Streetscape Maintenance Council Meeting 10 May 2022
10 May 2022
Item No: C0522(1) Item 8
Subject: Streetscape Maintenance Service Standard
Prepared By: Lachlan Broadbent - Manager Parks and Streetscape Operations
Authorised By: Cathy Edwards-Davis - Director Infrastructure
1. Endorse the inhouse service delivery of the parks and verge mowing programs within the former Ashfield Council area; and
2. Increase the service standard for verge maintenance to a 20 working day cycle from October to March and a 40 day working cycle from April to September
On the 25 June 2019, Council adopted the following streetscape service levels across the Inner West:
1. Adopt a service standard for street sweeping of seven days per week for mainstreets;
2. Retain the existing service standard for street sweeping of a 40 working day cycle for residential streets;
3. Adopt option 4 – extending a full verge mowing service in the former Ashfield LGA and rescind the Mowing of Verges Policy of the former Ashfield Council;
4. Adopt a service standard for verge maintenance of a 20 working day cycle from November to March and a 40 day working cycle from April to October.
In addition to the above, on the 9 February 2021, Council adopted a planned quarterly high-pressure cleaning service to all main street town centres between 3 am and 6am using in-house staff with residual capacity dedicated to reactive works, parks playground and hotspot mowing activities.
In August 2019, Council called tenders for the park and streetscapes mowing services for the former Ashfield Council area. A contractor was engaged to deliver the service from 1 November 2019.
Following a period of providing assistance and operational advice to the contractor, their contract was terminated in February 2021, as they failed to meet their obligations under the contract. Staff and the contractor believe that they had underestimated the cost of the service and they could not meet the service standards or schedule of works as set out in the contract.
From January 2021, Council’s Streetscape Operations staff have been trialing the inhouse delivery of the verge mowing service in the former Ashfield Council area to meet the service standards set by Council.
At the November Ordinary Meeting Council resolved that a report be brought back to the March 2022 Ordinary Council Meeting on service standards for grass verge mowing including considerations on how the sustainable streets program will contribute to this.
A separate policy is being developed on Council’s verge planting program and it is envisaged that this will not impact on the current service standards for some time.
There have been a number of challenges in delivering the summer service standards for verge mowing over the past summer due to increased wet days, Covid -19 impacts and the recruitment of staff for the summer mowing months has been more difficult than previously experienced. Council has responded by redirecting staff onto verge mowing and allowing existing crews to work additional hours.
In January 2022, an independent consultant was engaged to undertake a review of Council’s Streetscape and Parks operations for the Inner West service delivery model to be delivered by Council staff and to ensure Council’s services are being provided in the most effective and efficient manner possible, to ensure appropriate service standards for an inner city area and to represent value for the ratepayer. The outcome has confirmed the necessary increase in budget required for this work as well as an increase in the summer service levels by an additional month.
Increased Service Delivery Standards
It is proposed to undertake an inhouse delivery of the parks and streetscape mowing service, in the former Ashfield Council area.
The service standard for the entire Inner West Council area for verge mowing would be a 20 day cycle in Summer, from October to March and a 40 day cycle in Winter, from April to September. This increases the Summer verge mowing by one additional month (October). Further, Council staff would monitor the seasonal weather patterns and employ the Summer casual staff to suit the peak seasonal conditions.
For the parks and sporting ground mowing, the service level is in accordance with the Inner West Open Space Presentation Standards for Park and Sporting Grounds prioritised service levels.
This requires an additional 12 permanent FTE inhouse staff. The 12 FTE will be divided between the verge mowing and park mowing services. To meet the seasonal demands, one additional casual agency staff would be employed for the Summer period.
This would cost approximately $489,820 per annum additional to the current parks and streetscape operational budget and has been allocated in the draft 2022/23 budget which is currently on exhibition.
It is envisaged that with the additional month of summer service levels would provide better coverage for the longer growing season.
This will result in an additional $489,820 cost to Council per annum which has been included in the draft 2022/23 budget.