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Making our parks spray free

Campaign gathers steam

Published: 26 March 2018

Waitematā Local Board has been told that any move to stop using agrichemical controls will only work if contractors have the tools to replace sprays.

The board has been consulting on its priorities as part of akhaveyoursay.nz with a move to non-spray-based management being advocated for some of the board’s parks.

For the Love of Bees member Sarah Smuts-Kennedy told the board that the Regenerative Parks concept was evolving and as a champion of spray-free management, the board could take an even bigger role.

“We have to be able to demonstrate to contractors that alternative methods work and that means we have to have the toolkit available,” she says.

Smuts-Kennedy said Christchurch was leading the way and Hamilton was investigating adopting similar methods. “We are talking about using a super-hot water blaster that would be ideal for city parks and an electro-thermal lance. The lance is rather like a lightning bolt through the roots.”

She said she was exploring avenues of funding but asked the board to contribute to a fund that could “top-up” contractors if they were using extra hours to use the methods. “We need to remove funding as a barrier.”

By using the tools, information could be collected to present to council on the economics of the methods.

Highwic in Newmarket is testing steam technology and council members have watched various demonstrations. 

The AUT Northern Campus on the North Shore is also collaborating with For the Love of Bees to explore how the campus can become friendlier for bees, raising the possibility of becoming spray-free. 

Herne Bay Playcentre has also registered interest in making use of equipment as soon as it becomes available and to regenerate their commons by becoming a pollinator sanctuary. 

Board chair Pippa Coom said residents have been calling for a reduction of agrichemical use in parks and the board supported it.

“As part of our Local Board Plan consultation, we have asked if the community supports our priority in this area. It is quite complex because it would involve contract variations, but Regenerative Parks is something this board advocates.”

Supported by board member Denise Roche, the board resolved to ask Community Facilities staff to report back on the deliverability of the Regenerative Parks initiative.