Depending on the season you ride or drive alongside the light rail you may notice changes in the landscape around you. Like most Canberrans, the current wet weather means our backyard requires more attention than that of a usual Spring/Summer. The landscape along the alignment, maintained by the CMET landscaping team, is no different.
The CMET landscaping team work through all four seasons, starting early during Canberra’s cold mornings and working throughout our hot summer days. This year we’ve been treated to consistent rainfall. In November alone, the ACT recorded more than double the average rainfall and as you can imagine, this makes gardening a little tricky. There is no stopping the network timetable for the landscaping team to complete their work, so each day they work alongside the alignment as Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) full of passengers pass by.
Prior to the launch of Canberra’s Light Rail network in 2019, the landscape design was finalised, and the procurement and propagation began of close to one million plants and over 1200 trees. Amongst the tree line of Eucalyptus mannifera are more than 30 varieties of native grasses and herbaceous plants.
If you were to drive along the alignment now or ride in an LRV, you would notice that the native grasses are growing to a healthy height due to the current wet conditions. The current regeneration you can see along the network is a testament to the hard work of our landscaping team and their commitment to an integrated weed management program. This involves tackling problematic weed growth before the seeds can set. There are three main layers to an integrated weed management program.
- Reduce – the seedbanks, populations, and species of unwanted weeds along the alignment.
- Retain – Ensure desirable species are given the best environment to grow.
- Regenerate – Regeneration is only possible if we can reduce the weed growth and retain the existing desirable species. Sustaining the landscape for the future.
A healthy, well-developed landscape along the rail corridor becomes a habitat for local beneficial insects and in the years to come the growth of the tree canopy will ensure bird life will prosper through the area. Maintaining a healthy landscape is beneficial to the overall community safety as it discourages the illegal passage of pedestrians across the tracks.
The CMET landscaping team are out to ensure that the landscaping is healthy, but they are also responsible for the removal of rubbish and vegetation along the corridor and its surrounding high traffic areas. This includes items of concern such as sharps or cigarette butts which pose a fire risk. As the primary boulevard into the city, we want to ensure this landscaping is kept to a high standard and is reflective of Canberra as a city.
Our team work closely with the ACT Government to ensure the long-term success of the landscape. Next time you’re driving along the alignment, waiting on a platform, or riding an LRV, take a moment to appreciate the effort and hard work of our landscaping team. They are proud of the work they do each day to maintain a 12km long backyard, and we are too.