L-R brothers Frank and Ted Harris at the Leamington Street home where council has asked them to remove thier kerbside garden.
L-R brothers Frank and Ted Harris at the Leamington Street home where council has asked them to remove thier kerbside garden. Chris Ison ROK250118cgarden2

Green thumb battles council over Rocky verge garden

BERSERKER resident Ted Harris is calling for updated laws after receiving a safety violation from Rockhampton Regional Council regarding his verge plants.

When a new storm water drain was implemented outside his home and a storm left his Leamington St property's verge damaged by the subsequent storm water, he decided he'd had enough.

Mr Harris took the matter into his own hands and set about planting natives with his brother in order to mitigate the effects of storm water.

"[The council] redid the curb and resealed it and that sort of thing, but when they left the verge, they just left it bare with granite on it and then when we had a storm it came and washed it out and there were just weeds growing and everything just started to growing there,” Mr Harris said.

"My brother and I decided to put a verge garden in there so we put some mulch down and planted some trees.

"We put in a line of bottle trees and flame trees - which are local native and are apart of the council's recommended planting guide - and we put a little bit of other stuff around them to protect them while they get to a bigger size.”

However, when a safety complaint was made about his additional plants, Mr Harris received a safety violation from Rockhampton council, asking him to remove them.

"The council came around, had a look and made an assessment and directed me to remove it,” he said.

"They've just said that it's a safety concern but there are a lot of things on the street that are also just as much of a hazard.

"There are people who park their vehicles on the verge, there are lawns where the grass hardly ever gets mown, there are overgrown trees whereas my verge garden is quite neat and maintained and there's a path for pedestrians to walk on which his quite clear.”

With other councils, including Brisbane City Council, having already developed the Verge Gardens Guidelines, Mr Harris is urging Rockhampton to follow suite.

"In a lot of towns there are guidelines as to what you can plant on your verge and what is allowed and what isn't and a lot of councils are looking into it as a way of mitigating storm water affect,” Mr Harris said.

The Verge Gardens Guidelines were implemented as a means of permitting residents to establish their own verge garden to protect their properties from storm water.

One of Brisbane City Council's guidelines encourages residents to use native or water-wise plants where possible to create a sustainable, water-wise garden.

This guideline in particular, is something that Mr Harris said would be beneficial for the Rockhampton region.

Council is deliberating their course of action.



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