The effect of Auckland Council’s decision to lower maintenance standards within its parks has become noticeable over summer.
The sudden appearance of dead brown grass edges around parks and playgrounds has resulted in a flood of complaints according to Rodney Local Board member Greg Sayers.
To save money Auckland Council’s governing body voted to drop traditional mechanical edging using weed eaters for cheaper glyphosate chemical spraying around parks, reserves and gardens across all of Auckland.
The first round of spraying began in October 2015 and will be completed during January 2016.
For norwest Rodney this means a saving to Council of around $74,000 pa and a total saving of $147,535 pa across all of Rodney according to Mr Sayers.
“People don’t like the way the parks are looking and many are concerned about the harm of glyphosate spray drift”, says Mr Sayers.
He believes people are particularly concerned that chemicals are being used so close to children play areas, early childhood centres and retirement areas and they want Council to return to using weed eaters for maintaining the grass edges around parks.
Recreational Services, the Auckland Council contractor used for maintaining Rodney’s parks, is able to replace chemical with mechanical edging provided the cost shortfall is covered by Auckland Council.
However, the Councillors say they will not provide the necessary $147,535 saying this must be come from the Rodney Local Board’s own budget.
“Ratepayers expect a certain level of service from their rates and this drop in service is very unpopular”, says Mr Sayers.
He says the Rodney Local Board wants to step up to the mark to bridge the funding gap allowing a return to the old maintenance standards but only has $24,000 which will only stop the spraying around park gardens.
Ratepayer’s opinion’s about the Councillors’ decision to drop park service standards will be sort through the Auckland Council’s annual planning and budgeting process and Mr Sayers is strongly encouraging residents to voice their opinion.
The annual planning process will be running between 15 February and 15 March 2016. Public feedback forms will be available at the Helensville and Kumeu libraries, the Helensville and Huapai Auckland Council customer service centres, and online at the Shapeauckland.co.nz website.
The use of chemical sprays on street berms is a separate activity controlled by Auckland Transport. This spraying is primarily for the control of weeds. Auckland Transport operates a no-spray register for people who do not want chemical spraying outside of their house.