Lend­ing a hand in berm bat­tle

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By DANIELLE STREET

BERM battler Ella Ku­mar is the brains be­hind a new lawn­mower loan scheme de­signed to keep the grass down in the sub­urbs.

She’s heard from many un­happy con­stituents in the wake of Auck­land Coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to stop main­tain­ing ur­ban berms and reck­ons she’s come up with a so­lu­tion.

The Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board mem­ber has de­cided to make man­ual lawn­mow­ers avail­able for res­i­dents to bor­row.

‘‘It doesn’t cost peo­ple any­thing, no petrol, no elec­tric­ity. All they have to do is pick them up,’’ she says. ‘‘ And it would be great to see peo­ple help­ing each other.’’

Mrs Ku­mar got The Ware­house Mt Roskill on board to help ad­min­is­trate the lend­ing scheme that kicks off in Fe­bru­ary with two light­weight man­ual mow­ers that fit eas­ily into the back of a car.

She has per­son­ally funded one mower and the re­tail gi­ant has picked up the tab for the other.

‘‘If it be­comes pop­u­lar and I can get peo­ple to help fund any more, we will get them,’’ she says.

The Ware­house Mt Roskill man­ager Mark Laramy says the idea ap­pealed to him be­cause of its strong sense of com­mu­nity.

‘‘I think it’s a good idea and it will be good to give it a go to see if it makes a dif­fer­ence,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s handy for lo­cals and of course I think it’s a very min­i­mal risk be­cause there is not a lot of cost in­volved. It’s more about help­ing peo­ple.’’

The long open­ing hours of the store mean there is am­ple op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to come and pick up mow­ers that will be lent out for three and a half hours.

‘‘The shorter the grass is the eas­ier it will be to mow. If you try and mow a jun­gle it will be a real tough task,’’ Mr Laramy says.

The scheme is only avail­able at The Ware­house Mt Roskill and only for peo­ple liv­ing in the Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board area.

Peo­ple will need to present photo ID and proof of ad­dress be­fore tak­ing a mower away.

Mrs Ku­mar says the scheme should help res­i­dents who have found them­selves with ex­tra lawns to mow be­cause of liv­ing on cor­ner prop­er­ties or near re­serves.

‘‘I’ve talked to one com­mu­nity mem­ber who is a solo par­ent. She’s got a big lawn and now she’s been given two berms to mow,’’ she says.

‘‘So it costs her $30 more if she gets some­one to come and mow it for her. For a solo par­ent it’s quite dif­fi­cult.’’

She would also like to see neigh­bours help el­derly peo­ple and oth­ers who can­not mow verges.

Mrs Ku­mar orig­i­nally sug­gested the lo­cal board should in­ves­ti­gate op­tions for ad­dress­ing the berm mow­ing is­sue, say­ing it was prov­ing to be a prob­lem for some parts of the com­mu­nity.

The idea was voted down by other mem­bers.

‘‘What the board has re­solved on is get­ting Auck­land Trans­port to show what land they are des­ig­nated in Puke­ta­papa,’’ Mrs Ku­mar says.

‘‘So then we can re­move any ques­tions around who owns it.

‘‘That needs to be clar­i­fied,’’ she says.

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