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Mother Nature, not city staff, to blame for some overgrown city sports fields

City can't get out and cut many sports field fields because they would damage the soggy turf

A long stretch of wet weather is to blame for some city sports fields still having grass that is way too long.

The city says crews are working as hard as they can to try and catch up with needed lawn mowing on soccer fields and ball diamonds, but a long stretch of wet weather is hampering their efforts.

There have been lots of complaints on social media and to the city about the long grass, including of photos of fields only partially cut.

City of Guelph Deputy CAO Colleen Clack said it's just been too wet to cut many fields.

"It's growing too fast and it's too wet," said Clack.

"Staff are doing their absolute best, but given the wet and rainy conditions we also have to look at the long-term health of the fields. We can't go in and cut and ruin the fields, which would then take us weeks to restore.

"They're going in and cutting where they can," Clack said.

"Staff are well trained and we absolutely understand how people want to get out on the sports fields and we're doing everything we can. Really, at this point, we just need Mother Nature to give us a bit of a reprieve so that we can dry things out a little bit so that we can get in and do our job."

The city has 140 sports fields to maintain. Plus boulevards.

Safety and site lines on some specific boulevards take precedence, but then sports fields come next.

"When they get somewhere that's really soggy, they have to move on and let it dry out," Clack said.

As for partially-cut fields, the city said it started to cut at those locations until they hit an area that was too wet and they had to stop.

"They went in and started cutting but had to stop because it was just too wet," Clack said. "We know that can frustrate people ... but they stopped because they were damaging the turf.

"Once we start driving equipment over really wet sports fields we will ruin them for the summer."

Another Twitter photo showed the grass cut where the lines were then put in place on a soccer field. In that case it was an independent contractor used by the city to put lines down that had to do that mowing in order to install the lines. The city has not yet been able to get there to do their cutting.

While more showers are in the forecast for Wednesday, the weather for the next week calls for just one day with rain and the rest sunny with temperatures in the low to mid-20s.


Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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