A group of residents have taken it upon themselves to trim the overgrown grass in a local park so they could use it, claiming council has "taken no action" in maintaining parks and fields in the area.
Photos and videos shared by "concerned community members" online show grass and weeds left unmaintained throughout Liverpool and surrounding suburbs in Sydney’s southwest – in some cases, residents say it’s "waist high".
After "months" of dealing with overgrown grass at Black Muscat Park in Chipping Norton, a group of picnickers decided to take to the lawn themselves. A video shared by independent campaigner Michael Andjelkovic shows at least five men armed with lawnmowers attempting to mow the grass late last month. It was sent to him by another resident this week.
"Back to basics, haha! Promises that never materialise, all smoke screens and glitter. No action taken, nowhere to complain. This place needs a major cleanup," said the message from a resident who contacted Andjelkovic on Facebook.
But this park is one of many that have been neglected by council. "There seems to have been an increase in the number of issues being raised in by residents and ratepayers on social media," Andjelkovic said.
Unkept grass a 'safety issues' for residents
Local MP Nathan Hagarty, a member for Leppington, told Yahoo News Australia "it's not just parks, it's intersections too". "Some intersections I'm aware of in Green Valley and Austral have grass so high, it’s a safety issue," he said.
"Some drivers can’t see, it’s impeding their vision," he added. "It's easy enough to just get a whipper snipper out and cut it down just so that the vision comes back."
Despite several attempts to raise the issue, both Hagarty and Andjelkovic say they’re yet to get a "satisfactory answer from council" as to why the grass throughout the area hasn’t been maintained. Previously Covid and staff shortages were to blame, Hagarty explained, "but we haven’t had that this year".
"This is a period where we get a little bit more rain, a little bit more heat and grass grows, so you’d think they would resource appropriately. I'm even aware of reports of snakes in the grass," he said.
"People are genuinely concerned for their safety and they've been waiting weeks, if not months for council to cut this grass. So they've been taking it into their own hands."
Council responds to resident concerns
In the case of Black Muscat Park in Chipping Norton, Liverpool City Council said it was last serviced on January 18th and is "due to be cut this week as part of scheduled works".
Responding to Hagarty's claims, a spokesperson said: "The growth of the grass during summer given optimal conditions (soil, temperature, water, sunlight) could be between 1 and 1.5 cm per day.
"Our teams conduct mowing and garden maintenance to a three weekly schedule where and when possible and always take weather and soil conditions into consideration to ensure we aren’t damaging assets nor putting employee’s safety at risk.
"Our teams are using all available resources to catch up inclusive of overtime and contractors. The team has conducted recent workshops to determine process improvement to be able to improve on these three weekly cycles."
Complaints about long grass 'increasing'
Andjelkovic agreed it’s "very disappointing" to see "the state of parks and recreation areas around Liverpool has fallen" and admitted on Facebook the "complaints appear to be increasing."
Venting their frustration recently, one resident said they travel throughout Sydney daily and Liverpool Council is "the worst council for maintenance of their parks and fields". "80 per cent of their parks are overgrown and I know of six where the grass is over waist high,” they claimed.
Another agreed it’s an "all too common" sight throughout the area.
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