MOSMAN Park councillors grappled with the pros and cons of artificial turf at their meeting last month.
It is estimated artificial turf has been installed without the council’s approval on up to 40 verges – but there is only one recorded use of the material.
A staff report said artificial turf needed brushing or cleaning, had to have proper underlay material, and could contribute to flooding because it was impermeable and got hot.
Councillors had to reconsider the issue when an elderly resident of Jimbell Street recently asked to use the turf on 25sq m of her 75sq m nature strip to reduce her maintenance duties.
“We’re asking the elderly to stay in their homes, but they cannot maintain them to the level they’d like,” Cr Jenna Ledgerwood said.
Cr Zenda Johnson said use of the turf would be preferable to “an unkempt verge overgrown with weeds”, and she wanted the council to also investigate an incentive program so that native plants could be planted for the elderly on some verges.
The report said a similar $90,000 program at the City of Vincent had shown incentives to be “expensive at first”, with each verge costing about $1200, but the proposal could be examined more during a planned review of the verge policy at Mosman Park.
There was some opposition to the use of artificial turf.
“When it’s just put down it looks tidy, it looks green, but it doesn’t age well, and it does need maintenance,” Cr Andrew Maurice said.
Cr Maurice said the underlay surface compacted the soil, affected its biology and water was prevented from reaching the roots of verge trees.
However, it was agreed that artificial turf could be used for a third of a verge “under certain circumstances”, but only as a hard stand for vehicles next to paving.
Residents will be told of the decision if they apply for the changed surface of their verges.