Value for Money in our Parks and Community facilities

Ensuring our town centres are clean, our parks mowed satisfactorily, our community centres well presented is core Council business and important for all communities. There has been ‘significant criticism’ of the levels of service in this area since amalgamation (don’t start me on losing our berm mowing). Local Boards have responsibilities for parks and community facilities but not the budget or oversight to monitor and improve the delivery of their maintenance. We have had different contractors responsible for different service tasks that specified the frequency of each activity but not necessarily the outcome. For example a lawn mowing contract might be to mow a park every two weeks. This would occur regularly throughout the year even though at times in summer, the grass hadn’t grown at all.   In the same park there potentially was one contract for mowing, another for weeding and another for tree maintenance. Each contractor would work independently and all ratepayers would see is days of orange cones!.

At our 30 March meeting I voted to change that. Now local boards will be able to work with communities to set the standard of outcomes and have those outcomes reported on every month.

This way the grass will be mowed when its need to be mowed not just because a set time has passed since it was last mowed and rubbish bins will be emptied before they are full. Contracts will be also grouped together so a visitation to one park will cover mowing, weeding tree maintenance all at the same time.

Its more efficient and effective. There are also added environmental and ecological benefits.

Mechanical edging for paths and playgrounds within parks has been negotiated as the standard service level within these contracts with year on year glyphosate reduction included. Monthly reporting on any herbicide use on a site by site basis will be provided to local boards too.

Suppliers and subcontractors will also be required to establish and document an environmental management system. At a minimum, this will monitor and measure energy conservation, water conservation, waste management and recycling.