Baw Baw Shire Council is undertaking a 12-month trial of chemical free maintenance in three of its parks: Drouin’s Alex Gouide Reserve, Trafalgar’s MacGregor Park and Warragul’s Queen Street Park.
The trial will see the three parks maintained using wholly manual and mechanical processes. The result of the trial will give Council data to better understand cost differences and the standards of maintenance achievable by omitting chemicals from weed control practices.
The 12-month trial started in April 2019 and will run until April 2020. It is one of a number of opportunities being investigated to minimise the use of chemicals such as glyphosate across Baw Baw Shire’s open spaces.
Other options being considered include trialling the use of steam to control weeds, the use of of organic pine oil and vinegar based herbicides and the use of small flame burners.
As noted by Mayor Cr Mikaela Power
“Council has heard concerns from our community about the use of chemicals in the control of weeds and pest animals in our Shire’s open spaces.
We appreciate that community expectations of environmental protection are changing. We are open to changing our practices as preferable alternatives become available.
This trial demonstrates Council’s willingness to listen to our community and to try new methods as we strive for the best possible outcomes for our residents and our environment.”
As noted by Cohen Van der Velde, Director Community Infrastructure
“Council’s policy is to take a ‘least harm’ approach to pest plant and animal management, and that’s what this trial is all about.
Traditionally, Council has used chemicals when necessary to meet pest management obligations and where non-chemical options have proved impractical. Going forward, it remains important that whatever methods we use strike the right balance. There are certain invasive pest species that can’t be left unchecked or we risk worse damage to our native environment.
However, as we learn more about long term chemical use and as potentially effective non-chemical alternatives methods come available, we believe they are worth investigating.”