Council moves to standardise contracts
A proposed review of the Auckland Council’s maintenance contracts across the city would see a reduction in the use of chemical weed sprays in parks.
Project 17 outlines the maintenance contracts for more than 5000 council sites, which expire on June 30, 2017. The sites include parks, buildings and open spaces, and the project splits the city into five contract areas.
Auckland Council’s general manager of community facilities Rod Sheridan told the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board that Project 17 is about having ‘‘smarter, better managed contracts and improving our services’’ and having ‘‘standardised contracts with flexibility’’.
He says the proposal, which has been in discussions since September 2016, will streamline and standardise service and maintenance around the city.
The three core contracts outlined in the proposal are, a full facilities contract, including open spaces and building maintenance, and two specialised contracts for arboriculture, including pruning, tree removal and planting, and ecological work, including removal of pests.
The proposal outlines weed management focused on reducing the use of chemicals. Manual and mechanical weed controls are currently used in and around children’s playgrounds, and that won’t change, but mechanical edging would also be used along paving and other hard edges under the new contracts.
The reduction in the use of agrichemicals would be closely monitored.
‘‘That’s a big change across the region around herbicide use.’’
Site-specific exceptions to the rule will be discussed with local boards in April and May.
Sheridan says Project 17 is also outcome-driven.
‘‘At the moment, our contracts are very prescriptive where we say, ‘You will go to this park every fortnight, you will empty that rubbish bin once a day’ … So what we’re going to do is outcomebased where we say, ‘The grass will not be over this height, the rubbish bin will be clean.’
‘‘There will be no reduction in the amount of existing services, if anything service levels will be improved.’’
Sheridan also says local boards would have the opportunity to vary service levels to suit their own areas. The recommended contracts will be presented to the Finance and Performance Committee on March 30.