Wembley Downs: resident concerned for plants on median strip


Wembley Downs resident Raoul Abrutat with some of the plants he grew on a median strip.
Wembley Downs resident Raoul Abrutat with some of the plants he grew on a median strip.

WEMBLEY Downs resident Raoul Abrutat fears hundreds of native plants he grew on a Hale Road median strip will be uprooted by the City of Stirling.

Since 2012, Mr Abrutat has tried to create a greener 20m median strip.

“Sometimes random people just stop the car and say ‘thumbs up, good work, keep going’,” Mr Abrutat said.

“When I plant, I pick up so much rubbish: cigarette butts, tyre hubcaps, anything.

“I just thought it was an opportunity to plant some more plants and get some biodiversity in the area.”

But Stirling parks and reserves manager Ian Hunter said the City could not condone residents undertaking any kind of works within a road median.

“To do so would leave the City open to claims of liability should any injury occur,” he said.

“Any works carried out on our roads involve risks that have to be managed and assessed.”

Mr Abrutat, who lives opposite the median strip, disputes the safety risk.

“That is a view I completely refute; many people cross this road every day but I just cross the road with a bucket to water the plants,” he said.

“I don’t know what the difference is.

“I go down there with two buckets of water and I take good care in the traffic.”

On April 29, the City told Mr Abrutat 87 trees would be planted at the end of May as part of work to increase the City’s tree canopy and all ground cover and vegetation would be removed to make way for new tree plantings.

“The offer was provided in this email to remove and re-pot the plants the resident had planted without authorisation and return them to him for his use or if he didn’t want them, we would reuse them elsewhere more suitable in the City,” Mr Hunter said.

Mr Abrutat said the plants he had chosen were all native and would require little maintenance once established.

Mt Hunter said a letter had been sent to Mr Abrutat in 2014 to encourage him to register as a volunteer in the City’s Street Tree Planting Program.

Mr Hunter said 87 tuart and lemon gum trees would be planted in the re-mulched median strip from Pearson Street to Brompton Avenue.

Mr Abrutat said he wanted to inspire other people in the area to beautify verges with native plants but was happy to work with the City.