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Wood-fired barbecues rapidly disappearing from Brisbane parks

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One of Brisbane’s most nostalgic outdoor traditions, cooking on a council wood-fired barbecue, may soon become part of history as the number of such facilities in the city’s parks rapidly dwindles.

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Brisbane City Council has revealed that there are less than 100 wood-fired barbecues remaining in the city’s parks, down from 288 in 2019 and 410 in 2014.

Only three of the wood-fired barbecues removed since August last year have been replaced with the electric variety.

At last count there were a total of 720 barbecues across 423 parks in Brisbane – 595 electric, 33 gas and just 92 wood-fired.

Most of those remaining wood-fired barbecues are in parks in the city’s western and middle ring suburbs.

However, a council spokeswoman insisted there were no plans to phase out wood-fired barbecues.

“If a wood-fired barbecue is replaced it may be replaced with another wood-fired barbecue, an electric barbecue or a gas barbecue depending on location and whether electrical services are available,” she said.

That pace is not good enough for the council Opposition, who called on Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner to “bring these BBQ’s into the 21st century”.

Opposition councillor Charles Strunk said many of the old wood-fired barbecues were in bad condition and hardly ever stocked with fresh wood.

“Often you can’t even use them because of fire bans and the Lord Mayor should replace them with electric barbecues immediately,” he said.

When the fate of the city’s wood-fired barbecues was raised in the council chamber in 2019, Environment chair David McLachlan said the facilities had an “end of life” and there was a replacement program funded in the budget.

He also said many people tended to bring their own portable barbecues to parks.

While the smell of burnt sausage mixed with wood smoke wafting around council parks may soon be no more, the council last year opted to allow backyard fire pits after a public outcry over a ban on their use.

That other bygone source of suburban smoke, the backyard incinerator, was banned in 1987.

 

 

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