From the bush to suburbia – the Parks Team has it covered

Published on Friday, 11 March 2022 at 10:38:36 AM


To mark Parks Week, which runs from 5 March to 13 March, and celebrates the vital role parks play in creating liveable cities and thriving communities, we spoke to long-serving staff members Nick Jukic and Eric Gough.

The pair reminisced on the changes they have witnessed over the years and the tremendous efforts the Shire’s Parks team contribute to this part of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Team Leader - Arboriculture, Nick Jukic, along with this long-serving colleague, Parks Supervisor, Turf and Reticulation, Eric Gough, could write a book about the changes they have seen in the operations of the Shire’s Parks service over the years.

Walking down memory lane, Nick recalls that in the early days his job was like being a jack of all trades – from felling trees and cutting large logs to putting out bushfires.

“I have seen and done a lot of different things over 43 years of working for the Shire,” he said.

“I have had various roles from water truck driver to assisting with road grading; checking the roads for pot holes; hand cutting tree branches and loading them onto the back of trucks. My current role involves maintenance of the Shire’s street trees.”

Parks operations in the Shire have progressed over the decades. From a world of manual labor, to a focus on Health and Safety and a greater use of machinery.

“Back in the day, we used to have to climb into box trees to prune them. You wouldn’t be allowed to do that now,” Nick said.

Sometimes, there were also calls to duty to help the community in other ways.

“One day we were working and a truck had rolled over,” he added.

“We got called out to help rescue the sheep by helping get them out of the truck.

“We are here for the community and we do get called to help out. I have been out to bushfires to cut down hollow trees that are still burning. The firefighters manage bushfire fires these days though.”

Shire's Parks Team

Today, there are four key teams in the Shire’s Parks and Environmental Operations section: Parks Infrastructure; Environment and Horticulture; Turf and Reticulation and Tree Management.

Each morning at 7am, the teams meet for a 10 minute pre-start induction before setting off for a day across the Shire.

Their operations are ongoing throughout the year, maintaining many natural areas with over a 100 parks (including 10 sports ovals), 67 linear kms of heritage trails, median islands, roundabouts, road reserves and bush reserves.

Nick said it was hard to estimate how many trees his team maintained across the Shire’s streets, verges, blocks, parks and reserves each day.

“Depending on the location, size and season, it could be hundreds of trees a day,” he said.

“There is always a lot of work around across the shire.”

Parks Supervisor Turf and Reticulation, Eric Gough, is a Sawyers Valley resident and has served the Shire for 30 years. He agrees with Nick about the many changes that have taken place.

“We have an excellent Parks team at the Shire with a very high level of team spirit that has endured throughout the years,” he said.

Viewing his long-service to the Shire as a badge of honor, Nick says job satisfaction is important.

“I enjoy completing jobs correctly as a team and a crew,” he said. “We have a good crew here.”

 

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