Changes recommended to berm mowing guidelines

Thursday 12 May 2011, 5:30PM
By Clutha District Council


Council’s District Assets Committee meeting has recommended further tightening proposed new guidelines for berm mowing.

Council recently reviewed berm mowing across the district and determined that, in general, Council will only mow most berms when the grass is very long (over 500mm).

The amount of berm mowing in recent years has grown to the point where it now represents a significant portion of Council’s Parks and Reserves budget. Another factor taken into account is that it is unfair for the majority of residents who already mow the berms outside their property to be subsidising the minority of people who do not. Work and Income New Zealand assistance is available for grounds maintenance for people who are ill, and elderly who meet certain criteria.

Council recently advertised the proposed change in approach, which would be implemented from July 2011 when the new Parks and Reserves operations and maintenance contract begins. A total of 33 submissions were received from throughout the district with the majority from Lawrence (19) and Milton (9).

The District Assets Committee last week recommended that Council confirm the new berm mowing guidelines for the continued routine mowing of berms as:

  • No mowed grass inside property at all (e.g. no mower, small paddock, or empty section in an urban area).
  • Very large berm (larger than the internal lawn area) – note that the District Assets Committee has recommended Council increased this from the ‘more than half of the internal lawn area’ which was initially proposed.
  • The berm is in front of a Council owned property.
  • It also recommended that Council mow/trim rank berms when the grass height reaches about 500mm.

Councillors acknowledged that the proposed changes will be an “emotional” issue for some residents. However, the general consensus was that the new guidelines would result in cost savings, be fairer to all ratepayers, and give communities the opportunity to take more ownership of the appearance of their towns.

Council will consider the recommendations above at its meeting on Thursday May 19.