School mows down new fee

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Wakatipu High is refusing to be clipped by new council charges for mowing a school playing field.

School board chairman Peter Doyle claims Queenstown Lakes District Council quango Lakes Leisure is demanding “$2000-$3000” for cutting an area of grass it previously did for free.

He insists the school will now do the job itself rather than stump up.

And Doyle believes the move breaks an informal arrangement that had been in place for a long time.

“We’re not going to pay,” he says. “We’d rather do it ourselves rather than give them the benefit.

“The council used to mow all the flat grass at Warren Park, which we lease, and also do the top part of our school ground for nothing. In return, we did all the edges and tricky bits at our expense.

“It had been a wonderful set-up for many, many years.”

Doyle adds: “But we’ve been told it’ll be $2000-$3000 for so many cuts of the top field now, thanks very much, which would only take 10 minutes to do.

“It leaves a really bad taste in your mouth. I thought we were all part of the one community. It just staggers me.”
Lakes Leisure boss Fiona McKissock says the area attached to the school is not its responsibility.

“We are responsible for Warren Park and manage that piece of ground. The additional field at Wakatipu High is outside of that contractual arrangement because it’s not included within the grounds we serve.”

The Wakatipu High grizzle follows revelations in Mountain Scene last week that after years of QLDC mowing Queenstown Primary’s playing field for free, the council is now demanding $3000-$4000 a year for grass-cutting.