Cottesloe residents encouraged to use native plants with subsidy scheme


Cottesloe Council sustainability officer Melissa Rachan wants verges to be waterwise in Cottesloe. Picture: Jon Bassett.
Cottesloe Council sustainability officer Melissa Rachan wants verges to be waterwise in Cottesloe. Picture: Jon Bassett.

COTTESLOE’S iconic wide grassed verges could be turfed out by native plants to stop wasteful watering, using a $15,000 subsidy scheme.

Mayor Jo Dawkins said the voluntary scheme, approved by council last month, was open to residents through an application process.

“The initiative has many positive benefits, and most notably it aims to reduce residential water consumption, and this is particularly important in light of Perth’s drying climate,” she said.

Currently, about 40 per cent of homes’ water keeps outdoor plants and grass green, and councillors want that consumption reduced.

Mrs Dawkins said the subsidy would encourage plants that would attract birdlife, reduce fertiliser runoff, and cool the town.

Residents would be encouraged to plant at least one new tree on verges.

Council sustainability officer Melissa Rachan said creating native verges also brought neighbours together when they gardened or admired each others’ work using the new plants.

Before agreeing on the subsidy, council had about 15 applications to plant native plants on verges each year.

The scheme aims to double that by using a $15/m2 subsidy, to a maximum of $500, for each newly replanted strip.

Cheap, native plants are provided by the council in its Native Plant Subsidy Scheme, and residents who apply for permission to change their verge will have their unaltered sites inspected and photographed by staff before approval.

The staff will conduct another inspection after permission is granted, and before the rebates are paid.

Follow-up checks will be conducted to ensure the native verge remains, including at least one street tree of a species in the council’s new tree policy.