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Nature Strip Lunacy

Please read the revised Manningham Nature Strip Policy and Nature Strip Planting Guidelines and Information Sheets for 2015. The draft version can be found in the full minutes of the 31 March 2015 council meeting, starting at page 483.

Manningham council are up to their old tricks again – taking money from you and me.

Please let me explain

You would think that Manningham's Nature Strip policy is meant to cover the planting of trees, scrubs, special grasses and larger plants on the nature strip. It does cover these things. But the council has also inserted a couple of gotchas.

 

Gotcha Number 1.

The first gotcha is if you want to seed or top seed your nature strip with lawn. That's right, you need to apply to the council for a permit to do this and pay an $85 dollar fee.

Do you think I am making this up? Please read the 2015 Nature Strip Policy and the accompanying Guidelines.

There is absolutely no mention, that I can find, of any right you may have to plant lawn seed or re-seed your nature strip without first obtaining council approval.

On the other hand there is repeated mention of the fact that you need to obtain a permit to do any work on council owned land. Here are some examples of the latter.

 

"In nature strips not containing indigenous vegetation, a permit is required for a property owner to plant within an adjoining nature strip." (Nature Strip Policy 2015, point 7.)

 

"Under Manningham's community local law 2013, in relation to council land, which includes a nature strip, a permit is required to commence or carry out any works or to remove, damage, destroy or interfere with any vegetation, material, thing or asset owned by the council." (Nature Strip Policy 2015, page 6).

 

"Manningham Community Local Law, Clause 5.1, requires a permit for any works carried out on Council roads and adjoining land, including gardening works on a nature strip. It also covers damage, removal or interference with any vegetation, material or asset owned by the council" (Nature strip guidelines, page 502 of minutes.)

 

Now I ask you to find any mention in the 2015 policy or guidelines which say you can re-seed or plant lawn on a nature strip without first obtaining a council permit. I could not find any.

There is off course good reason for the council requiring you obtain a permit before planting lawn.

Possibly they want to weigh the merits of using Yates or Munns garden products. Possibly they want to ponder the profound issue of how much kikuyu or couch grass seed there should really be in a box of lawn seed.

Laugh you may, but these are very serious issues that require deep and prolonged consideration by Manningham council.

What ever way you look at it, it is going to be a very expensive box of lawn seed.

 

Gotcha Number 2.

There is a second gotcha.

"6.1 As the permits will not be transferable to new landowners of a property, there is the potential for Council to be asked to remove the landscaping undertaken by the previous landowner. Council will not be able to redeem the costs of restoring a previously planted nature strip to grass." (Council minutes for 31 March 2015, page 486.)

 

So if you buy an established home in Manningham, the council might ask you to remove, at your own expense, gardening work done on the nature strip by the previous owner - work that the council had previously approved of.

So here is a potential hidden expense for new home owners and a potential source of revenue for the council.

It is also a potential source of revenue for the council because potential home buyers may now be enticed to ask for a certificate from the council regarding the status of gardening works done on the nature strip of they home they are buying. Off course, potential home buyers will need to pay a fee to the council for this certificate, as they do for other certificates.

My guess is that Manningham council has not yet thought of this potential new revenue stream. But now I have brought it to their attention, you can bet they will take steps to ensure they get all money they can from us.

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