Auckland Council staff and contractors will be back out in the field as early as next week to resume work protecting and enhancing the region’s natural environment.
Under Level 4 lockdown rules, most conservation work and environmental projects were deemed to be non-essential work and placed on hold.
Auckland Council is supportive of the government’s intention to eliminate COVID-19, so while not all projects will be immediately revived, those considered to be high-priority and where contractors and staff can work in a COVID-19-safe way will be first out of the blocks.
“Auckland Council is keen to get independent operators back into work as soon as is practicable,” says Phil Brown, Auckland Council's Head of Natural Environment Delivery.
“We appreciate this is their livelihood and it’s been tough for them during this period. We’re supporting them to be 'work ready' so their return to work can be seamless within the confines of the COVID-19 guidelines."
The nature of the projects will include conservation work involving kauri dieback, pest animal and plant control and time-critical, seasonal tree planting preparation; all projects which need consistent resourcing and attention to be effective.
Councillor Richard Hills, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee says, “Every day across Tāmaki Makaurau our contractors and staff carry out work to protect and restore our natural environment. The level 4 lockdown has really shown us all the value of this work and how much it is missed.
“It’s great they can now start picking these projects and contracts up where they left off while ensuring safety for all staff, contractors and their whānau across our city. Investing in jobs and our environment now is more important than ever.“
Hunting work, backcountry works, and higher risk works involving boats, abseiling or chainsaws will not recommence until a lower alert level has been achieved.
Auckland Council has worked with the Department of Conservation to ensure their alert level 3 practices are consistent.