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Ipswich City Council gets back to grassroots with some turf love

Ipswich will look a whole lot neater all year round with Ipswich City Council spending an additional $550,000 on mowing costs over the next year.

The 10 per cent yearly average increase, which features in Thursday’s annual budget, comes after last summer’s unprecedented wet weather saw grass grow quickly.

Mayor Teresa Harding said a special “flying squad” would be used to target areas in parks and reserves where grass was growing especially quickly.

“Council is so often about grassroots issues, and this is especially relevant here where in summer grass can quickly reach waist height,” Mayor Harding said.

“Not only does it look unsightly, but it can also become a safety hazard.

“We will be increasing the mowing schedule from every nine weeks to every six weeks.

“As necessary, we will be employing extra contractors to help maintain parks, key footpaths and median strips during times of high growth.”

Large parks such as Queens Park, Kholo Gardens and Colleges Crossing are mown weekly, while other parks are on a three-weekly schedule. Footpaths, drains, and rural roads were on a nine-week program.

As an example of the task at hand, Redbank Plains Recreational Reserve can take up to five days to complete a full maintenance visit.

Council officers worked especially hard during the summer of 2020-21 but were overwhelmed by conditions leading to resident complaints.

“All councillors received considerable feedback from the community over the summer about overgrown grass in our parks, sporting fields, reserves and kerbsides,” Mayor Harding said.

“But council has listened to residents and taken action to ensure we don’t see a repeat of the past summer.”

Mayor Harding is delivering the 2021-22 Ipswich City Council budget today with a focus on roads, kerb and channelling and revitalisation of the CBD.

“The new budget has included $550,000 in increased operational mowing costs for 2021-22,” Mayor Harding said.

About 50 workers split across eight maintenance teams maintain the city’s suburban open spaces, including mowing.

A total of about 120 workers are in the Open Space team that looks after council’s sport fields and large parks and this number of staff varies with seasonal demand.

Last summer these teams were stretched to the limit cutting leave, along with working overtime and weekends to ensure the mowing was done.

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