Page 1725 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 June 2022
Canberra should be mown and how often. And there is a real yearning to protect our biodiversity in this city. At the moment I am hearing regular reports that City Services sometimes mows over marked Landcare areas by accident. That is a real shame. People have put a lot of work into planting those areas, and it destroys the plants and wildlife that live there. What steps are you taking to ensure City Services does not mow over known Landcare areas?
MR STEEL: I thank the member for her question. I think she has noted in her question some of the competing priorities of our mowing program, which includes safety, amenity and environmental priorities as well as ensuring that we maintain culturally significant sites and also infrastructure. So we need to make sure that we balance those priorities. We work very closely with the conservator, particularly in identifying areas that need to be considered, as part of the mowing program design. Often those areas are marked clearly with bollards to make sure that both passers-by of the public understand that these are areas that may not be mown, but also that the mowing contractors and in-house mowing teams are aware of that. TCCS works collaboratively with our volunteer groups to identify areas that should not be mown. From time to time I realise that they make mistakes in that. To help clarify that, we are undertaking consultation on an open space land management plan later on this year. This new plan will identify areas for rewilding and go into the mowing practices that will be employed on various sites around Canberra to make sure that we can meet the priorities and expectations of the community that I have outlined.
MS CLAY: Can you describe some of the challenges that City Services faces when it tries to create a no-mow area?
MR STEEL: Clearly, it is some of those competing priorities. Many people in our community expect that areas will be mown, and when they are not—even if it is for a rewilding purpose—some concerns are often raised about that. Setting clear expectations about what areas will be mown is part of the work that we want to do on the open space land management plan—to consult with the community about that and engage in a conversation about what those areas are, but also what needs to be done to more clearly mark some of those areas. I mentioned the bollards before. Is it signage? Is it fencing? Are there other types of initiatives to really clearly set out which areas, are for mowing and which are to be left for rewilding or for planting by various volunteer groups? That is something that is going to be a really useful collaborative exercise, and we are looking forward to engaging with the community on it later on in the year.
MR BRADDOCK: Has TCCS trialled any no-mow areas, as part of a demonstration or study?
MR STEEL: There are, as I mentioned, a number of areas that are not often mown, and that is for a range of different reasons. Sometimes they are marked out. It still requires, often, a conversation. I know that I have been having a conversation with Mr Pettersson and the residents in Crace about the hill in Crace, which is not necessarily mown as often as people would like. It was intended that that area would be mown less often to support biodiversity outcomes. That is a conversation that we need to have with the community. There are a number of existing sites, and we will be