Verges reborn

VINCENT councillors have voted unanimously to allow swings, rope ladders, tree houses and decorations on verge trees.

The city put the proposal out for public consultation, but only 20 people responded, with 80 per cent saying they supported the initiative.

However “there were some concerns raised around risk and potential for insurance premiums to rise, as well as damage to verge trees,” noted council staff.

Councillors also gave the green light for residents to have raised garden beds, pathways, benches, decorations and lighting on their verges.

Ms Cole says the change follows an “embarrassing” incident last year when a family had to take a tree swing and rope ladder down from their verge after a resident submitted a written complaint to council, highlighting they weren’t permitted.

• Vincent mayor Emma Cole ripping up the street verge rule book with neighbourhood kids Isabelle, Mason, Evan and Tamsin. Photo
courtesy city of Vincent

Tree houses

Resident Liza Mazzella says she has a “little free library” on her verge and loads of native plants, installed as part of the city’s Adopt a Verge program, which encourages locals to ditch “water guzzling lawn” for natives.

“The council takes people’s names down and then twice a year they’ll get the bobcat driver onto their verges and remove old weeds and bring in mulch and give you 20 free native plants,” she says.

Her verge was a runner-up in last year’s council garden competition.

Ms Cole says the new policy allows residents to make use of verge space for practical uses like veggie gardens.

“When it comes down to risk we’ve got to explore where the risk is and what the problem is we are responding to,” she says.

“Our insurer told us we’ve had zero claimed accidents coming from tree swings or landscaping features on the verge.”

Under council guidelines, verge tree attachments must be on safe branches that don’t protrude into, or swing above, any road or path.

Platforms, structures and rope ladders won’t be allowed on trees under power lines.

by MOLLY SCHMIDT

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