A controversial plan by the City of Canning to slash verge mowing costs has been savaged by local residents.
The city currently undertakes maintenance of verges on major roads and residential verges to manage excessive grass growth, maintain sightlines for motorists and keep a tidy streetscape environment.
The service is available to all Canning residents who apply and meet the existing eligibility criteria with up to three services provided per year, with approximately 6400 verges mowed by the City adjacent to residential properties where the resident cannot or does not maintain the area themselves, and the verge area meets the eligibility criteria.
The major proposed changes to the policy are that the city will no longer mow verges unless the adjacent landowner is a resident and can demonstrate an incapacity to undertake mowing due to age, infirmity or another disability.
Residents with an incapacity to undertake mowing due to age, infirmity or other disability will not be eligible unless they are the landowner.
The city will only provide one service per year, and eligible landowners will have to request the service.
Money saved from the policy change would be funnelled towards a waterwise verge pilot program, which would encourage residents to install waterwise verge gardens using native plants, with residents able to apply for rebates and subsidies.
Results from public consultation indicate the proposed policy changes have gown down like a lead balloon with local residents.
Over 50 per cent of respondents said they don’t mow the verge, which is owned by the city, because the city should do it.
The comments in the public consultation, however, are more telling, with an overwhelming amount of the 429 anonymous comments hitting out at the city for attempting to palm off maintenance of land they own onto city residents.
While many supported the idea of waterwise verge garden, the majority urged the city to “do their job” while others expressed concern over how the changed would impact the elderly.
“I feel that a significant portion of elderly or disabled residents are renters, and this would unfairly discriminate against them,” one comment said.
“I also disagree with the move to make this a one-off annual mow.
“I feel that whilst there may be some people who take advantage of the service, the marginalised will end up being punished.
“I also express concern on having to re-register on an annual basis, as I feel this is needless red tape.
“A one-off registration should be sufficient in most circumstances, especially as it is the city’s responsibility to maintain.”
The public consultation is expected to be presented to council next month.