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City’s mowing crews looking to cut safety problems for road users

By Glynis Quinlan 6 January 2019 42

Traffic intersections will be the first priority for the city’s mowing crews. Photo: Supplied.

The city’s mowing crews are riding back into action with gusto amid concerns that Canberra’s public spaces have become overgrown – with potential safety problems for road users.

Traffic intersections will be the first priority for the Transport Canberra and City Services mowing crews who returned from the festive break this week to find the grass had grown rapidly while they were away.

“The hot weather and rainfall in late 2018 has helped fuel grass growth across our city,” Acting Director of City Presentation, Michael Brice said.

“In addition to the weekly mowing cycle and to help get on top of the excessive growth, we will have more than 25 mowers working overtime this Saturday and again the following Saturday. If the dry conditions continue, we expect to get on top of the recent growth in the coming weeks.”

The ACT Government is responsible for mowing approximately 4,697 hectares of irrigated and non-irrigated grass in urban open spaces, sportsgrounds and at the urban edge.

There is a base mowing fleet of 73 mowers which is supported throughout the mowing season by contract mowers.

Mr Brice said that after focusing on traffic intersections, the mowing crews will target parks and green spaces on shared paths.

“Of particular concern is the ongoing problem of African Lovegrass (ALG) which is the source of much of the long grass, particularly along main roads,” Mr Brice said.

“ALG can grow very rapidly after being cut, particularly in response to rain and may throw seed heads as tall as 600mm within two to three weeks giving affected parts of the city an untidy and unkempt appearance shortly after mowing.

“To help restrict the spread of ALG, strategies are being developed that include modified mowing practices and additional herbicide spraying, particularly adjacent to high-value conservation areas,” he said.

“TCCS will be expanding the current program in areas that adjoin native grasslands and nature reserves, and will implement a reduction and containment program along main roads to help restrict the spread to non-infested areas.

“We are hopeful that our expanded containment program will, over time, work to reduce the opportunity for this weed to threaten our high-value conservation areas and further extend into open space areas.”

For more information about the city’s mowing program please click here.

Have you been concerned about any overgrown public spaces? Let us know in the comments below.


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42 Responses to
City’s mowing crews looking to cut safety problems for road users
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Mike of Canberra 11:31 pm 06 Jan 19

I have seen a comment from Rose Deo of Forrest to the effect that the untidy state of Canberra’s municipal areas makes her wonder what she pays her rates for. In response, Ben Jones has referred to this as being “spoken like someone from Forrest also”. Not quite sure what Ben’s getting at here, but my reading of Rose’s comments is that, like many people around Canberra, she’s sick of seeing her living environment deteriorate despite paying record rates. Perhaps she’s also concerned that this can only get worse, given reports the ACT Budget is in serious trouble despite record revenues, notably from rates. Maybe she’s also noted yesterday’s reports that the ACT Government’s delays in selling off a number of public housing and other assets around the city has potentially put in jeopardy matching payments from the Commonwealth under the Asset Recycling Initiative, all intended to help pay for Light Rail. Conceivably, she’s seen today’s reports that Stage I of Light Rail risks becoming a White Elephant due to electrical installations along its 12 km that fail to meet required standards. All of this indicates one thing: that Canberrans can expect to pay even steeper rates and receive even less for them than what we’ve experienced to date. So Ben, if that’s what you mean by being spoken like a true Forrest resident, I applaud your response. If on the other hand, it’s intended as a cheap shot at someone simply because they live in Forrest, I’d suggest a rapid move away from Barr-inspired abuse.

Les Eite 10:59 pm 06 Jan 19

Have anyone seen the new trees planted on Flemington road. No one cares waste of money and watering them during the day that’s a bit stupid

Darren Goddard 10:39 pm 06 Jan 19

My back yard!

Margus von Tihemetsa 10:33 pm 06 Jan 19

It's not just the grass either - most old suburban streets and footpaths are lined with debris like bark, gum leaves and wood chips. A lot of green waste comes down and floats around during storms and most of it is never cleaned up.

Brydie Kelly 9:15 pm 06 Jan 19

The whole of Tuggeranong. Stop contracting the mowing out, they don't care. They make a horrid mess afterwards and it's not done anywhere near as frequently as it needs to be. It doesn't just look bad, it's a fire hazard and haven for snakes!

John Williams 9:11 pm 06 Jan 19

The problem is ACT Government wide. Contractors. No pride in the job done. In years gone by the mowers were operated by Government employees. These days it is costing more and the work is not up to standard.

Mat Barber 8:20 pm 06 Jan 19

They’ve been overgrown for years, clearly the budget has gradually been reduced, the GDE looked nice when it was built and within six months there is weeds everywhere, have some pride like we used to when the Federal Government maintained the city, everything is dead and overgrown now

Donna Westcott 8:16 pm 06 Jan 19

It's not just grass that's a problem some. Some street name signs are hidden by tree branches.

Warren Morris 7:49 pm 06 Jan 19

The mowing in Canberra is woefully inadequate!

Capital Retro 7:34 pm 06 Jan 19

Meanwhile, the arboretum is squeaky clean.

Kelly Hughes 7:18 pm 06 Jan 19

Around ANY of the ponds in Gungahlin... oh wait, no that’s the ‘native grasses’ planted which not only look terrible but are the perfect snake habitat. 😒

Tracey Crump 7:06 pm 06 Jan 19

All alongKingsford Smith Drive, both the median strip and footpaths. Looks disgraceful, and also a traffic/ pedestrian hazard due to reduced visibility. In a region known for poisonous snakes, the generally overgrown state of most of our public spaces in both summer and winter is negligent and dangerous. This has little to do with recent weather, the mowing schedule across all seasons is just inadequate, and has been for years now.

Angel Belle 6:55 pm 06 Jan 19

All around Chisholm and along Isabella Drive is completely overgrown. You can’t see anything. Same with all the grass on the roundabouts where you can’t see either

Lisa Barry 5:48 pm 06 Jan 19

What about the Barton Highway coming into the ACT.. Its embarrassing, and doesn’t get any better from that point either .

Michelle Preston 5:02 pm 06 Jan 19

Cotter road near the turn off to the Governor Generals needs doing

Janine Baines 4:55 pm 06 Jan 19

That’s what happens when it’s hot, then it rains. Be patient people.

    Lucian Burca 2:29 pm 07 Jan 19

    Oh, really? How often did you see the mowers in action since September 2018? I've seen them twice, at the beginning of the Spring and these days.... And I'm driving through all Canberra almost daily.

    “The hot weather and rainfall in late 2018 has helped fuel grass growth across our city,” Acting Director of City Presentation, Michael Brice said.

    “In addition to the weekly mowing cycle and to help get on top of the excessive growth, we will have more than 25 mowers working overtime this Saturday and again the following Saturday. If the dry conditions continue, we expect to get on top of the recent growth in the coming weeks.”

    Weekly mowing cycle... Really?....

Robyne Mitchell 4:53 pm 06 Jan 19

I often wonder about their thoughts in telling us to be wary of Angel weed and Fire weed, but the public areas are covered in them. They ave no horticulturists only mowing people, who mow and that does not get rid of the weeds!

Rose Deo 4:48 pm 06 Jan 19

All around Forrest .... seriously wonder what the ridiculously high rates are paying for

Wing Nut 4:44 pm 06 Jan 19

Weed and general suburban and street scape maintenance in Canberra is an embarrassment as the nation’s capital. Majura Parkway’s a weed farm, parts of Gungahlin town centre are in dire needs of a trim and spray. Palmerston parks are mowed regularly but there’s little to no follow-on trimming and spraying. This is the sort of ‘back to basic services’ the Barr Government has neglected.

Ann Edwards 4:36 pm 06 Jan 19

The oval next to Wanniassa High School tennis courts is knee high and is not mowed very often.

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