Locals remain frustrated over the state of the reserves in the Howick ward.
Some residents are still wading through unruly grass of up to a metre high while others say the contractors have only mown part of their reserves or left large mounds of grass clippings behind.
Marlene Brunton, who lives near Golflands Reserve, says the park looks just as bad now after being mown as it did before, with piles of dry grass strewn around the area.
“I’m concerned that leaving dried grass clippings around the reserve is a fire hazard,” she says.
“They were first left there just days before Guy Fawkes. What would have happened if one of the fireworks landed on a pile of dry grass?”
She says her concerns grew when she saw a passerby drop a cigarette butt near one of the piles.
Auckland Council head of operational maintenance Agnes McCormack says contractors have been working seven days a week to get on top of the backlog of park maintenance.
She says the new contractors faced difficulties when they took over in July with extraordinarily high volumes of rainfall making many reserves and parks “un-mowable”.
McCormack says in some cases the edges of the parks can’t be mowed until the ground dries enough to cope with the heavy mowing machinery to avoid sinking and causing ruts.
While she is confident the situation will continue to improve, it will take at least two mowing cycles to get rid of grass clippings.
“The first mow will leave a hay-like cuttings on the open space and the follow up mows will begin to clear this away.”
“We do use catcher type machinery at some very high profile and sensitive areas,” she says.
“However, given that this process slows down the volume of area the operator is able to cover in a day and we end up with a significant amount of clippings that then need to be disposed of, we are not able to supply this service to our normal neighbourhood sites and still deliver a reasonable cost service.”
While there is some machinery that could effectively remove the grass clippings, they are more suited to farming and would likely cause significant damage to the reserves.
McCormack says it would be highly unlikely for the grass clippings to catch fire and then for the fire to be able to sustain itself and travel across the ground.
“Although there is a slight increase in fire risk when we have dry clippings on our sites, while the clippings may look dry, they do in fact still retain a large amount of moisture,” she says.
“In a worst case scenario, we would expect there to be a lot of smoke and potential smouldering which, once identified, would be easily put out.”
She says she is confident residents can expect to see a high level of park maintenance by mid-December.