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Grass-cutting reduced in some city parks and green spaces

The City of Thunder Bay has designated some 'no-mow' zones to cut costs, reduce pollution, and create more naturalized spaces.
In some areas of Thunder Bay's green spaces, grass will be allowed to grow naturally this summer

THUNDER BAY — Users of Thunder Bay's parks and open spaces may notice some changes in park maintenance this summer.

The city is taking a new approach to cutting grass, meaning that some areas are being designated 'no-mow' zones where the grass will be allowed to grow naturally.

Council approved the measure earlier this year as a way to cut costs by reducing the need to hire students during the summer.

But Werner Schwar, supervisor of parks and open spaces for the city, said there are also ecological and environmental reasons for leaving grass uncut.

"Letting the grass grow and naturalization to happen over time is ecologically more sound in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the mowers, but also allowing the diversity of species to inhabit the park, and – hopefully over time – encourage more diversity, whether that be naturally or us adding things like seeds or small plantings to help it develop into something more than just a sterile field of grass that isn't really used."

Turf spaces commonly used by the public, such as playing fields, will not be impacted by the new policy, but it will be implemented in certain areas of parks, or in entire neighbourhood parkettes, except along the edges of sidewalks and curbs.

Grass will also be left to grow around trees in parks and on boulevards that are maintained by a contractor.

Schwar said this will have the added benefit of preventing damage to trees caused by string-trimming or contact with mowers.

The project has been launched as somewhat of a trial, and may be modified in future.

"I think the important thing for people to realize," Schwar said, "is that a process like naturalization does take some time and it does require a shift in attitude. Many people are used to the fact that grass is mown, and that really does not need to be the case."

He noted that in other parts of the world, people are starting to reconsider the amount of mowing that sometimes happens for no valid reason.

"This is really our first attempt at looking at what happens in Thunder Bay when that happens . . . We ask for people's patience and to look at things objectively for the future, not just the way things have been done in the past."





Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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