Saturday, June 15, 2024

Christchurch council to take over parks maintenance to cut costs

Christchurch City Council has announced it will create in-house teams of Council staff to maintain the city’s parks in a bid to cut spiralling costs.

From 1 July 2024 all parks maintenance activity, excluding tree maintenance and Sexton services (burials in cemeteries) will be carried out by Council employed staff rather than contractors, the Council said today.

“Parks, gardens and reserves are so important to everyone in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula – They’re part of our identity. By making this shift, our parks will be getting top quality, tailored maintenance,” said Committee Chair, Sam MacDonald.

“The Council was facing an increase in operational costs which would have had an impact on rates so to get this moved in-house where we can be flexible, have locally dedicated people maintaining local parks and avoid spending more ratepayer money is a real win.

“Keeping costs under control and staying within existing operational budgets was a big factor in the decision.”

The current contract for maintenance services performed by Recreational Services Ltd including mowing, sports fields, gardening, rubbish collection across councils 1,000 plus community parks was due to expire in June 2024.

Council says a number of options were considered including keeping the current mixed model service (using both contractors and in-house), a modified in-house delivery of services and full in-house delivery of services.

The decision was approved by the Finance and Performance Committee at its 25 July meeting. The Committee approved the full in-house delivery of services.

Council Head of Parks Andrew Rutledge says the new in-house model will be an extension of the way the Botanic Gardens, Ngā Puna Wai, Hagley Park, Regional Parks, and garden and heritage sites and parks on the Akaroa Harbour side of Banks Peninsula are currently maintained.

“The number of Council Staff in each team will be determined by the size and scale of the assets in each ward and we’ll be working through this over the next nine months to make sure we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2024, whilst a new citywide team aligned with the Council’s existing expert sports turf specialists will maintain sports fields across the city,” he said.

Read full Council report here.

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