An Australian council contract crew have been forced to rethink how they clean artificial grass after they became the butt of jokes for using a lawnmower. The crew were photographed this week by motorists mowing the fake grass on the median strip outside Supercheap Autos in the City of Townsville, Queensland. Residents claim it was proof of the council wasting taxpayers' money.
A council spokeswoman, however, said the contractors were not mowing the grass, rather they were cleaning it to remove cigarette butts. The crew were asked to do the job after Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill received a request for the artificial turf to be cleaned by a local.
"The actual contractors who have done that work, they didn't give us the heads-up they were going to be using a mower," the spokeswoman said. "The purpose of it on the Astro Turf, though, is there has been a major problem there with people littering and throwing their cigarette butts out, and it adheres to the Astro Turf. So they're not actually mowing grass, as much as people would have laughed and pointed it out, they were using it as a vacuum to suck up the butts."
A Supercheap Autos staff member, who did not want to be named, said the clean-up crew had supplied many belly laughs for colleagues and customers. "We've all been getting a great laugh out of it," she said. "They've been doing it a couple of times." The council spokeswoman said the clean-up crew had been asked to consider other options when it came to cleaning the artificial grass. "It does look ridiculous," she said.
There's an audio interview with Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill here.