Nature strip feedback wanted

The policy will come back to council for adoption after community consultation.

Zoe Moffatt

Hume council has released its draft Residential Nature Strip Policy in an effort to clarify maintenance responsibilities.

Councillors voted to adopt the policy for community consultation. The policy provides information to residents wishing to undertake personalised landscaping and guidance on how council will address non-compliant landscape works.

At the meeting on October 23, Cr Naim Kurt voiced his concerns that council would only undertake slashing works on residential nature strips where it is deemed to be a hazard.

“I have had some question marks when going through this process and my concerns go back to… that council essentially will not be engaging in intervention for amenity purposes only,” he said.

“I understand the issues that we have in terms of budget… and having interventions on nature strips but I know it’s been a big direction of ours as a council to clear up amenity [issues].

“I do have some concerns potentially that this may lead to more amenity issues in the community on our nature strips as well, but happy to see this go out for consultation.”

In the meeting agenda, council said it will undertake remedial works on nature strips where it has been identified that there is a significant hazard for the community, such as a tripping hazard.

Under the policy, if a resident wishes to undertake work on the nature strip, they must apply for a permit.

If council becomes aware of non-compliant and/or unsafe landscape works, it will invite the resident to bring the works into compliance and if unsuccessful it will undertake enforcement action.

If council cannot identify the responsible person or they fail to bring the landscape to compliance, council shall remove the landscape works and seek costs from the property owner.

Speaking to the motion, Cr Jodi Jackson encouraged residents to read the policy and provide feedback.

“I know that this policy will be closer to the hearts of our residents than most of our policies because nature strips and their maintenance is the responsibility of residents,” she said.

“If you live in a house, or own or rent a townhouse or unit that has a street frontage or nature strip immediately adjacent to the property… then this policy is directly relevant to you.”