Welcome to Jurassic Park, Northcote
Long-grass and weeds choke the entrance to Tuff Crater, making the reserve look like a scene from dinosaur blockbuster Jurassic Park.
For several weeks, a plethora of complaints regarding unmown grass on reserves have swamped community Facebook, Neighbourly and the North Shore Times pages, from all four corners of the North Shore.
The grass has got so high in a Hillcrest reserve, Girl Guide Emily Whineray wrote to the North Shore Times saying she had struggled to put up a tent.
Auckland Council admits its new contractors have had teething problems, which have been exacerbated by an exceptionally wet winter.
Resident Mike Nesbitt said the wet weather wasn’t an excuse, and a recreational area next to Northcote College has been the most overgrown it has been in the 15 years he has walked in the area.
Tracy Peers from Castor Bay said Monarch Park was in the worst state it had been in the 30-plus years she has lived in the neighbourhood.
Recreational Services maintained the North Shore’s parks, sporting fields and reserves for 23 years until Australian company Ventia took over, on July 1.
Under its contract, there was no set schedule for mowing but rather it was required to ensure the grass stayed below the maximum length permitted.
Auckland Council’s Agnes McCormack admitted the new contractor ‘‘initially faced some difficulties’’.
‘‘They are currently working up to seven days a week to catch up on mowing and gardens,’’ McCormack said.
Anne Denny, who runs the weed volunteer groups Tuff Crater Restoration Project said it has been very, very wet in some parts of Tuff Crater. ‘‘I’ve never seen it that bad before,’’ Denny said. The overgrown grass makes it hard for Denny and her volunteers, because the weeds start to climb up the trees.
McCormack said Ventia started mowing Tuff Crater on Tuesday and the council expects it to be completed by end of November 20.
‘‘Our staff are out in the field daily. We are confident our approach is having an effect and the situation will continue to improve,’’ McCormack said.
The entrance to Tuff Crater is choked with weeds and overgrown grass, as Auckland Council contrators face difficulties.