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Out of Control Nature Strips, Who is Responsible?

Nature strip overgrown

There is usually grass between a road and a footpath or a boundary between a private property and a public road known as a nature strip, and given the large amounts of rain and the great growth conditions lately, some of them are getting out of control.

One local in particular has been asking, “Why does the Wyndham Council allow this and do nothing unless someone reports it (like me). Fed up doing snap send solves every time I walk the dog in my local area!”

As opposed to 931 complaints in 2015/16, Council received 4083 complaints in 2021/22.

By unofficial agreement, residents have traditionally mowed nature strips, but it is unclear for most as to what this means as far as actual responsibility.

As the cost of maintaining nature strips on 94,200 residential properties would be cost prohibitive for Council, Council only maintains nature strips adjoining private property if they pose a hazard or block oncoming traffic’s view.

While residents are not required to maintain grass on nature strips, there are Local Laws and a Nature Strip Beautification Policy that outline what materials and plants can be added to nature strips.

Council are considering a new Local Law. In this Local Law, the law will include a clause that makes altering the nature strip beyond the permitted alterations in Council’s Nature Strip Beautification Policy an offence.

Council will also consider a provision requiring residents to maintain nature strips adjacent to their property so that grass does not exceed 20 centimetres, with a penalty to be imposed if a nature strip is not maintained as required.

In most cases, residents should be able to comply with the requirements without much difficulty. It is acknowledged that some community members do not have access to lawncare equipment/services or are physically impaired, and Council will facilitate access to services for those who genuinely cannot comply if nature strip maintenance is included in the finalised Local Law.

According to the Local Law, the penalties will be the same as those for unsightly property violations, which are currently 2 penalty units ($200).