Generous gardener reprieved

Marie Hahn and the garden on her front verge. Picture: Martin Kennealey   d439998
Marie Hahn and the garden on her front verge. Picture: Martin Kennealey d439998

FOR 26 years, Marie Hahn has had a garden on her Kingsley front verge.

For the past four years, this has been a community garden where Renegade Way neighbours and passers-by could freely come and pick herbs, chillies and some vegetables.

Last Wednesday, the 76-year-old retired school deputy principal received a caution notice from the City of Joondalup requesting she remove the garden beds and gravel stones before Monday to avoid an infringement.

But by the following evening, Mrs Hahn had received another letter withdrawing the City’s notice.

Mrs Hahn put the decision down to the power of the community and Facebook.

Once neighbours heard of the City’s request, they rallied to offer Mrs Hahn support.

A Facebook page called Save Marie’s Garden was created and a petition was set up.

“When I told people I had been asked to close the garden down they said, ‘You’re joking’,” Mrs Hahn said.

“They couldn’t believe it.

“I was very angry. I just like doing things for people.

“I am delighted every time people come by and pick things. It’s not obstructive.”

The caution notice dated June 22 said the City endeavoured to enforce its local laws “for the overall benefit and quality of life of the community”.

In withdrawing the notice, Joondalup chief executive Garry Hunt apologised for “any inconvenience or angst” that may have been caused.

“While there are very clear guidelines on how street verges need to be treated and maintained to ensure safe pedestrian spaces and vehicular access to properties, the City’s preference would have been to work with you directly on ways to keep your community garden without the need to issue a caution for verge obstruction,” he said in the letter.

“I sincerely hope you will be open to discussing with the City an appropriate solution to this matter.”

He said he would like to arrange for a City officer to meet with Mrs Hahn and her neighbours to consider options for safely maintaining and keeping the garden beds on the street verge.

Mrs Hahn said she was amazed at the community support she had received in objecting to the request, but knew the power of the community would work.

Speaking on radio, Mayor Troy Pickard said “common sense has prevailed”.

He described the caution notice as using “inappropriate language” because “what Mrs Hahn is doing should be encouraged in the City and it’s a great initiative”.