AT sprays near ‘pollinator’ garden
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.’’