Care of parks off list
THE wettest summer in 300 years has put Clarence Valley Council's open spaces and road maintenance schedules into disarray, but budgetary restraints are also playing a part in the long grass creeping into more of the valley's parks, the council's deputy general manager Des Schroder said.
The Daily Examiner received several reports of unmowed parks, weed-ridden verges and debris-cluttered gutters this week.
Sue Ulrick said a park near her home in Powell St, Grafton, had not been mowed in at least six weeks.
“The kids can't go near it – it's hopeless now, even if they mow it, they'll leave big clumps of grass,” said Mrs Ulrick.
“It was like this at Christmas, too.”
Ms Ulrick said the park across the road from Blinky Bills Childcare, Westlawn, was in a similar state as were parts of Jacaranda Park in Prince St, Grafton.
She said she had travelled across most of Australia and the toilets in Jacaranda Park were among the worst of them.
A resident of Copmanhurst also complained about the overgrown verges in the area, while P. O'Shea of South Grafton, complained about gutters in Skinner Street, South Grafton, being full of mud, sticks and leaves.
Mr Schroder said the risk of machinery becoming bogged because of the high water table explained much of the overgrowth but a need to rein in the budget was also to blame.
“We are trying to curtail the open spaces budget in record growth conditions,” he said.
Mr Schroder said parks were prioritised according to their use, with the top-rated ones including those in the valley's CBDs.
“If they are not being used – for example cricket fields – we might let it go for a while,” he said.
“We have limited resources and we are trying to rein in the budget. Every day with every new subdivision, we have more to maintain.”
Mr Schroder added that the council's maintenance programs on roads had been “blown to smitherines” by the big wet, especially the January flood.
He hoped the official end of La Nina and the ensuing drier conditions would allow work to be carried out in the near future.