East Gippsland Shire Council has been thinking ‘outside the box’ as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s benefitted both staff and the community.
Cleaning, footpath inspections, repairs, maintenance and bushfire recovery work – jobs consistently being carried out by Council’s works teams – have received an added boost as part of an alternate duties program implemented to keep staff engaged while their ‘normal’ services were closed or reduced as a result of restrictions.
Council successfully found alternative duties for 45 staff, primarily from closed recreation centres, caravan parks, libraries and service centres, to undertake work in other operational areas to enable additional footpath inspections, cleaning and maintenance work and other bushfire recovery efforts.
Council’s General Manager Assets and Environment Fiona Weigall was pleased to be able to welcome some extra hands onto the works crew and said the ‘recruits’ had busy completing cleaning and maintenance works.
Staff on alternative duties have been able to ensure that numerous Council facilities are ready to reopen once restrictions eased.
“The works include cleaning and maintenance of playgrounds, walking track maintenance in Lakes Entrance, footpath maintenance and inspections, assisting at the Bairnsdale Landfill, and installing new bridge signage for newly reconstructed bridges,” Ms Weigall said.
“Our alternative duties staff have also assisted the works crew to complete walking tracks and drainage works in Eastwood, barrier set repairs in Paynesville and the Port of Bairnsdale and Sunset Cove pavement extension works in Paynesville, maintenance and painting of street furniture, road inspections, as well as installing new rubber softfall in playgrounds in Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance.
“These new team members have learnt many new skills, gained a broader knowledge of the organisation and our services to the community.”
Jack Edgar and Holly Stephenson completing maintenance work on a walking track at Cunninghame Arm, Lakes Entrance, as part of Council’s alternate duties program. Jack and Holly are usually more at home as some of the friendly faces at the Bairnsdale Aquatic and Recreation Centre.