Jim and Erlene know their neighbours, look out for their neighbours, have a neighbourhood communication network set up and report all suspicious activity to Police.
Fostering a sense of belonging is important to Erlene and Jim and their neighbours and they recognise the importance of knowing who lives / who belongs in their street and the sense of safety this brings. Erlene and Jim host an annual BBQ/pot luck driveway dinner as an opportunity for new residents get to know each other and to enhance existing relationships.
Recently, a neighbourhood issue concerning the verge that abuts their property was affecting the quality of life for Erlene and Jim and their neighbours.
Their concerns over the verge included constant and excessive parking by local residents and non-local residents accessing free parking close to public transport and the park at the bottom of their street. The parking often resulted in intrusive behaviour, broken sprinklers and excessive weeds, as access to mow the verge area was limited due to the parking.
The issue was raised amongst the neighbours who discussed ways to take back their verge. One idea put forward was to convert the verge into a garden of native plants that attract birds, need little water and are edible indigenous plants such as Warrigal Greens and Youlk. The tree seemed a perfect place for a bench!
The neighbours approached their local Council for support who were very supportive of the idea and arranged for the grass and weeds to be removed, graded the area, supplied mulch and 100 plants, and created a path to a nearby reserve. Alex and Catherine sourced bollards, Erlene and Jim supplied the park bench and bird bath, and the maintenance of the area has been taken over by the neighbours.
This collaborative effort has seen the verge develop into something beautiful that is used by local residents, workers, walkers, young families and neighbours. The development of the native plants now attracts a number of birds creating a space to sit and admire nature.
The space is now the new location of the annual neighbourhood get together!