The decision comes after the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) issued special provisions for urgent turf maintenance under Alert Level 4 restrictions.
Nine grounds which host events of national significance have been identified in Palmerston North:
- Colquhoun Park
- Ongley and Manawaroa Parks
- Fitzherbert Park
- Memorial Park
- Skoglund Park
- Square events quadrant
- Ashhurst Domain
- Celaeno Park
- Central Energy Trust Arena
EOC Controller Chris Dhyrberg says staff will only be attending to grounds where the maintenance activities are genuinely urgent.
“We are closely following the guidance that we’ve received from Ministry around minimising maintenance during Alert Level 4,” says Mr Dhyrberg.
“We’re also putting in place procedures that ensure we’re undertaking these essential tasks in a way that eliminates physical interaction.”
The urgent maintenance proposed includes mowing the identified grounds, with six also requiring urgent under-sowing to ensure that the turf is thick enough to host sporting fixtures during winter, preventing injury.
As we’re now heading into our traditionally colder and wetter months, it’s integral that we undertake this maintenance while it’s still possible.
The consequences of not completing the work now could mean that national events are impacted far into the future, costing the city thousands in economic stimulus and repairs.
“While we don’t know what the future holds, we want to make sure that we can provide our community and our economy with opportunities to rebuild socially and financially,” says Mr Dhyrberg.
“If we can take safe steps to make these facilities available sooner then we feel that’s important for our recovery as a city.”
We anticipate that once this maintenance has occurred, no further urgent maintenance will be required for another three weeks, unless a hazard is identified.
A team of four groundsmen will attend to their respective grounds, with mowers being operated by a single team member who will work unassisted.
The team have all been provided with a sanitation kit for themselves, including some PPE, and a kit for sanitising their equipment. At the end of each shift the exteriors of the tractors and mowers will also be sprayed with chlorine solution.
The Ministry provisions specifically exclude maintenance of all other turf and green spaces, other than for hazard management, which we will continue to comply with during Alert Level 4.