Backyard mowers take unruly fields into their own hands
CHILDREN pushing lawn mowers were among the volunteers helping to tame the unruly grass at two of Stanthorpe's major sporting ovals this week.
After learning the council would not be mowing the grass ahead of this weekend's Mustangs Under-12s Challenge, a group of volunteers banded together with backyard mowers to get the job done.
They spent about three and a half hours tackling the long grass on Sullivan and Crisp Ovals, which are both required for the weekend's junior rugby league carnival.
Stanthorpe Sports Association president Colin Britton said this weekend's junior rugby league carnival and tonight's Oztag games had been jeopardised by the unruly grass.
"We had about seven ride-on mowers, a couple of push mowers, and about three whipper-snippers," Mr Britton said.
"It was a great response from the community.
"At the end of the day we're just really humbled by the support of the community."
Mr Britton said the council had confirmed they would mow the grass within 10 working days of the grass across the entire fields averaging 100mm.
Mr Britton said this rallying of the troops was a "short-term" option, but their volunteer base couldn't undertake this level of work on a regular basis, especially for the entire six-hectare facility, which contains four fields.
"It is not something we can continue," he said. "The manpower required is just not there."
Southern Downs Regional Council CEO David Keenan previously told the Border Post the council was looking at "user pays" measures for many public spaces to help alleviate the council's debt.
Mr Britton said this should already be covered in residents' rates.
Stanthorpe Junior Rugby League president Lindsay Adams said the long grass had posed a big hazard ahead of this weekend's carnival.
"It's definitely a problem for us because we pride ourselves in putting on a good game," he said.
"Having to mow the fields... is really straining our volunteer resources."
Debbie Wilmot, also from the SSA, said she was disappointed the volunteers had to mow the grass. "All these carnivals bring money to the town and support the community and the council needs to help us bring these carnivals to the region, not fight us," she said.