Saturday , January 16 2021

“Attacked”: Neighbor’s “plans to cut the berm” in a rich suburb

A resident of Dunedin, Stephanie Haworth, is sitting on the grassy edge in front of her Maori Hill house, which has been mowed against her wishes. Photo / Stephen Jakuieri

A woman who lives in one of the richest suburbs of Dunedin received a reaction from nearby residents because of the decision not to mow the grassy berm in front of her house.

Maori Hill resident Stephanie Haworth stopped mowing the berm in front of her Claremont St estate after learning of the positive effect on the environment by allowing grass to grow.

However, in two separate incidents on Tuesday, people tried to mow her grass, which was an undesirable gesture, she said.

Around lunch time, someone mowed the berm without her even realizing it, and later in the day a young man arrived and continued to mow it, Haworth said.

She confronted the man and after talking to him, she suspected that the neighbors had persuaded him to do so.

“I heard that he was getting ready to cut my berm until I watched …

“I feel like I’m being attacked from all sides by people who are meant for my neighbors.”

While pruning the berm in front of her home, two years ago she stopped mowing the lawns on her property.

“When you mow the lawn, you destroy the ecosystem because you take away bees and flowers.

“And when the grass is shorter, the roots won’t grow to absorb carbon.”

People had to stop worrying about manicure nature, she said.

“Nature is not symmetrical and we are destroying our environment for the sake of suburban normalcy.

She also addressed the police and the Dunedin City Council on that issue.

Police said it was not a criminal matter, and the council told her that while it was the duty of residents to mow the berm outside their house, no one was preventing anyone from maintaining it.

Yesterday, Haworth unveiled a mural in front of her home in hopes of spreading the environmental message.

Banksy’s Balloon Girl served as the inspiration for the fresco, but instead of the red balloon, its green represented “limited nature”.

Council transport group manager Jeanine Benson said her policy stated that the nearest property owner was responsible for maintaining the grass in front of their house, even though the area was included in the council’s road reserve.

“The Council will maintain margins in special circumstances, for example in the case of access or mobility issues.”

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