Taupo District Council tells Kim Eyles to remove his berm garden
Kim Eyles ran for the Taupo mayoralty with a vision of growing food for the community from public land.
Now, two weeks after starting a garden on the edge of his property, Eyles has been asked to remove it.
"Some people have a metre of flax, or wood chips [over their berm], which is acceptable," Eyles said.
"This garden will only need a season and if it turns out gangbusters, we'll have heaps of food."
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Eyles said he expected people to tell him to use his own backyard for a garden, rather than the public land between his property and the road.
However, it was the concept of using public land to grow food that appealed to him and was the motivation behind the berm garden, rather than his specific need, he said.
"It just needs time and people putting time into the gardens, and it can be done," he said.
"It may create a unity in the community where, on a nice afternoon, people come out and start socialising in the gardens, doing the maintenance together."
The roadside garden Eyles dug up uses 1.5 metres of the grass berm in front of his Cumberland St house.
It is lined with wooden slats and metal pipes hold up the protective netting.
A council officer visited Eyles on Wednesday and asked him to remove the garden within 24 hours.
Eyles said it seemed the structure was the issue, rather than the garden bed itself.
"But if you don't have that to begin with, you haven't got a garden because of the cats, dogs and birds," he said.
"Every cat in the neighbourhood will find your garden to do their business."
Taupo District Council was asked which bylaw Eyles' garden was in breach of.
Chief executive Gareth Green said permission to use public land in any way needed council's okay, as per the council's Tree and Vegetation Policy.
"This is to protect the public's safety as well as allowing the land to be serviced and to ensure the visual amenity of berms are maintained," he said.
"In this instance, permission to create a garden on a berm was not requested, and Mr Eyles, as the adjoining land owner, was asked to remove it."
The Tree and Vegetation Policy's clause 2.4 says residents are responsible for the lawn maintenance of the council berm adjoining their property.
"No planting or modification of the berm is to occur without the prior consent of the council in accordance with General Bylaw No. 1 2008."
Green said requests to modify berms would be put to the Fences, Roading, Reserves and Dogs Committee for consideration.
Eyles said he would be happy to comply with the council's request.
He requested permission for the berm garden on Monday morning after learning of the need to do so.