A new rapid mowing response team will soon be deployed to keep at bay the rampant grass growth across Canberra as a result of the region’s unseasonably wet weather.
The ACT Government will put aside $1.2 million in the forthcoming Budget to pay for 10 new staff across three teams to boost its existing resources and also spend $2.4 million expanding City Services’ Holder depot.
This follows an additional $1.2 million invested for surge mowing during the previous wet year.
Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel said the new pilot rapid response team would identify areas in need of urgent attention through Fix My Street reports, visual inspections, calls to Access Canberra and data inputs from the regular mowing program.
“A changing climate means we need to adapt and build resilience. That’s why we are trying new ways to keep providing great city services and respond to the community’s needs to keep our city beautiful and safe,” Mr Steel said.
The government’s mowers have faced an uphill battle over the past couple of years as the La Niña weather pattern brought higher than average rainfall to the city, prompting regular complaints from residents and more resources being thrown at the issue.
Mr Steel said the expansion of Holder depot would enable the government to boost its tree planting program to reach its target of 54,000 trees by 2024.
The expanded depot would support 11 staff in the growing urban treescapes unit, and the facilities would ensure the City Services team could continue providing weeding, litter picking and cleaning of local shops as Canberra’s newer communities grow, such as those in the Molonglo Valley.
The Holder depot works would also include new toilet facilities, which the adjoining Weston Valley Archery Club could share.
“Planting 54,000 more trees by 2024 is no small job. A bigger and better Holder depot will ensure we’ve got the facilities to deliver this program while also improving shared facilities for the adjacent archery club at the same time,” Mr Steel said.
He said Canberrans could play their part in the tree program by identifying areas that need new or replacement plantings by visiting the government’s tree map.
“Newly planted trees are maintained by TCCS for up to five years to help them get established, with trees being watered depending on the weather, age, location and species,” he said.
“We encourage Canberrans to report damaged or unhealthy trees by visiting Fix My Street.”