL

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