A comprehensive review of the BGPA Business Continuity Plan was endorsed by the BGPA Board of Management in August 2012. The plan was updated to resolve issues identified through an internal audit process and to reflect changes in the operating structure of the agency. All staff with a role in the Business Continuity Team attended refresher training on the plan and the processes to be implemented in the event of a disaster. A testing program was implemented to test the operational efficiency of the call tree, maintain the plan’s currency and practice separate elements of planned emergency procedures.
The BGPA risk register, RiskBase, was regularly updated and controls for various risks were assessed at scheduled intervals. A minor review of the BGPA Risk Management Policy was commenced to review the stated requirement for treatment action plans for some risks when all feasible controls were already in place.
A summary of BGPA’s 143 risks currently evaluated through Riskbase is shown below:
In February 2013 BGPA’s internal auditors completed an audit on its Risk Management Systems. The BGPA received an ‘A’ rating for this audit with auditors noting “Whilst there are some small compliance issues noted, they do not detract from the otherwise excellent result.”
A major system upgrade of Riskbase (by Riskcover) in September 2012, has provided significant improvements in functionality and general ease of use, reporting and the overall risk assessment process. Work has commenced towards implementing a number of these improvements to the BGPA Risk Register.
Following the completion of the Comprehensive Bushfire Risk Analysis in December 2011, the BGPA continued to implement recommendations from the report to further improve fire risk management in Kings Park and Botanic Garden and Bold Park. The BGPA Fire Management and Response Plan was revised with a new structure and additional content based on the recommendations from an external review of BGPA fire management practices.
A final Park Closure Plan was endorsed by the Board in February 2013, following a 12 month trial of the interim plan. This plan provides for the partial or full closure of Kings Park and Bold Park with increased staff patrols according to official Fire Danger Ratings (FDR). During 2012/13 there were 13 very high FDR and two severe FDR that resulted in closure of Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park on nine days, the balance occurring on scheduled closures during February. In addition, the Kings Park and Bold Park bushlands were closed on the two severe FDR days. There were no extreme or catastrophic FDR or Total Fire Bans declared during the period.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the BGPA and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) was revised and renewed for a further three years. This document sets out how BGPA and DFES will cooperate during a bushfire emergency in Kings Park or Bold Park. The DFES Urban Bushland pre plans for the two parks were also revised in consultation with BGPA, and further liaison occurred to discuss an accessible water supply for the Helitacs in Kings Park, Australia Day, and the development of specifications for a new medium tanker for BGPA. Staff also sought advice from DFES regarding implementation of Building Protection Zones in accordance with the Premier’s Circular and the options available to BGPA to avoid unacceptable vegetation clearing.
Liaison also occurred with the City of Perth regarding a geotechnical and fire risk assessment on the section of the escarpment near Jacob’s Ladder, and with QEII and Mount Hospital regarding fire notifications.
There were two recorded fires in Kings Park that turned out to be illegal campfires and there was one vehicle ignition fire in Bold Park.
Tree Risk Management
The management of trees and their associated risks to public safety remained an ongoing high priority for the BGPA and a regular program of tree inspections was implemented as part of the risk management process, followed up with remedial pruning works as required.
Precinct inspections were undertaken in all major visitor precincts with the timing planned to occur prior to major events such as concerts, Australia Day and ANZAC Day where appropriate. The annual individual avenue tree inspections were completed for the Fraser Avenue Centennial trees with an additional inspection in November 2012 following a severe storm. A comprehensive inspection was also completed within the Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park site, with remedial works to both living and retained dead (habitat) trees implemented to improve safety. Inspections of trees along tracks in Kings Park and Bold Park bushlands were also completed prior to the fire season to ensure appropriate access for emergency vehicles and to check for any hazards for visitors.
A small number of memorial Sugar Gum trees in Lovekin Drive that have developed a substantial lean continued to be monitored with no significant changes recorded. Four new stem fall arrest systems were installed in significant specimen trees in Kings Park, one previous system was replaced and another four existing systems were monitored for safety.
The BGPA continued to record all stem failures with a total of 290 stems over 50mm diameter recorded across both Kings Park and Bold Park, most of which occurred as a result of adverse weather conditions such as storms and high winds or in extended hot, dry periods. In addition, there were 39 complete tree failures at ground level, which was an increase from the previous year, primarily (90%) resulting from storms. There was one incident of significant vehicle damage recorded as a result of a branch failure.
Approximately 40 trees were removed from Kings Park during the year, the majority of which had died, while others were in severe decline or had suffered structural damage from storms and required removal for public safety. The exact cause of death is not known but extended dry periods are believed to be major contributing factors for many of the tree deaths. A tree planting program has been implemented to replace the dead trees and increase tree cover in some areas.
The BGPA hosted a training course in March 2013 for 30 Arbor industry personnel for training in the United Kingdom system of Quantified Tree Risk Assessment (QTRA). This included training one new BGPA staff member as a licensed user of this system and refresher training for other Arbor team members. Other training during the year included aerial rescue for Arbor staff and training in chainsaw operation for horticultural staff.
A proposal for the implementation of QTRA in BGPA managed lands was drafted for future consideration of its adoption as a formal system of tree risk assessment and management.
Mt Eliza Escarpment
The BGPA continued its ongoing program of slope inspection and remediation works on the Mt Eliza Escarpment throughout the year to manage the risk of rockfall and landslip from this inherently unstable limestone escarpment. Three formal inspections were undertaken by a geotechnical consultant in August and November 2012 and June 2013 with some remedial works initiated as a result. These included minor trimming of identified rocks and removal of small limestone boulders from the slopes for public safety. In addition, a seven cubic metre boulder found to have detached from its location on the escarpment and embedded lower down the slope was trimmed into smaller pieces and removed from the escarpment to reduce the risk of further movement.
A total of nine inspections incorporating path closures and pedestrian detours were completed by BGPA staff following significant rainfall events. No major issues were recorded from these inspections. Structural inspections of high and low capacity rock catch fencing systems were completed as well as an inspection of drape mesh systems in place to retain significant limestone boulders, with no major faults or issues noted.
A sink hole of approximately 12 cubic metres in volume was discovered on the steep slopes below the Bali Memorial during an inspection in April 2013, which was thought to be associated with a Water Corporation water main beneath the site. Both BGPA and the Water Corporation are continuing to monitor the site for any additional movement.
In Bold Park, the limestone slopes near Oceanic Drive and West Coast Highway were regularly monitored and remained stable.
Water conservation strategies continued to be implemented to achieve water use efficiencies, which resulted in further reduction in overall groundwater use for the year. The total groundwater use was 420.8 megalitres, which represented a decrease of 41.6 megalitres or 9% less groundwater used than for the previous year. Strategies included consistent monitoring of water application and soil moisture levels, careful management of water storage pond levels to minimise wastage during essential cleaning operations, installation of new algae control units at the main storage pond and the lining of the spillway at System One pond to reduce water leakage.
A storm water harvesting system was installed as part of the Kings Park Education building development to collect and divert storm water from the Education carpark into the park irrigation storage system. This is the first time a storm water harvesting system has been initiated in Kings Park. The same system also has the capacity to collect and divert waste water from the Mount Eliza Reservoir during cleaning operations, which is then stored and filtered for use as park irrigation water. Some initial issues with the establishment of the system reduced its operational efficiency in the first year but these issues have now been rectified.
A consultant was engaged to review BGPA’s groundwater monitoring, revise the water operating strategy and develop a reporting system consistent with Department of Water requirements. This will assist BGPA with groundwater reporting in future years. A program of close monitoring of scheme water use through water meters was established to identify inefficiencies, leaks and unintended use, all of which were resolved during the year.
The restructured Grounds and Infrastructure team was restored to its full staff numbers during the year, which enabled routine maintenance of assets and infrastructure to get back on track and previously deferred maintenance tasks were able to be completed.
Asset maintenance included internal painting of public amenities blocks, cleaning and sealing of floors, replacement of pole-top external lighting, installation of new fluorescent lights throughout the Administration building, and the installation of new LED lighting at the Fraser Lawn toilets, which are open 24 hours daily. All major electrical infrastructure underwent thermo-graphic and integrity testing during the year.
In addition, new barbeques were installed at the Pines Picnic area, seven new universal access drinking fountains were installed in parkland areas and stormwater issues were resolved on Forrest Drive, behind the Botanical Café and at the Botanic Gardens staff depot. The bitumen along Forrest Drive was re-sheeted by Main Roads in liaison with BGPA and the Roe, Balga and Swan carparks were also resurfaced.
A building condition audit was completed for all BGPA buildings which will help establish upcoming maintenance priorities and modifications to the previous public toilets adjoining Aspects of Kings Park were completed to create much needed improved storage space for the gallery shop.
The asset replacement program continued to ensure a high level of efficiency and safety in equipment operation through the replacement of ageing equipment before excessive downtime occurred. A total of 25 formal request for quotation processes were undertaken for the purchase of equipment and other works, including three all terrain vehicles, five electric vehicles, two front end loaders, a ride-on lawn mower and a new wood chipper for recycling tree material as mulch. New scientific equipment was also purchased to support scientific research programs.
The Information Services team remained busy with a focus on ensuring the computer and communications hardware and operating environment was brought up to date with current operating systems and application software release levels. Following these recent upgrades, the BGPA is now in a position of having the majority of its infrastructure using current systems with several years of ongoing external support in place.
The upgrades included migration of operating systems from obsolete to current releases, upgrades to hardware and core network switches to provide improved redundancy for risk management purposes, and upgrading and migrating key applications such as the electronic record keeping system (TRIM) and horticultural database (BGBASE) onto new server environments. In addition, a new high capacity server was commissioned with the ability to run most BGPA server environments as virtual machines in the event of major disaster in the server room.
An expansion of the fibre optic service in Kings Park incorporated new services for irrigation control, replaced aged, damaged and degraded infrastructure, connected the new Kings Park Education building and created a complete fibre optic loop through the park. This has reduced the risk of downtime through damage or faults by providing redundancy in the fibre network, which has now also been more accurately mapped for future reference.
Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority Annual Report 2012/13