News | 13 March 2023
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Making moves to electric out in the field

From mountain biking parks to gardens and nurseries, our Council Parks, Sport and Recreation staff are making moves to replace petrol-powered machinery with electric out in the field.

Man sitting on top of an ebike in the mountains.
Ranger Mark Kent on his e-bike at Mākara Peak.

With over 40-kilometres of tracks to cover, Mākara Peak Mountain Bike Park Ranger Mark Kent uses his e-bike to help with emergencies and track maintenance at a moment’s notice. 

While other Park Rangers can use their utes to get around, Mark has adapted to moving around Mākara Peak by bike due to the nature of the tracks and says that using his bike is easier to check the overall safety of the park.

“After heavy rain and bad weather, I can go out and do a safety audit of 90 percent of the tracks in four and half hours. If I did that on a standard bike or on foot, I would have to allow a couple of days and it would be too physically taxing.

“We've also got the e-bike set up so that I can carry a few hand tools. It’s easy to whip around in winter and drain puddles or remove ruts because we can carry a little gear on the back of the bike.” 

Gardener Rob Mckee has been working at the Botanic Gardens kī Pāekaka for 17 years, and has seen the transition from petrol models to electric. 

“We have electric leaf blowers, weed eaters and chainsaws. These have all replaced petrol models, and they are all more powerful and don’t have fumes that affect our staff.

“A lot of the machinery is quieter, which makes it very popular for people who like to visit our gardens and for our staff to use every day.”

Electric ATV from Berhampore Nursery.
Grant Blyth on the electric ATV at the Berhampore Nursery.

Out in Berhampore Nursery, Grant Blyth remembers making the change to electric and how they have been around for a lot of his 37 years on the job.

The switch came as quad bikes were often dangerous to use, he says.

“They weren’t as safe to use and made the sheds fill up with fumes. Our Electric ATV can go quicker up the hills and handles carrying 1000 plants up and down.

“We wouldn’t go back to using petrol vehicles, we would make it work with electric. If anyone is thinking of making the switch, go for it.”