Verge coverage limits to stay

Chloe FraserSound Telegraph
Generic images taken around Rockingham. Pictured - City of Rockingham administration building Photo by Daniel Wilkins
Camera IconGeneric images taken around Rockingham. Pictured - City of Rockingham administration building Photo by Daniel Wilkins Credit: The Sunday Times

A controversial verge policy limiting the type and amount of material City of Rockingham home owners can use when landscaping their verges will remain, despite calls from one councillor for a more “common sense” policy.

The City of Rockingham’s Verge Development Policy was approved by council last August identifying a list of acceptable materials including synthetic turf that residents could chose to install on their verge, but that only 50 per cent of the verge or 10sqm could be covered in those materials.

The other 50 per cent must be lawn, garden or organic mulch.

Future home owners/occupiers wishing to use other acceptable materials are also required to submit plans for their verge to the City for approval.

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At this month’s council meeting Cr Lorna Buchan, pictured — who pledged to amend the policy as part of her October election campaign — proposed a notice of motion seeking to allow 100 per cent coverage of verges and that the need to seek approval in writing to use acceptable materials be abolished.

Cr Lorna Buchan.
Camera IconCr Lorna Buchan.

Cr Buchan said 50 per cent coverage was not meeting resident’s needs or wants and argued approval in writing to cover verges with acceptable items was “unnecessary and a waste of City officers time and resources”.

“If we are asking resident to look after the verge we must give choice to each resident,” she said.

“A simple choice of materials in 100 per cent coverage will make the policy easier to understand and comply with.

“I brought this motion forward because I wanted to help residents to have a safe, attractive looking verge that works for them.”

She also highlighted the run-off and infiltration from natural lawn and the water saving benefits of other materials.

Cr Mark Jones spoke in support of the motion and said the percentage was difficult to achieve.

“If you install 50 per cent artificial turf, what do you do with the other 50 per cent? I think we need to provide a better policy to people who want to put pride and effort into looking after their verge.”

But, Crs Leigh Liley and Hayley Edwards voted against the motion, saying the policy was “adequate as is” and that the environmental impacts of increasing artificial verge items including synthetic lawn were “far too big to gloss over.” The motion was lost 4-5 with Crs Liley, Edwards, Sally Davies, Deb Hamblin and Barry Sammels voting against.

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