New rules allowing Canberrans to grow vegetables on their nature strips are expected by early September, the government has confirmed, with the guidelines now being finalised.
A spokeswoman for City Services Minister Meegan Fitzharris said the guidelines, which did not need legislation, were expected to be in place before the government goes into caretaker mode on September 9 for the October election.
She did not release the 29 submissions and 327 survey responses, but the final guidelines are not expected to be significantly different to the draft rules released for comment in February.
The draft would allow householders to plant ground cover, native grass, fruit and vegetables and shrubs without getting approval. They can also install temporary fences using rope, string and hardwood stakes to protect new plants, and use garden edging of stone, brick or timber up to 15 centimetres high.
More extensive work, including irrigation and synthetic turf, is allowed with special approval. People can also seek permission for bollards 1 to 1.2 metres high to stop people parking on nature strips.
The draft guidelines proposed a ban on ponds, fountains, permanent fencing, retaining walls, letterboxes, shipping containers, chicken runs, play equipment, boulders, pavers and concrete paths and new trees. Snail bait and chemical sprays would also be banned.
The draft guidelines also proposed a height limit of 50 centimetres for vegetables, which drew the ire of an O'Connor couple with an extensive garden outside their home. The height limit, designed to ensure that line of sight is not blocked for cars, would make it difficult to grow vegetables such as tomatoes and corn, even beans, and might be one of the proposals under review for the final guidelines.
Nature strips cannot be planted in "garden city" heritage precincts under the draft proposal, including the Barton housing precinct, areas of Braddon and Reid, the Corroboree Park and Wakefield Gardens precincts in Ainslie, and areas in Forrest and Griffith. Those areas must remain in grass.