Future of berm planting falls to council
Auckland’s berm rules could be in for a shake-up when oversight is handed back to Auckland Council next year.
Berms were in the spotlight four years ago when Auckland Council announced it would no longer mow grass verges in central suburbs as it handed responsibility to Auckland Transport (AT).
In 2015 berms hit headlines again when AT announced roadside gardens would be outlawed and proposed residents pay for a $150 licence if they wanted to deviate from strict new rules that were proposed.
It was met with backlash from berm planters across Auckland and even made international headlines.
Now berm management is heading back to Auckland Council.
Auckland Council acting head of operational management and maintenance Simon Randall said it was working with AT to complete a transfer next year.
‘‘The transfer of maintenance responsible for berms has been in the pipelines for 18 months as part of our drive to get the best value and adopt a single approach to maintenance across the wider council family,’’ Randall said.
At this stage no planting guideline changes were proposed, he said.
AT never went through with the $150 fee as it was met with push back from local boards and members of the public.
AT spokesman James Ireland said while berm planting was technically not allowed, AT only trimmed or removed berm plant- ing if there were complaints or if plants overhung a berm.
Berm plants must not be higher than 30cm around trees and mailboxes, and over a total area of no more than 2sqm.
Vegetable plants are not permitted and fruit trees are banned as they attract vermin.
In October 2015, former Mayor Len Brown told Stuff AT needed to dial the regulations back.
Waitemata¯ Local Board chair Pippa Coom said she was supportive of the change.
The $150 fee was ‘‘ridiculous’’, she said.
‘‘AT was coming at it from all the wrong directions, in the meantime people should go and do low level planting that’s not obstructive.
‘‘I don’t think the new guidelines should be on what’s allowed and not what’s allowed, but rather what’s best for the berms on a case-by-case basis.’’