Auckland's wet weather is making it difficult to mow grass in some parks.
Howick Local Board Chair David Collings is calling for patience with Auckland’s wet winter weather starting to cause headaches for contractors unable to mow sodden turf across the local board area.
“People will have started to notice this already and I want to assure the community that the local board is keeping on top of this issue. I am meeting with the community facilities manager for our area every week and have insisted on regular updates to all board members so we can track progress," he says.
“The reality is the machinery they need to use would cause more damage by cutting up the ground and the contractors have been told not to mow.
“However, we have been assured that areas unable to be mowed will be monitored and audited every 10-14 days and a weed eater will be used on grass along pathways, entrances, around playgrounds, bins and seats and that signs will be installed in affected locations so the community knows why it is unmown and that it is not simple neglect.”
Mr Collings acknowledges locals’ pride in their community and says the local board was just as frustrated as the public last year when parks were not being maintained to a standard many had expected.
“Not only was it one of Auckland’s wettest winters in years but we had new contractors and the scale of problems the weather created caught everyone by surprise and things just snowballed.
“We have made it very clear we don’t want a repeat of last year and our community facilities staff have been really responsive in keeping us informed. However we accept that working on grounds when they are so wet could cause further damage and cost ratepayers more in the long run.
“We are pleased that even if mowing of whole parks cannot be carried out the parks will still be maintained.”
Army of people keeping things in order
Since July 2017, the Howick ward area has been serviced by Ventia, which is contracted to carry out maintenance on public buildings and parks.
Auckland Council’s Acting Head of Operational Management and Maintenance, Simon Randall, says on any given day there can be up to 40 people working in the area.
“With more than 266 parks,14 sports parks, four libraries, four recreation centres and seven community halls, it is a massive undertaking in just maintenance alone.
“Then we get a storm or a heavy downpour that damages things and they have to respond to clear that up.”
Residents with concerns or questions about maintenance should call the council’s 24-hour call centre on 09 301 0101.