I write to voice my disappointment with the Bass Coast Shire’s stance on the Kentwell family’s nature strip vegie patch. It appears that this is discrimination against the Kentwells. If one takes a look at the nature strips of the Bass Coast with an eye for this issue, one will discover that the ‘one native tree and lawn’ rule is broken by every third or fourth nature strip. I myself have two trees on my nature strip, one which isn’t a native, and yet I haven’t been asked to remove that unlawful tree. Asking around I can’t find anyone who has been asked to remove non-natives or additional trees and plants. I’m not calling for the removal of those hundreds of unlawful plants and trees but rather the same reasonable attitude that has been afforded everyone else.
Alternatively, the rule should have some flexibility and logic written into it. What seems most unfair is that the Kentwells’ nature strip is one of the few in the shire that actually serves a useful and healthy purpose. Perhaps that is the reason for its removal? Mr Kentwell gives many excellent reasons for the productive uses of nature strips, and the community and council would benefit greatly by embracing these healthy, intelligent and timely ideas. I often wonder what the shire’s vision for the community actually is.
What are the values that govern these decisions? A mix of American-style OH&S litigious anxiety with a 1950s English amenity? These rules and permits just stifle any progression, any creativity, imagination – just so restrictive and pointless. All of the reasons given by Director of Infrastructure Felicity Sist for removing the vegie patch could equally apply to native trees and plants. Regarding navigating vegies when getting out of car, surely leaving some space is all that’s needed, rather than a wholesale ban. As most nature strips in the shire are very large, why not use this space productively?
Tom Murray-White, South Dudley.