By RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission
A North Shore gardener wants to see berm planting rules relaxed after having to rip her plantings out.
Louise Burnie mulched the grassy space in front of her home in Torbay and planted wildflowers and fruit trees.
She had been tending to the berm for three months and hoped to share the fruit with her neighbourhood.
Burnie did not realise it was against the rules until Auckland Transport issued her a warning this week.
She was alarmed to read she could be fined more than $340 per day if she did not clear the garden.
“It seems really excessive for mulch that’s not falling into the road. If it was I could understand it. I’ve put things in place to make sure it’s not going to land in the road. It seems really high.”
Burnie said residents should be allowed to have more than just grass.
“There’s no area that’s going to be blocking visibility or anything like that, so just trying to come up with some solutions as to what else I can plant. We’ve ripped out all the plants now, and we’re just piling up the mulch to give away to anybody that wants it at this stage.”
In a statement, Auckland Transport said berms needed to be easily accessible corridors for utility services.
“If you want to plant in the berm you need a permit,” it said.
“While Auckland Transport does not go searching for breaches of the berm planting guidelines, when a complaint is made, we are required to act.”
The agency said landowners needed to maintain private plantings but that was at risk of not happening if the land was sold or the person lost interest.
Then Auckland Transport would have to remove the plantings and resow the grass at their own cost.