On the verge with Josh Byrne

Consultation has concluded

1 March 2019

Yes, we're talking verges and we want your input. Lawns, street trees, turf, gardens, water efficiency and the rest.

Benefits of verges

Our street verges can offer many benefits to the community and our environment -- from cooling the air around our homes, to providing shelter and habitat provision for wildlife protection and creating a sense of pride via improved public amenity -- all of which help increase or maintain property values.

Verges are defined as a portion of Crown land that lies between the edge of a road and the adjacent property line. However residents in the City of Cockburn are encouraged to take "ownership" of their verges to beautify, maintain and improve.

Did you know that the City has a Street Verge Improvements Policy 2017 and supporting verge guidelines: Developing Your Verge: Guidelines for Good Design?

These documents provide advice and direction for residents about how to care for and enhance verges so that they contribute to a greener, cooler and more waterwise city. As well as supporting the City’s Urban Forest Strategy, the policy provides direction on safety and accessibility within the streetscape.

The City is now reviewing and updating this policy to provide further advice and direction to residents, particularly residents in new developments who may be unsure about what they can do and how to go about making improvements. The review includes an analysis of best practice initiatives in other councils.

To ensure that the policy continues to provide practical best practice guidance in line with community expectations it is critical that residents are given the opportunity to provide input into this review. The information received from this feedback process will be added to the research findings and used to inform the revised policy.

Workshop

Thankyou to the 80 people who attended the discussion on 20 February 2019 at the Cockburn Bowling and Recreation Centre where Gardening Australia's Dr Josh Byrne and forest pathologist Dr Paul Barber shared their expertise and thoughts.

Have your say

Share your ideas below by Friday 1 March 2019

  • Post a question or add your comment below
  • Send an email to Community Engagement Officer Deanie Carbon at comment@cockburn.wa.gov.au by Friday 1 March 2019.

1 March 2019

Yes, we're talking verges and we want your input. Lawns, street trees, turf, gardens, water efficiency and the rest.

Benefits of verges

Our street verges can offer many benefits to the community and our environment -- from cooling the air around our homes, to providing shelter and habitat provision for wildlife protection and creating a sense of pride via improved public amenity -- all of which help increase or maintain property values.

Verges are defined as a portion of Crown land that lies between the edge of a road and the adjacent property line. However residents in the City of Cockburn are encouraged to take "ownership" of their verges to beautify, maintain and improve.

Did you know that the City has a Street Verge Improvements Policy 2017 and supporting verge guidelines: Developing Your Verge: Guidelines for Good Design?

These documents provide advice and direction for residents about how to care for and enhance verges so that they contribute to a greener, cooler and more waterwise city. As well as supporting the City’s Urban Forest Strategy, the policy provides direction on safety and accessibility within the streetscape.

The City is now reviewing and updating this policy to provide further advice and direction to residents, particularly residents in new developments who may be unsure about what they can do and how to go about making improvements. The review includes an analysis of best practice initiatives in other councils.

To ensure that the policy continues to provide practical best practice guidance in line with community expectations it is critical that residents are given the opportunity to provide input into this review. The information received from this feedback process will be added to the research findings and used to inform the revised policy.

Workshop

Thankyou to the 80 people who attended the discussion on 20 February 2019 at the Cockburn Bowling and Recreation Centre where Gardening Australia's Dr Josh Byrne and forest pathologist Dr Paul Barber shared their expertise and thoughts.

Have your say

Share your ideas below by Friday 1 March 2019

  • Post a question or add your comment below
  • Send an email to Community Engagement Officer Deanie Carbon at comment@cockburn.wa.gov.au by Friday 1 March 2019.
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
  • I attended the verge discussion tonight and found it to be very informative. I was impressed, not only by the effort Cockburn Council had gone too in setting up this event but also the commitment they showed in trying to do the best for our communities environment. Having recently landscaped a water wise verge, using WA natives, drip irrigation, mulch and with 2 trees planted by Cockburn Council, I am having trouble with people driving over the verge with their vehicles and damaging my plants. According to the Councils website, barriers, stakes and bollards are not permitted on verges so I am at a loss as how to protect my hard work until it becomes established. Your thoughts on this matter would be appreciated.

    David1963 asked 2 months ago

    Thankyou David for attending and for your positive feedback. I will ask for advice and get back to you.

  • Has Cockburn considered giving interested and committed residents a one-off grant of (say) $100 to get their verge gardens established? I am considering a verge garden but the cost would be considerable even once established. The criteria could include the condition of the resident's existing garden.

    Fiona61 asked 4 months ago

    The City has the following funding programs

    • Native Plant Subsidy Scheme - allows people to purchase up to 20 native plants for the verge in May each year
    • Sustainability grants – allows collective households to apply for funding for DIY verge improvement projects
    • Waterwise Verge Incentive scheme – allows people to apply for funding for verge improvements (currently closed)

  • Why the 600mm rule? Its overly restrictive - its more important to specify that sight lines are maintained. such as city of bayswater do ... http://www.bayswater.wa.gov.au/cproot/6159/2/Street-Verge-Policy-24022017.pdf Also why are street trees allowed (and provided by council), yet only shrubs (<600m high!) can be planted on peoples verges by people - this seems an inconsistent standard. The council website acknowledges the benefit of tress for amenity, wind breaks, heat island mitigation etc, yet the current verge policy does not support this. Raised veggie beds should be allowed as long as sufficiently set back and not interfering with sight lines. Again the city of bayswater has a more outcomes based (eg maintain sight lines) approach to specification.

    mattyoga asked 5 months ago

    Food for thought! We're looking at what other local governments do and can harvest the best ideas.

    The 600mm has been identified as a suitable height to ensure sight lines are achieved for vehicles, including neighbours, entering and exiting the road network from a crossover to the property. This is especially pertinent in newer suburbs where the verge width has been reduced significantly. In regards to trees, the placement of trees is permitted within a 2.4m to 3m setback from the front property boundary in order to mitigate damage to essential services such as water, power, gas, sewer pipes and the like within the road reserve. Allowing residents to plant of any species and location on the verge could result in the City being liable for future damages to these services.

  • Why is fake lawn allowed when other impermeable surfaces are not? They are hot and ugly. They're not water wise insofar as they do not comply with water sensitive urban design principles. I would fully support the City changing the verge policy to stop allowing fake lawns. I am not suggesting home owners with existing fake lawn should be forced to pull them up, simply that going forward they should not be allowed under the verge policy. I understand this will be difficult to police but the City has a responsibility to lead the community as well as to work for it. If new home owners are seeking guidance on verge treatments, the banning of fake lawn with a good explanation will be helpful to the City and future generations in so far as it will encourage alternatives that are more water sensitive and cooler.

    Lou Corteen asked 5 months ago

    Those residents who like water-sensitive and low heat gardens steer away from fake lawns. Thanks for your suggestion.

    As outlined in the current policy, the City is generally not supportive of synthetic turf, however will accept submissions based on compliance with a series of conditions that will mitigate the impact of heat island effects and water runoff.

  • I'd love to be able to plant water wise ground cover instead of lawn in the 1.5m setback from the kerb. Is there any chance the City will consider this in their revisions to the verge policy? Specifically I am thinking of things like hemiandra pungens, keneddia prostrata, carpobrotus, Enchylaena tomentosa. Perhaps the City could even include a list of acceptable species (and varieties). I'd love to be able to plant shrubs near my fence on my deep verge. The current policy doesn't allow this although the engineering department has assessed my verge as being safe with shrubs present in terms of line of sight. The City's verge policy used to include a series of allowable plants depending on the distance from the kerb (and line of sight). These shrubs are important for small birds which have been massively displaced in the metro area. Larger birds are happy to occupy taller trees, but small birds require the cover of dense shrubs and our current landscaping preference for low ground covers or grass with intermittent tall trees misses out this important habitat type.

    Lou Corteen asked 5 months ago

    You seem to know your plants! Glad to have you on board for this project Lou.  

    A 1.5m strip behind the back of the kerb should be kept clear for pedestrians should they be walking along the road and need to find a safe refuge from a passing vehicle. Additionally, this area provides a safe set down area for property owners waste to place their rubbish bins and is the preferred location of a future footpath.  

  • A tree should not be optional but mandatory on the verge.

    Sofdemey asked 5 months ago

    This is a contentious one. When we survey residents each year they strongly encourage the planting of more trees and we're on board with that.  With the recent adoption of the Urban Forest 2018-2028, the City will be engaging and education the community about the benefits and value of trees to the streetscape environment, including verges. Obtaining the buy-in of the adjacent property owner through these mechanisms is seen as a better way to improve the long term viability of a street tree.