Electric equipment used in parks saving dollars as well as CO2 emissions

The Council Parks team maintains a large amount of area within Invercargill full of plants, trees and grass, so this has been a good place to start when looking at Council’s impact on the environment.

Council has about 150 parks and reserves on more than 3000 hectares of land, which require a lot of maintenance. In the second half of 2021, Parks upgraded their maintenance equipment to electric, which included weed whackers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws and solar-powered mowers.

Thanks to the switch from diesel mowers, about 11,000 litres of diesel has been saved from being burnt at the time of the switch to August 2022. This equates to about $27,000 worth of fuel at today’s prices and means 26 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been saved. This is the equivalent of taking about 13 cars off the road for one year.

Manager Parks and Recreation Caroline Rain said these savings would only continue to build as the mowers kept being used into the future.

Over the past couple of years, the team had been progressively replacing equipment and intended to keep doing so to limit the emissions going into the atmosphere.

“We’ve come a long way in doing our bit for the environment and I’m really proud of what we’ve managed to achieve so far. Every little bit counts,” she said.
The Parks team is proactively removing trees that are starting to pose a risk to the community. In Queens Park, along Kelvin St, 62 Pinus radiata trees, thought to be about 90 to 100 years old and only anticipated to live safely to this age, have been removed.

All trees removed from Queens Park are then turned to mulch and used around the park, which helps to decrease spraying.
Although some trees are being removed, the Parks team has a target to plant more than 54,200 trees or shrubs as part of their Plant Our Population project.
“We are more than replacing them.

“We are also planting more wet-loving plants in areas that we have struggled to maintain, which will mean the Park is a more beautiful place for people to visit.”
Council is also part of the Emissions Trading Scheme, in which carbon credits are earnt for each tonne of CO2 removed from forestry.
To date, Council has a total of 32,210 carbon credits for its pre-1990 forestry.

The Parks team is also using a biodegradable weed matting called EcoWool that is designed to gradually break down over a short-term period after installation. This has most recently been used on the Bond and Stead streets roundabout.
EcoWool is designed to block out a majority of sunlight, which reduces weeds and therefore minimises the need for ongoing hazardous use of chemical herbicide sprays. The matting also contains nutrients that are naturally released into the soil over time.