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Regional policy on spraying

Weeds in parks and streets are set to be controlled in the same way across the region with an emphasis on reduced chemical use.

But Auckland Council will ask people for their views before the policy is set in stone.

Out of control weeds and breaches of a chemical free policy were hot topics in North Shore earlier this year.

Concern peaked when chemical weed spraying was reported in March near children walking to a Shore primary school.

Auckland Transport said it was “significantly unhappy” with contractors and “sternly reminded” them not to do it again.

Earlier in the year the North Shore Times also reported on stinging criticism of out-of-control street weeds.

The arrival of the super-city split weed control between Auckland Council for parks and Auckland Transport for street weeds.

But Auckland Council plans to develop a policy in collaboration with council controlled organisations, including Auckland Transport.

A council officer’s report says Auckland Transport is required to help develop the policy and abide by it once it’s finalised.

Albany councillor Wayne Walker chairs the Environment and Sustainability Forum that has been reviewing progress on the policy.

Mr Walker failed to get support for a goal of no chemical spraying but is hopeful he can change opponents’ views.

He says it is an aspiration like a zero waste policy and believes this wasn’t grasped by everyone.

The forum is keen to see work speed up on the policy and Mr Walker hopes consultation will start in September or early October.

Progress is being keenly watched by the Weed Management Advisory that was set up two years ago over concerns about weed spraying practices under the super-city.

Spokeswoman Hana Blackmore says non-chemical methods, like the hot water spraying on the Shore, can come with big cost savings.

For example the council wouldn’t have to maintain a no spray register, she says.

Ms Blackmore says the weed policy appears to be heading in the right direction but should aim for zero chemical use.

Credits

Written by: LIZ WILLIS
Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times

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