LETHBRIDGE, AB – Cut-backs in park maintenance means you’ll likely notice longer grass in dryland areas and more weeds in mulch beds this summer.
The overall parks department budget has been reduced by $600,000 annually for 2021 and beyond.
It comes as a result of the recent City-wide operational review which aimed to find efficiencies and cost savings across the board.
Parks Manager Dave Ellis says staffing levels, start and end times for seasonal workers, and service levels are all affected.
He says “we’ve lost 13 of our staff this year, we’re short over last year, and that seriously affects our ability to pretty much do as much as we did in the past. It affects our ability to be resilient and react as quickly as we have to complaints or service requests.”
Ellis says staff are still committed to providing the highest level of service possible and will ensure park space is healthy and can be enjoyed by residents.
The following service level changes will be in effect for 2021 and beyond:
- Dryland mowing in parks and green spaces will continue at 1-2 times per year, down from 3-4 times. Priority will be given to fire breaks, along pathways and fence lines and along roadways where grass may inhibit sightlines for motorists. Some dryland areas, such as large fields and beside roadways where safety is not a concern will be left longer
- Trimming around trees, posts, and fence lines will be reduced to 1-2 times per season from 3-4 times per season
- Irrigated turf will be mowed at a more regular frequency and more often than it was in 2020. Irrigation and fertilization will be reduced to slow growth to a maintainable rate. Crews will take a targeted approach to trouble areas as needed
- Tree planting will return to a normal level by planting about 300 trees, up from 0 last year
- Sports fields and feature parks such as Henderson Park, Nicholas Sheran Park and Legacy Park will be mowed regularly
- Flower planting will return to a normal level after being reduced in 2020.
- Orders for dedication benches will be accepted, but installation may not happen until late in the season
- Garbage collection and graffiti removal will not be impacted
You can still call 311 if you have questions or would like to submit a parks-related service request.