Oct 13, 2022, 13:00 PM
Citywide’s road-spraying crews have taken a front seat in the drive for safer operations, with the arrival of the first in a fleet of world-leading Can-Am Defenders – the robust utility vehicles that are taking the world of work by storm.
The Can-Am Defender XU is part of a long-term program to phase out the quadbikes traditionally used for street spraying, which have long been associated with poor safety records. By contrast, Side-by-Side (SxS) vehicles like the Can-Ams are not only safer but significantly more efficient and ecologically friendly than their farmyard cousins.
“We’re always looking for greener options,” says Cameron Lemon, who runs horticultural operations out of Citywide’s Port Phillip depot. “This Side-by-Side is the first in a series of safer, cleaner vehicles – and it’s my hope that our fleet will eventually be comprised entirely of electric vehicles.”
The 65-horsepower XU has an impressive list of safety credentials, including sturdy rollbars, dual seatbelts, and an electronic locking feature that prevents the vehicle travelling over a certain speed. For anyone who wants to know more, the company will be putting QR decals on all its Can-Ams, with access to a suite of online information.
Jackson Goldenberg, who’s been driving utes and quadbikes for Citywide’s spraying operations, says the Can-Am has revolutionised his working day. “They’re a joy to use, so simple and easy, and you feel so much safer than when you’re on a quadbike,” he says.
“Plus, we’re definitely using less weedkiller because you don’t have to keep stopping to top up the tank. Working with a colleague in the laneways, one of you is focusing on the maps and driving, while the other does the spraying – and you literally get four times as much work done.”
In recent years, Citywide has introduced several initiatives to improve the safety of its urban road network vegetation management, reducing the use of harmful chemicals and adopting cleaner alternatives like the Norwegian-built Heatweed Sensor vehicle , which applies near-boiling water to roadside weeds.
Melbourne residents will have seen our Heatweed vehicle in the laneways of Port Melbourne and St Kilda, but when dealing with larger suburbs the Can-Ams provide much greater and more efficient coverage.
“We have boom sprays mounted on the back, which enable us to get an effective coverage of narrow laneways with the smallest amount of weedkiller in a single pass,” explains Cameron.
“Plus, in terms of keeping our operators safe on the road, nothing beats the Can-Ams. Having a fleet of these vehicles will be a real game-changer for our operations. We’ve seen the first-generation electric Can-Ams and they are absolutely phenomenal. You charge them overnight and you get 6-8 hours out of them the next day.
“We can’t keep burning fossil fuels for any part of our operations – that’s just the way it is. I can’t wait to see us make the switch to electric.”