Water Corp wants new thinking on verges, while City of Gosnells says lawn verges have a place

Front verges are under threat in Gosnells.
Front verges are under threat in Gosnells.

RESPONSES by local governments to the Water Corporation’s suggestion that people should “rip up” their lawn verges were varied last week.

The City of Gosnells felt there was a place for irrigated lawn verges.

“A water shortage is just one issue that needs to be taken into consideration when thinking about verges,” Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie said.

“These also provide a valuable parking asset for some residents. In these cases, replacing lawn with hard surfaces is not an option that the City would favour as it increases stormwater runoff and promotes the build-up of heat.”

Permissible verge treatments currently include irrigated lawn, artificial turf, plants, mulch, woodchips and compacted limestone.

Water Corporation chief executive Sue Murphy said at a lunch organised by the Urban Development Institute of Australia recently that Perth would benefit by moving away from “green, rolling lawns” towards native shrubs and more trees.

She said the Water Corp had officially abandoned any reliance on drinking supplies from Perth’s dams and made a pitch for households to adopt “water-wise” verges.

The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale is on board with the Water Corporation.

It recently offering free native plants for verges under an annual program with Landcare SJ that will run for three consecutive years.

Shire President John Erren said verges were Crown land reserved for the installation of utilities and services and were vested in the local government.

Residents are encouraged to maintain their verges.

“The Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale’s preferred verge treatment is a landscaped nature strip with a shade tree,” Cr Erren said.

“The vegetation is to be selected from local native low growing shrubs and groundcovers with native trees and the ground should be covered by a thick 100mm mulch made of native pruning.”

If additional paving is required, only a third of the verge may be paved.