Long grass takes over
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.
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‘‘The grass is between 18 to 24 inches long.’’
Real Estate, pages 11-22
Howick councillors Sharon Stewart and Dick Quax at the Boulevard Park, in Sunnyhills, where grass is long, wild and overgrown.