Water allocations and landscaping trends discussed at Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association meeting

The City of Wanneroo has been using mulch for streetscapes to reduce the amount of water needed for irrigation. Picture: Martin Kennealey.
The City of Wanneroo has been using mulch for streetscapes to reduce the amount of water needed for irrigation. Picture: Martin Kennealey.

REDUCED water volumes for irrigating public spaces and a lack of landscaping raised concerns for members of the Two Rocks Yanchep Residents Association recently.

City of Wanneroo employees Grant Chettleburgh and Chelsea Timms were guest speakers at the June 25 meeting, providing information about how the City manages public open spaces and road verges.

Responding to residents’ concerns that lawns and garden beds were being replaced with mulch, Mr Chettleburgh said that was to reduce water required for irrigation.

He said the City had licences to use up to 7500kL of ground water a month to water parks in suburbs south of Butler, and 6750kL in suburbs farther north.

Mr Chettleburgh said the City focused on irrigating active open spaces, such as ovals, rather than verges and roundabouts, and was only allowed to irrigate streetscapes for two years to allow plants to establish.

“We don’t have enough water to irrigate those areas,” he said.

Mr Chettleburgh said the State Government would continue to reduce the City’s water allocations and the local government had a responsibility to look for more effective ways to irrigate open spaces.

“We need to drought-proof our city,” he said.

Association president Peter Wimsett said the association would ask the water authority to send a representative to a future meeting.

Ms Timms said her team assessed, approved and managed all developer-funded public spaces, with most maintained by developers for at least two years as part of their planning approval.

She said for some types, such as foreshore parks, developers were required to maintain the open space for at least four years before handing them over to the City.

“When that maintenance period is coming to an end, (we) will make sure it’s been looked after to the City’s standards,” she said.

Ms Timms said all developments had to have at least 10 per cent public open space, with most in the City having between 13 and 15 per cent, and that developers were required to install bins in all parks.

Residents were also told that the City plants about 3000 trees a year in its efforts to improve the tree canopy.

Mr Chettleburgh said the City ran a woody weed program to target invasive trees, particularly in conservation reserves.

He said the City spent about $9 million on streetscape maintenance in 2017-18, and had recently appointed a second landscaping contractor for the Yanchep-Two Rocks area to meet the demand of growth in those suburbs.

Asked about the use of glyphosate, Mr Chettleburgh said City staff and contractors used it in accordance with Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority regulations.

He encouraged people to call the City if they saw anyone using it inappropriately or without protective clothing.