AT sprays near ‘pol­li­na­tor’ gar­den

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - CATRIN OWEN

Auck­land Trans­port (AT) has sprayed the bor­der of a com­mu­nity gar­den de­signed to act as a hub for pol­li­nat­ing in­sects.

Pol­li­na­tor Park in Hakanoa Re­serve, Grey Lynn is on Auck­land Coun­cil’s ‘‘no spray reg­is­ter’’ but not on AT’s.

The park was de­signed by land­scape ar­chi­tect An­drea Reid and the com­mu­nity, which worked to cre­ate a chem­i­cal-free gar­den for pol­li­na­tors.

Res­i­dents of the park in­clude bees; from reg­u­lar honey bees to quirky leaf­cut­ter bees, as well as birds, lizards and but­ter­flies.

Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board granted $7500 for Reid to build the gar­den.

AT spokesman Mark Han­nan said the con­trac­tor who sprayed the edge of the re­serve did not need to view the coun­cil reg­is­ter be­cause the spray­ing was on a bor­der be­tween AT prop­erty and coun­cil land.

Han­nan said the con­trac­tor sprayed weeds un­der a park sign with a her­bi­cide that was not toxic to bee pop­u­la­tions.

He con­firmed the spray used was not glyphosate - a con­tro­ver­sial pes­ti­cide used by coun­cils.

‘‘The spray is bio-safe. Auck­land Trans­port does not use glyphosate in this area,’’ he said.

Auck­land Coun­cil and AT were work­ing on com­bin­ing a sin­gle no spray reg­is­ter.

Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board mem­ber Rob Thomas de­scribed the in­ci­dent as ‘‘eco-van­dal­ism’’.

‘‘There was a good un­der­stand­ing with AT that we were on a no spray list,’’ he said.

Thomas said the gar­den didn’t need spray­ing as vol­un­teers held a com­mu­nity weed­ing day a week prior.

‘‘Up un­til last week it was look­ing fine and the plants were grow­ing up.

The spray could be re­spon­si­ble for a bee colony col­lapse, Thomas said.

Thomas said any re­duc­tion in plant fo­liage dur­ing win­ter could also be dev­as­tat­ing for in­sects and pol­li­na­tors.

‘‘A year’s worth of work has been un­done.

‘‘It’s dis­ap­point­ing that one of our part­ners have un­done the good work of the com­mu­nity.’’

Thomas said a sim­i­lar in­ci­dent hap­pened in New­mar­ket Park two years ago where a con­trac­tor sprayed the edge of the gar­den and killed off na­tive plants.

‘‘Auck­land Trans­port have been trig­ger happy and as a re­sult have sys­tem­at­i­cally de­stroyed two years of plan­ning and eco­log­i­cal en­hance­ment.’’

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