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Berm becomes battleground

Posted at 4:34pm Tuesday 30 Jun, 2020

A dedicated Hibiscus Coast gardener and environmentalist is on a collision course with Auckland Transport over, of all things, a patch of flowers and vegetables.

For three years, Dee Pigneguy, who lives in Walbrook Road Manly, has been planting the berm outside her house with vegetables, fruit trees, flowers and plants designed to attract butterflies and bees.

While motivated by the garden's environmental and aesthetic benefits, Dee says it also serves a practical purpose during heavy rain.

“Without the gardens – planted on the berm and on our property – runoff from higher properties across the road caused repeated flooding,” she says.

“Most people who see the garden love it and thank me for it. It brings a lot of pleasure especially to children who often walk past on their way between the kindergarten and the park.”

But some neighbours have complained, taking the issue to Auckland Transport (AT).

On June 13, Dee and husband Mike received a letter telling them that the garden is a breach of AT's Public and Nuisance Bylaw 2013. The couple has been told to reinstate the berm within 28 days or face a bill of nearly $4000.

“AT has received four complaints from neighbours about the Walbrook Road berm,” a spokesperson says. “We visited the site last week and will look to see if a compromise can be reached.”

AT cannot reveal the nature of the complaints made about the berm, due to privacy issues.

The spokesperson added that AT has a clear policy on berm planting (at.govt.nz/about-us/street-maintenance/berm-maintenance).

Dee Pinéguy is a Hibiscus Matters' gardening columnist.

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