Edible and Waterwise Verges


I am incredibly pleased with the proposed verge policy which will come to Tuesday’s council meeting for formal ratification. Having read dozens of verge policies from all around Australia, the City of Bayswater’s will be the most empowering in the nation.

In April 2015 I created a notice of motion for the City to review their verge policy with the objective of allowing residents to make their verge more productive – if they so wish. To me it seems obvious that people should be able to use the verge land in a productive way; this is especially the case with all the urban in-fill which is occurring as residents often have no land available to grow food. I wrote at the time “I am hoping that the City will initiate a simple, red-tape free, process”, and the City of Bayswater staff have certainly delivered that.

No approval will be required as long as a few rules are met. The key ones are:

  1. If there is no footpath, then the 2 metres adjacent to the kerb must be flat and safe for pedestrians.
  2. Vegetation within 1.5 metres of a crossover/driveway can be no higher than 75 centimetres.
  3. Plants which are poisonous or have thorns greater than 2.5 centimetres are prohibited.

There are a few other ‘common sense’ rules as well such as not damaging the verge tree or footpath and ensuring sight lines for vehicles are maintained so I will provide a link to the actual guidelines if they are accepted by council (here).

I will also provide a link to the “Street Verge Greening Guide” which contains some standout quotes:

“With a few do’s and don’ts your inner green thumb creativity is your only limit”.

“By not creating ‘red tape’ for a verge garden we expect you to be responsible for it”

We are looking for common sense, think about how your design could pose a hazard for pedestrians or block site lines for cars”.

Awesome stuff; the power is with the people and red tape has been slashed. And this follows on very nicely from the recent ‘planter box guidelines’ which are just as empowering, and the recent alfresco changes. The ‘Red Tape Reduction Working Group’, which falls under the Audit & Risk Committee, continues to try and find ways to minimise unnecessary government involvement in people’s everyday lives.

Power to the People.

(Please be aware that these views are my own and have not been endorsed by the City of Bayswater)

—————————— Update 23/02/2017 ——————————–

Raised garden beds on verges

A concern with the new verge rules was that mad-made structures (such as raised garden beds) were not allowed.

After a few months of discussion between the CoB staff and the Local Government Insurance Scheme (LGIS), an acceptable level of risk to the City and its insurer was agreed upon. As of last night, people can now build raised garden beds up to 0.35 metres (not including plants). The guidelines should be read before doing anything though.

The CoB is the only local government which has approached the LGIS over this matter and I cannot emphasize the magnitude of what the staff have achieved. No, no, no, trip hazard, danger, unnecessary risk!! was the initial response from everyone. But from thinking outside of the box in how they presented their case, through perseverance and with the knowledge that council has embraced this concept and vision, the staff pulled it off. My sincere thanks and appreciation go to them.