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Burnside thinks he has solved that weed problem

Councillor Jon Burnside is optimistic that a solution has been found, using extra help from community groups, for maintaining the Leaside arena grounds so they’re not overgrown with weeds.

“The islands [in the parking lot] as well as part of the arena entrance were sodded and will be cut by arena staff. At least three community groups – including Scouts, residents of 955 Millwood, and the Aquafit group at the arena – will look after designated sections of the interior gardens, and I’m confident that the city will maintain the perimeter.”

It took months to devise this solution.

“The problem,” says Burnside, “is that, unfortunately, the city has strict green standards for all capital projects but there seems to be very little thought given to maintaining all these extra gardens and lawns we are building – whether its on arena properties or centre medians on roads.”

When the weeds became an eyesore, he said, the Parks Department told him “it was an arena issue. The arena said it was a Parks issue. I was then approached by Cate Woodward and the Aquafit ladies  who asked if they could adopt a plot near the swimming pool as they were aghast at the state of the property.

“I circled back with Parks and finally got permission for community groups like Cate’s to be involved but it soon became apparent that the task was far too large. After more phone calls with the head of Parks she drove by the arena to see for herself the sorry state of affairs and authorized a proper clean up” involving Parks staff from across the city under the direction of local Park supervisor Jim McKay.

Parks and arena staff worked out the new system.