Residents must fire up mower, help save $4.2m

Cr George Campbell, Auburn - council to stop moving grass on council land adjacted to residential areas Photo: Radim Cechvala Story:

HOME owners in the former Auburn Council area will have to cut the grass on their own nature strips after Cumberland Council adopted a proposal to stop mowing residential verges as part of a 12-month trial.

Under the changes, which will be introduced in about two months, the council will continue to mow nature strips along main roads, as well as providing a service to residents such as pensioners and residents experiencing hardship.
Citing the previous council’s failed attempt to axe the verge mowing service, Cr George Campbell found support for the policy to be implemented as a trial, along with introducing an education program explaining the benefits and savings to the community.
He said having a report back to council after a year, would allow for a review to make sure standards of tidiness across the LGA didn’t drop.
“The assumption that if the council ceases to mow nature strips, residents will do it, was last tested in 2004,” he said.

“About a year later, (Auburn) Council admitted failure and resumed mowing.
“If we are going to try again, we have to do it differently by seeking to engage the community, appeal to civic pride, explain the benefits and seek support.”
While supporting the change in policy, Cr Michael Zaiter unsuccessfully argued against making it a trial, saying the council needed to fully commit to the new policy.
Cr Zaiter said if the trial didn’t work then the council could be faced with finding the $4.2 million needed to extend the mowing service across the entire LGA.
“At the end of the day, we have to make this work,” he said.