Taking better care of our city

By ANNE TOLLEY, Tauranga Commission Chair

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Complaints about overlong grass and out-of-control weeds have been a consistent theme amongst the communications we have received from city residents of late.

The wettest winter, spring and summer on record, coupled with mild temperatures, have created optimum growth conditions and that means our normal mowing and maintenance schedules haven’t been ‘cutting it’.

Soft ground conditions have also prevented machinery working a lot of the time and we now have a significant catch-up effort underway to get on top of the situation, with high profile sites being prioritised and contractors working extended hours and on Saturdays. Looking beyond these short-term issues, Tauranga City Council is looking to progressively take back control of much of our parks and open spaces maintenance work, as existing contracts come to an end.

This exciting initiative is all about ensuring Tauranga remains a great place to live and play and follows a recent assessment of these maintenance activities, which indicated that we can achieve a higher level of service than the current contract model is delivering.

We want everyone to be proud of their city and keeping our open spaces well-maintained and beautiful is a key contributor to that.

So in future, activities like weeding, gardening, mowing, keeping pests at bay, looking after our dunes and walkways, keeping Mauao and other parks and reserves in perfect condition and attending to customer requests will be done in-house, by staff who are totally focused on great outcomes.

This is not about reducing costs – it’s about doing more with our current budget. That means owning the condition of our greenspace assets, delivering a high-quality service and being more agile in the way we assess our priorities and respond to community feedback. It will also create efficiencies across workstreams and by incorporating our transport network greenspaces, we will be able to deliver a consistently better ‘look and feel’ across all of our streets, gardens, parks and reserves.

Another key aspect of ‘greening’ our city is an ongoing focus on creating shady areas by planting more trees, or as a short-term solution, installing shade structures. As climate change impacts our weather, shade will become increasingly important, both for the comfort of park users and in providing sun protection.

These initiatives directly contribute to the ‘prioritise nature’ element of our city vision, which states that Tauranga is a city where “…we celebrate, protect and enhance our natural environment”. I think that is a goal we can all aspire to – working together to create the change our city needs.

Nga mihi

Related: Tauranga City Council’s strategic goals

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Anne Tolley
Anne Tolley
Tauranga Commission Chair

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