New mowers in the fleet

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Photo: Ashburton District Council's open spaces manager David Askin with the two new Gianni Ferrari mowers.

Ashburton council’s mowing team has just about caught up with an explosion of grass growth around the district.

Significant rainfall and intermittent warm weather before the Christmas break produced unprecedented grass growth. Combined with statutory holidays and staff leave, mowing staff have been playing catch up for the last few weeks.

Ashburton council employs around seven full time mowers from its on-ground Open Spaces team of 22.

Mowing staff tackle a large area of lawns, verges and grassy areas that cover the district’s parks, gardens, reserves, subdivisions and cemeteries.

They use a variety of mowers from a fleet of 12.

The latest additions to the fleet are two Gianni Ferrari rotary collection mowers, replacing two older models.

The largest models in the fleet, the mowers cost around $40,000 each and are sleek and efficient.

Mower staff are well trained and undertake a rigorous training programme that includes a strong focus on health and safety. The team includes those classified as novices, users, supervisors and trainers, all depending on experience.

Ashburton council group manager service delivery Neil McCann said the mowing team had designated weekly and fortnightly runs.

Weekly runs covered the urban areas of Ashburton, Methven and Rakaia.

Summer was a busy time of the year for the team and in the quieter winter months, staff completed catch up jobs.

Mr McCann said the Open Spaces team covered mowing, weeding and maintenance duties over a large area that covered over 440ha.

“With holidays now over and staff and contractors back in full swing, the district’s green spaces are improving and getter better all the time.”