Council says ‘significant progress’ made on mowing backlog
“SIGNIFICANT progress” has been made on tackling the huge backlog of overgrown green spaces across Ipswich according to a senior council officer leading the charge.
Councillors took action last month to address the wave of complaints by residents about parks, reserves and footpaths in desperate need of mowing after summer rain.
CEO David Farmer has been authorised to take “immediate action” required to clear the backlog, including by freeing up money in the budget.
A report which will look at options to improve the council’s response during high-growth periods in the future is being prepared by council officers.
Division 3 Councillor Andrew Fechner said last month it was clear the level of service wasn’t meeting the community’s expectations.
Acting general manager for infrastructure and environment Sean Madigan told councillors at Thursday’s ordinary meeting while a new long-term strategy was being explored, work was being done in the short term to try and address the issue.
“(The council) has engaged 13 contingent labourers and placed pressure on our contractors to perform works required,” he said.
“We are making significant progress, however, the weather at present is certainly going to be of concern with the hot, humid weather and rain.”
Mr Madigan said the largest number of requests for service were coming from Redbank Plains and Collingwood Park.
“What we have identified … is the black soil in those particular areas causes the grass to grow significantly upon receiving rain and the right weather conditions,” he said.
“What we are doing at the moment is putting as much council resources into those areas as possible to resolve those service requests.
“We’re also reviewing our service standards so previously a lot of the areas were on a nine week mowing cycle. We’ve identified that isn’t sufficient in some of those areas.
“We’ve prepared a report to come back to council to bring those nine week mowing cycles back into a six week mowing cycle.
“The costs associated with that are not overly significant.”
Mr Madigan said the council was investigating ways to make its system more efficient, including the best way to allocate council employees and contractors.
More than 120 council staff and contractors manage more than 1000ha of open space across the city, including sport fields and more than 630 parks and reserves.
“They have been working overtime every day and Saturdays to produce the outcomes our community expects … under very difficult circumstances,” Mr Madigan said.
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