Roses Get to Stay
A 93-year-old gardener in Golden Bay, Perth, can keep his prized roses after a year-long dispute with the City of Rockingham, which had ordered him to remove them due to safety concerns. Trevor Coster was informed by the council last year that his rose bushes, which were close to a footpath, posed a safety risk to passers-by and had to be removed. However, he refused and lodged a complaint with the Western Australian Ombudsman.
In late March, Mr Coster received a letter from the Ombudsman stating that it had recommended the City of Rockingham not to enforce the notice to remove the roses or take any further enforcement action. The decision was met with relief by Mr Coster, who expressed gratitude for the support of his community, including his daughter who had collected 2,000 signatures in support of his cause.
City of Rockingham Mayor Deb Hamblin maintained that the notice to remove the plants was "entirely appropriate" as the bushes encroached on council-maintained land. However, the Ombudsman recommended that the roses be allowed to remain, subject to them being maintained as far back from the footpath as possible.
Mr Coster's daughter, Lisa Dopheide, criticized the council's decision, calling it "exhausting and demoralising." She hoped that the council would take a more discretionary approach to enforcing local law in the future. Meanwhile, Mr Coster said he was looking forward to spending more time in his garden, having had some sleepless nights since he was first informed of the council's notice to remove the roses.