30 October 2005

When you want something done...

Cycling back home from work (well, from Whitfords station — I cheated on the way back due to time constraints, but I did cycle all the way to town in the morning) in the early afternoon on Friday, I decided to take a short-cut past some historic ruins and the relocated Wanneroo Primary School [PDF, ≅3MB, photos on p35] which you can see in the southeast quadrant of this satellite image of Perry’s Paddock.

I would normally do my run up the cycleway to the west of the lake (which you can see wiggling NW/SE in the southwest quadrant of the image if you squint), cross Ocean Reef Road, then cut across the lake on the north side of the bitumen, picking up the cycleway again for the last few km home.

As I approached the little bridge across the vestigial channel between lakes, I was surprised to see a bloke with a lawn mower — the ordinary little garden-variety kind — trundling noisily across the vast reaches of the paddock. If you find the large roughly-right triangle in the image, with its hypotenuse running more or less N-S, he had just mown a swathe down the second-longest side (running more or less NNE-SSW).

I stopped and asked him how long it was going to take him to do the rest of the paddock, and he laughed and explained that he was just mowing the path so that he and other walkers wouldn’t have to put up with so much grass seed in the clothes and their pets’ fur, and weren’t so likely to tread on anything which would hiss, writhe and possibly bite.

I can just imagine the fooforaw if he’d tried to go through official channels to get this done. The land (part of Yellagonga National Park) is in Wanneroo Shire but administered by CALM. CALM would call out a mowing contractor at greart expense, or the Shire would have sent a truck with mower and crew (probably of three).

From my perspective, there are no ecological issues to answer because the whole paddock is cooch grass anyway, but I can’t imagine that the red tape and bureaucratic inertia and inter-service buck-passing and rivalry involved would be trivial to plough through.

So he did it himself for a very small fraction of the cost. Problem solved.

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