Long grass takes over

Eastern Courier - - FRONT PAGE - TARANNUM SHAIKH

Long wild grass in East Auck­land pub­lic parks and re­serves has res­i­dents an­noyed by the lack of man­age­ment by the Auck­land Coun­cil.

Over­grown grass has taken over what are usu­ally fam­i­lyfriendly pic­nic spots and play ar­eas.

Res­i­dents have taken to the East Auck­land Grapevine Face­book page to see if other lo­cal ar­eas have been af­fected too and re­alised it was a How­ick ward­wide is­sue.

How­ick coun­cil­lors Dick Quax and Sharon Ste­wart are tak­ing a stand against the poor main­te­nance of their ward’s parks.

Quax says a re­cent photo he took of Bram­ley Re­serve, near Paku­ranga Sail­ing Club, il­lus­trates just how bad the prob­lem is.

‘‘[It’s] a very pop­u­lar park for peo­ple to pic­nic, kids to play. The park has got to a stage where once we do mow it, it’s still go­ing to be in a ter­ri­ble state.

‘‘The grass there is some­where be­tween 18 and 24 inches long.’’

Go­ing through photos of var­i­ous pub­lic re­serves, Ste­wart shows one where grass is cut and left be­hind in an un­even man­ner.

‘‘It would be very hard to find a park in the whole of How­ick, Paku­ranga and Botany that hasn’t been butchered,’’ she says.

Quax and Ste­wart say the prob­lem be­gan af­ter July when the coun­cil’s new con­trac­tors, Ven­tia, came on board with a $266 mil­lion con­tract for five years.

Show­ing a photo of a re­serve near his Paku­ranga home, Quax asks: ‘‘Who wants to go to a pic­nic ta­ble when you have to go through tiger coun­try?’’

‘‘I’ve lived in this house since 2002 and I’ve never seen it like this.’’

Ste­wart says the long grass can also at­tract pests to breed.

‘‘Peo­ple are con­tact­ing us daily on the mice in­fil­tra­tion. Some­thing does have to hap­pen and it re­ally needs to be looked at.’’

The coun­cil head of con­tract and sup­plier man­age­ment, Heidi Walk­ley, says the coun­cil re­alises the main­te­nance of parks and re­serves has not been up to reg­u­lar stan­dard.

‘‘Due to the ex­cep­tion­ally wet win­ter and early spring it has been dif­fi­cult for con­trac­tors to mow be­cause of the high risk of ma­chin­ery caus­ing ruts and other dam­age to the ground be­low.

‘‘This, com­bined with is­sues around mo­bil­i­sa­tion has led to non-com­ple­tion of re­quired works,’’ she says.

Con­tin­ued on page 3

Price: $1,100,000 Four-bed­room weath­er­board home on the mar­ket for the first time in 46 years. Corner site of 1002 sq m, ideally lo­cated. Sold by Jeff Clay­ton, Bayleys How­ick.

‘‘The grass is be­tween 18 to 24 inches long.’’

Real Es­tate, pages 11-22

TARANNUM SHAIKH / STUFF

How­ick coun­cil­lors Sharon Ste­wart and Dick Quax at the Boule­vard Park, in Sun­ny­hills, where grass is long, wild and over­grown.

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