Christchurch’s record-breaking wet winter could lead to a phenomenal amount of spring growth and higher than usual workloads for parks maintenance crews and home gardeners.
“In July we received 310mm of rain – about half the amount that Christchurch typically receives in a year. If our wet winter is followed by a warmer than usual spring, as is forecast, then we are likely to see rampant grass and vegetation growth,’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Parks Andrew Rutledge.
“We have been planning for this and we have pulled in some extra resources to help with parks maintenance over the spring, but staying on top of the growth will be challenge,’’ Mr Rutledge says.
“We have more than 1200 parks and gardens to look after across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. It is going to be a huge job to keep them all well maintained through the peak growing season so we may have to prioritise some tasks over others.
“Public safety is always our number one priority so as soon as conditions allow, we will have crews working to cut back grass and vegetation that could pose a fire risk in parks and reserves bordering residential areas.
“Another priority for us is getting our sports grounds ready for summer sport. A lot of sport is scheduled to be played on our grounds over the coming months and it is important we have them in good playing condition for the start of the season.’’
Mr Rutledge says contractors will be doing their best to keep the grass in reasonable shape in neighbourhood parks over the spring but it will be a greater challenge than normal to stay on top of all 1200 plus parks, reserves and cemeteries .
“We are scheduling some additional mowing in September so that we can try to keep ahead of the spring growthand we will be engaging additional resource on and off right up until Christmas.
"We will closely monitor demand and respond to the best of our ability within our resource constraints,'' Mr Rutledge says.