Shabby la­bel af­ter mow­ing ends

Waihi Leader - - News - By CAR­MEN HALL [email protected]­hileader.co.nz

The grass has grown over Waihi’s fi­nal­ist ti­tle in the 2018 Most Beau­ti­ful Small Town Award as dis­grun­tled res­i­dents bat­tle with the coun­cil over who should mow its berms.

De­bate has fired up on so­cial me­dia with posts claim­ing the town is look­ing “shabby” and “hill­bil­ly­ish”.

Hau­raki District Coun­cil Com­mu­nity Ser­vices and De­vel­op­ment group man­ager Steve Fabish says it de­cided to stop mow­ing berms that were 20 me­tres or less on July 1 be­cause it would save Waihi Ward ratepayers about $50,000 a year.

The com­mu­nity was con­sulted on the is­sue and due to feed­back it de­cided to cut back on a lot of the mow­ing ser­vices.

“We didn’t think it was fair that all ratepayers in the Waihi ward, in­clud­ing those in Whir­i­toa and Waikino, were pay­ing for stan­dard berms to be mowed in Waihi, and that some Waihi res­i­dents were get­ting their berms mowed while oth­ers weren’t.”

The coun­cil did not think it would have an af­fect on the town’s ap­pear­ance.

“We don’t be­lieve Waihi streets will be­come over­grown as a re­sult. When we re­duced berm mow­ing in Paeroa a few years ago the streets stayed ship­shape.”

How­ever the coun­cil ac­knowl­edged it might not be pos­si­ble for every­one to mow their berm.

“We un­der­stand that some peo­ple may not be phys­i­cally able to mow their own berm. Help is avail­able from WINZ for those on a low in­come who can’t phys­i­cally mow their berm.”

Mal­colm Mathers says he had no­ticed some lawns “get­ting longer and longer”.

He took to Face­book and told the Waihi Leader the town is look­ing “shabby, run­down and a bit hill­bil­ly­ish”.

“The more you look the worse it gets.”

He was also wor­ried about the el­derly res­i­dents who were not

ca­pa­ble and could not af­ford to pay for lawn mow­ing.

“My aunty says she is not pay­ing to mow the road­side as that is the coun­cil’s job.”

Bernie, who only wanted his first name used, says as far as he was con­cerned the berms be­long to the coun­cil.

“So it’s their re­spon­si­bil­ity. It’s coun­cil prop­erty and there would be hell to pay if I de­cided to build some­thing on it.”

How­ever Ge­orgina My­croft thought peo­ple could plant fruit trees and have ed­i­ble streets.

Mean­while Er­rol Clark had of­fered to mow any road­side lawns the coun­cil didn’t “for cheap rates” but had no tak­ers.

“I think peo­ple are just go­ing

to leave their lawns to get long. And oth­ers are say­ing the coun­cil should pay me to do it.”

A Min­istry for So­cial De­vel­op­ment spokes­woman says the dis­abil­ity al­lowance can help to­wards the ex­tra cost some­one may have due to a dis­abil­ity or med­i­cal con­di­tion.

It can help pay for a range of things like reg­u­lar vis­its to the doc­tor, medicines or a med­i­cal alarm — but also for gar­den­ing, lawn-mow­ing, and out­side win­dow clean­ing for a per­son’s own home or pri­vate res­i­dence.

But the al­lowance can only be paid if the per­son is un­able to do these tasks them­selves be­cause of their dis­abil­ity and it re­quires a re­fer­ral from their GP.

Hau­raki District Coun­cil stopped mow­ing berms 20 me­tres or less on July 1 to save Waihi Ward ratepayers about $50,000 a year.

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