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Friday, May 14, 2021

Rain induces ‘surge capacity’ mowing and pothole repairs across Canberra

Recent high rainfall across the Canberra region has forced the ACT Government to spend $6 million on ‘surge capacity’ staffing to handle an inundation of necessary lawn mowing and road maintenance.

Anyone who’s been out and about around town or even just stepped outside lately will have noticed the tall grass across town brought on by the recent rains.

Despite how that may appear, Canberra’s dedicated lawn mowers are most certainly on the job, some working 12-hour shifts seven days a week to get on top of the grass.

Area supervisor for Inner South, Peter Sullivan, said his team has been “putting in a lot of effort” to quell the rapid grass growth across the ACT.

To date, the above average rainfall has left crews approximately one and a half weeks behind on their suburban mowing schedule.

“Across Canberra there’s a lot of mowers operating every day …. In the past we’d just go over and cut the grass once and it’d look great.

“Now, at times, we might have to go over it three times before the grass gets cut down.

“It’s not as easy as you may think it is … this is the worst I’ve seen it this year.”

Surge funding will provide jobs for 24 new staff to Transport Canberra and City Services’ (TCCS) lawn mowing teams through the Jobs for Canberrans fund.

“The extra 24 staff are going to make our jobs a lot easier,” Mr Sullivan said.

“Just as quick as we mow it the grass is growing up behind us.”

Area supervisor for Inner South, Peter Sullivan

The funding will also go toward leasing additional mowing equipment and extend some of TCCS’s existing mowing contracts.

“We’ve been working with the ESA and ACT Parks to undertake an additional mow in some of the fire risk areas to make sure we’re dealing with the grass before it dries out and becomes a risk,” Minister for City Services Chris Steel said.

Mr Steel said potholes have been opening on Canberra’s roads at triple the rate they usually do, which has necessitated the funding to get more contractors out on the roads.

“We’ve fixed over 2,830 potholes over the last four months alone, that’s usually more than we deal with in one financial year,” he said.

“The community has been reporting to the ACT Government potholes that have been opening up on our roads … We have been fixing around 120 potholes a day.”

The roadworks will provide not just standard patching of potholes, but also heavy patching undertaken on the arterial and major feeder roads which will see preventative and water proofing maintenance done.

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