Released 23/05/2019

Canberrans love to get outdoors and make use of our great public spaces and the ACT Government is asking residents to take a moment to consider the efforts of the volunteers who help keep these shared places maintained and looking great.

Executive Branch Manager, City Presentation, Stephen Alegria said the Urban Open Space Volunteer Program is a community partnership between local communities and the ACT Government to help maintain and enhance our urban open spaces.

The community-authored Better Suburbs Statement highlighted the role that the community wants to play in helping look after public places across the city and provides a way forward to increase opportunities for community engagement and involvement in a hands-on way.

“The Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) volunteer program includes urban Landcare groups, ‘friends of’ groups, urban open space volunteer groups, tree maintenance groups, graffiti removal and community art groups,” Mr Alegria said.

“There are 30 existing urban open space volunteer groups across Canberra. Some groups meet regularly while others meet on an ad hoc basis.

“The program allows the community to contribute to the conservation, presentation and maintenance of Canberra’s many public urban open space areas including parks, playgrounds, grasslands, green spaces, creeks, wetlands and lake surrounds.

“Our hardworking volunteers make improvements to local urban open space areas and are involved in a large range of activities. This can include weed control, horticultural maintenance, litter collection, park restoration projects, tree maintenance activities, graffiti removal, habitat restoration and conservation projects.”

This program has yielded many great outcomes over the years, most recently with two successful weekends of planting by the Griffith Woodland Volunteer Group. The group, working with the Southern ACT Catchment Group, applied for an environmental grant in 2018 to significantly improve the natural values and biodiversity of their neighbourhood park in Griffith.

Group convenor Libby McCutchan said the woodland park is being improved based on a detailed plan completed by local landscape architect Barbara Payne.

“The planting in the woodland has been a huge success, with more than a dozen volunteers planting over 300 tube stock of native forbs, lilies and grasses. This follows on from regular working bees to control weeds,” Ms McCutchan said.

“It's been really exciting to work collaboratively with government services to get our urban landcare group up and running. We have established a great working relationship with TCCS and their practical and effective support is helping us achieve our principal aim to protect, enhance and restore the woodland to what it would have been before European settlement.

“While the addition of new plants boosts biodiversity, volunteering also creates opportunities for
like-minded local residents to socialise and learn about grassy woodlands. We have already made a big visible difference to the woodland, which is exciting and a proud achievement.

“Volunteering has brought our local community together. It’s fun, educational and rewarding and we all look forward to seeing the results of our work and what we can continue to achieve.”

More information about the Urban Open Space Volunteer Program, including a map of the existing volunteer groups, is available at www.tccs.act.gov.au/city-living/public_areas/volunteering

- Statement ends -

Section: ACT Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate | Media Releases

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