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More North Shore City residents happy with parks

More North Shore City residents happy with parks

North Shore City Council has received a thumbs up from its residents over the way it looks after its parks and reserves.

The council's annual survey of residents and business showed that overall 88% of users were satisfied with parks and reserves in the city, with 42% very satisfied with parks. Last year, 34% of users were very satisfied.

The chairperson of the council's community services and parks committee, Margaret Miles, says the results reflected a more focused approach to parks maintenance matched by an increase in spending.

"Our city parks are among our city's greatest assets and I am delighted so many people using them are happy with the way we look after them.

Councillor Miles says residents are seeing the results of programmes introduced over the past couple of years.

"I know there are some areas where we can still do better, but we are working on it.

"Our parks are very important to our city - they provide us with natural open space and have something to offer everyone in the city, whether they use them to simply sit and enjoy the views, or actively participate in sport."

Councillor Miles says the parks department has met its customer satisfaction goals in every area.

In specific areas grass and garden maintenance met the approval of 90% of park users, up 5% on previous years while 76% of users were satisfied with the playgrounds and other facilities, up from 69%.

Both usage and satisfaction with the city's sports fields has increased over the past year. Altogether 28% of city residents used city sports fields over the past year compared with 24% the previous year. Of those users, 80% were satisfied with them, compared to 76% in 2003.

Altogether in the 2003/04 financial year the council spent $18million on parks operations, up from $16.3 spent the previous financial year. This covers all maintenance activities in reserves and parks, including grass and garden, street tree, foreshore, public toilet and sports field maintenance. The council intends to spend $18.8 million on parks operations in the current financial year.

The council's parks manager Andrew Rutledge said park users were now seeing the results of changes made to the way contracts for parks maintenance were managed

"We have now got in place a system which is much more transparent and in which we have been much more explicit with our expectations. "Our contractors report daily on their activities and have personnel able to respond quickly to any day to day issues that may arise."

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