We live in Mt Wellington in a townhouse development of 11 dwellings. Our road frontage or berm happens to be three to four times wider than a normal berm that is found in other parts of our road. This berm has been landscaped by the council by planting trees, shrubs and flaxes with ground cover being the usual mulch. Until a few years ago, council contractors would appear and maintain this area. However, over the past year or so upkeep by the council of this area has seemed to be neglected. I can recall reading in the news something about the mowing of berms in what was the old Auckland City Council area and how the other council areas do not enjoy such a privilege. I note also that the berms along the Ellerslie-Panmure Highway are starting to look like hay paddocks.
Are you able to find out from the Super City Council what its responsibility towards maintenance of berms will be and also what are the residents' responsibilities, especially in respect to trees and shrubs that are growing on council berms?
John Castle, Mt Wellington.
In the 2013-14 Annual Plan, Auckland Council standardised urban berm mowing services throughout the region. It is estimated this will save about $3 million a year.
This means the only berms the council will mow are those adjacent to council-owned properties. Generally the responsibility for mowing grass berms now rests with the owners or occupiers. The alternative, providing berm mowing services region-wide, would have cost ratepayers an extra $12 million to $15 million a year.
Auckland Transport may consider mowing berms adjacent to properties that are: 1. Steep and mowing poses a significant safety hazard (1:4 gradient). 2. Not to the front, side of, or directly accessible from the property. 3. In town centres or commercial centres. 4. Within road corridors at shopping centres. 5. In front of unoccupied properties where non-maintenance will result in a traffic or fire hazard and impact negatively on visual amenity; or 6. Have a swale, rain garden, overland flow path, open channel, drain or other stormwater asset within the berm.
In special circumstances, Auckland Transport may also consider mowing berms adjacent to private property if there are significant health or safety issues, accessing the berm is difficult or there is risk of damaging public assets.
If special circumstances apply, requests for berm mowing can be made in writing to Auckland Transport and must be accompanied by documentation that verifies the need - for example, a medical certificate.
The ownership and maintenance of trees and shrubs growing within the grass berm is a joint Auckland Transport/Auckland Council responsibility. The council looks after tree planting and pruning.