The treatment of weeds in the Causeway Coast and Glens Council area by DfI Roads was described as nothing more than ‘a lick and a promise’.
Members of the Environmental Services Committee were addressing a number of issues during a deputation with James Morrison, Section Engineer DfI Roads Causeway Coast & Glens West and Gary Quinn, Network Maintenance Manager.
DUP Alderman Alan Robinson spoke of the prevalence of weeds working class estates adding that after weed spraying “instead of having three or four feet green weeds you have three or four feet brown weeds.
“We all get that you guys are under pressure and that you don’t have the same men you had 10 or 15 years ago, but it’s hard to square off that you are putting out a guy in a quad who is turning weeds from green to brown and then we are fielding complaints.
“Subsequently you are fielding complaints and then we are asking you to put men in with shovels to clear those weeds. Is there not a more efficient way to do this?
DUP Councillor John McAuley added: “This issue of weeds was raised when the DfI did a presentation last year and the speaker ignored the fact that we don’t seem to do weed removal any more, we just change it from green to brown as has already been said.
“I don’t think the borough has looked worse in a long time and I think there needs to be a new strategy or approach for weeds and it needs to be on removal not treatment because the treatment isn’t working.”
James Morrison responded to the councillors concerns explaining: “It would be fair to say a lot of the problems we have around weeds and footpaths are around the old flag footpaths and we have a programme whereby we are currently working to try and address that.
“We do have quite a number of them through the estates and alleyways and that would be where we would run across most problems with weeds. We do have a regime in place where the external contractor comes in and treats them and it’s on a keeping them down basis as such and if there are any exceptions to the rule then we address that.
“The nature of some of those flagged footpaths means that they are almost a breeding ground for some of the weeds but as we get more into our footway programme and some of the works we have planned for this year with our small scale contractor then I would see it as a priority for us to try and hurry because not only will it address the flag issue by getting asphalt footpaths in but it should hopefully alleviate the problems we are getting from weeds.”