Rod­ney’s ‘out of con­trol’ weed prob­lem

North Harbour News - - IN BUSINESS - AMY BAKER

An ‘‘out of con­trol’’ weed prob­lem is caus­ing a lo­cal politi­cian to urge res­i­dents to have their say in the coun­cil’s con­sul­ta­tion on pest man­age­ment.

Rod­ney Lo­cal Board mem­ber Louise John­ston said in her area, in­clud­ing Coatesville and Dairy Flat, weeds such as privet, wool­ley night­shade and gorse were an is­sue that seemed to be get­ting worse. The prob­lem was ‘‘ev­ery­where’’ - in pri­vate prop­erty, in­clud­ing that of ab­sen­tee landown­ers, and on road­sides, she said.

‘‘You just have to have one per­son in the street with a gorse block, and then that gorse is go­ing to keep spread­ing.’’

The is­sue was fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated in Dairy Flat, par­tic­u­larly on va­cant sites, for ex­am­ple, a 70 acre-site ‘‘of com­plete yel­low’’ when gorse was flow­er­ing, she said.

John­ston said there didn’t seem to be ad­e­quate en­force­ment of the re­quire­ment for res­i­dents to clear cer­tain weeds to within 20 me­tres of their land bound­ary. Folks who were new to the area wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily know which plant species were weeds, and more ed­u­ca­tion and re­sources were needed to help res­i­dents deal with weeds, she said.

Auck­land Coun­cil has re­ceived three com­plaints for pri­vate prop­er­ties and 11 com­plaints for berms out­side prop­er­ties in Coatesville in the past 12 months.

Landown­ers are re­quired to clear gorse and woolly night­shade to within 20 me­tres of their land bound­ary. Privet is not con­trolled but banned from sale and can be con­trolled by com­mu­nity groups.

Ru­ral berms are taken care of by Auck­land Trans­port (AT) con­trac­tors, but res­i­dents are re­spon­si­ble for mow­ing berms in front of their prop­er­ties.

Auck­land Coun­cil biose­cu­rity team man­ager cen­tral/south Ron Matthews said the team gen­er­ally acts straight away on com­plaints, and there is no min­i­mum num­ber be­fore it is dealt with. Com­plaints re­gard­ing pri­vate land are for­warded to the biose­cu­rity team, and the com­plainant con­tacted within two days. The ac­tion taken is guided by the coun­cil’s Re­gional Pest Man­age­ment Strat­egy (RPMS) 2007.

Matthews said AT deals with com­plaints about AT man­aged­land and di­rectly or­gan­ises con­trol for con­tain­ment pest plants. The RPMS 2007 is un­der re­view as part of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, which takes place in Fe­bru­ary and March.

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