Friday, January 27, 2023

COVID-19: Less grass cutting, no tree planting this summer in Lethbridge parks

Lethbridge residents should expect reduced Parks services this summer.

Officials say like many businesses that have opened or are beginning to re-open in modified ways, adjustments to City Parks operational services will continue to accommodate public health orders relating to COVID-19.

Parks Manager, Dave Ellis says service levels have been cut in half including mowing, trimming, litter picking, shrub maintenance, irrigation and more. “Like restaurants and other businesses, we can only run at 50% capacity until public health orders change to accommodate our usual workload.”

Ellis also notes physical distancing is a challenge for employees while riding in City vehicles and there is limited personal protective equipment available for workers who have to travel together or work closely.

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Although the City Parks Departmewnt has been forced to reduce levels of service, spending has been decreased as well.

“Throughout the spring we have worked hard to make our parks useable and safe and we are committed to continue doing our best to provide the highest level of service possible with the constraints we are facing,” says Ellis.

The following service changes will be in effect for the remainder of the summer:

  • Sports fields will be maintained more like a standard park until regular use resumes. This means less mowing and watering, no line painting and no renovation work.
  • Decorative fountains in ponds or lakes will not be installed to reduce resources required for maintenance.
  • Dryland mowing in parks and green spaces will continue but at a slower rate. The grass will be left longer this year. The grass will be mowed but it won’t be as fast as expected.
    • Priority will be given to fire guard areas, which means some roadways will have longer grass and be cut later. Dryland mowing may occur into the fall in order to get it completed before winter.
  • Irrigated turf will be mowed at a reduced frequency and trimming will not be done with each cut.
  • Irrigation will be reduced in an effort to slow grass growth and fertilizer will not be applied. The goal is to keep grass acceptably green but not actively growing.
  • Litter cleanup is typically done at the same time as mowing so trash may be more noticeable.
  • No tree planting.
  • Flowers have been planted because the flower order was placed prior to COVID-19 but maintenance will be minimal.
  • Orders for dedication benches will be accepted but installation may not happen until late in the season.
  • Garbage collection and graffiti removal will stay the same.

(Story with files from City of Lethbridge Release)

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