Odile Norton, Clovelly
Two months ago, I decided to plant some plants in a bare strip of pavement opposite my house in Hilton Road, Clovelly. Neighbours kindly donated some slips of plants from their gardens. I bought compost and a few succulents from the nursery and added to the area, which was looking attractive and colourful. I carried buckets of water across to keep the garden going during the hot weather. I received appreciative comments from neighbours and people who passed by this bright patch of colour.
Imagine my horror last week when my next-door neighbour pointed out that she had seen a woman and her two gardeners digging up and removing all the plants and placing them in black bags. When I asked why she was doing this, she replied that she was from the Riverine Rovers and that all these were alien plants to the wetland.
This person did not stop to ask who had planted this garden or whether the person would like the plants back to put in their own garden.
Our neighbourhood-watch cameras were consulted and, sure enough, we saw this person on camera marching off with the plants. The camera noticed her two helpers entering the wetland reed bed with their bags of plants. After being informed of this by the neighbourhood watch, we went in search of these black bags the next morning. Sure enough, we found two black bags dumped in the reed beds. What kind of conservationist is this?
What we object to is the manner in which this person went about doing this. Surely good manners would have prompted a person to find out who had planted the plants and return them to that person concerned and explain why these types of plants shouldn’t be planted in this area.
• Riverine Rovers chairman Dave Balfour responds:
Our common interest as the Riverine Rovers is in taking action to improve and maintain the Lower Silvermine Wetland which falls within a City conservation area and thus under City management.
Although I have no direct experience of the plants that were removed, I understand that they were removed by the City as they were not indigenous plants and they were illegally planted in the conservation area.
• Mayoral committee member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien responds:
Concerned members of the community notified the City about the illegal encroachment on Hilton Road.
The City received no communication requesting authorisation to plant on council property, and thus the unauthorised planting on council property was an illegal act and the plants were removed.
An environmental manager was there to oversee the removal answer all queries by concerned residents. Due to Covid-19-related staff shortages, we are not removing litter and other waste as often as we would like. The plants were placed in black bags to prevent them from spreading their genetic material into the wetlands. The bags were stored temporarily in the reeds until the parks truck was available to pick them up.
Residents are advised to contact the City to enquire before planting in an area they are not sure about.