Parks Operational Review

Xyst worked with staff from the Parks and Open Spaces Maintenance Team, along with other departments, to understand how parks maintenance operations are currently performing and to understand any potential need for change, in order to meet the City’s future requirements and strategic goals. This review also sought to understand more about the outputs and […]

Playground Performance Assessment Summary Report

A total of 214 playground performance assessments were conducted in 2019 in the Toowoomba Regional Council. Data was captured utilising hand held mobile devices and uploaded to an online platform that collated the information for analysis. The assessments recorded and evaluated key attributes of each playground, including site description, site location, overall play values, ancillary […]

South East Queensland Water Playground Performance Assessment

Xyst staff undertook 17 playground assessments in 2019. Data was captured utilising hand held mobile devices and uploaded to an online platform that collated the information for analysis. The assessments recorded and evaluated the following key attributes of each playground: Site description Location Overall play values Ancillary facilities Asset information Judgements on individual play space […]

Parks Operations Business Improvement Review

Xyst staff initially carried out a desktop analysis of existing documents relating to service levels, service standards, budgets, customer feedback, asset management plans and strategic plans. A total of 22 parks were assessed by scoring of a range of criteria based on typical industry standards. The identification of current operational costs and asset provision to […]

Wingicarribee Playground Strategy

Xyst undertook a playground performance assessment, developed levels of service, prepared a draft strategy and assessed consultation feedback. We then finalised the Playground Strategy and Renewal Plan.

Wingecarribee Public Toilet Strategy

Xyst undertook a performance assessment of all public toilets, including user surveys and counting at select sites. We developed categories and levels of service, undertook analysis of future needs and prepared a Public Toilet Strategy and Renewal Plan.

Playground Performance Assessment

Undertook site-based performance assessment of all South East Queensland Water Playgrounds and provided a summary report and planning recommendations.

Open Space Embellishment Costing

Developed an open space hierarchy and typical development level of service description on which to base cost estimates for development contributions evaluation. Developed cost estimates based on benchmarking valuation information and prepared worked examples to provide a range of typical development costs for each park type.

Anita Quibell

Anita Quibell

I am a parks professional with 40 years’ experience in the industry and a proven record of building strong relationships and implementing strategies that deliver results. I have worked extensively in Australia’s local government in various operational and planning roles. I have been involved in the development of strategic plans and the implementation of business […]

Andy Smith

Andy Smith

I have over 30 years local government experience, holding a range of positions within community development, open space, recreation and sport and community assets portfolios. I was instrumental in developing the first Open Space and Sport Plan for the newly formed City of Onkaparinga in 1998 and for the last 25 years I have been […]

Charlotte Blakey

Charlotte Blakey

With over 15 years combined experience in natural resource management and arboriculture, I have been involved in a variety of projects within the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. This includes the development of asset management plans, program management and implementation, development of policies and procedures, provision of technical advice, collection and analysis of field data, […]

Playground Performance Assessment

Performance assessments were conducted on the regions 125 playgrounds. Data was captured utilising hand held mobile devices and uploaded to an online platform that collated the information for analysis. The assessments recorded and evaluated the following key attributes of each playground: – Site description – Site location – Overall play values – Ancillary facilities – […]

Play Strategy

Xyst prepared a play strategy to set out the approach to the future provision of playgrounds across the region. The methodology and outputs included: performance assessment of all playgrounds to prioritise renewal planning levels of service hierarchy to guide the design for future development work. analysis of demographics and future needs. detailed 10 year costed […]

Public Amenities Strategy and Implementation Plan

The outcomes of this project included: • To maintain a network of safe, accessible, clean and environmentally sustainable public amenities • To improve the quality of public amenities • To ensure the provision of public amenities is cost effective and meets the needs of residents and visitors to the Region • To provide a guideline […]

Asset Management Plan

Project included asset management maturity assessment, development of levels of service framework and risk assessment

Open Space Valuation Methodology

Xyst were tasked with researching current industry practice with regard to the application of variable asset lives (and values where appropriate) that reflect the needs of sites with different levels of service – in particular those open space sites that have very high levels of utilisation and expectations associated with high-profile inner-city metro areas. The […]

Open Space Level of Service Review

The outputs included: Review current Open Space category hierarchy and identify options for improvements Performance assessment of a range of parks across the municipality Undertake a user survey of a range of parks across the municipality Preparation of development levels of service for each of the Open Space Recreation Park categories (T1 – T5) including […]

Contracts and Specifications Review

Xyst worked to facilitate a series of tasks that have a focus on operational management of the portfolio of open space. This includes: project management and facilitation of a number of operational tasks developing contract specifications for open space maintenance considering the delivery approach for open space maintenance and how to approach the market, is […]

Review of Open Space Maintenance Delivery

Xyst was engaged to review the Council’s service delivery, with the overall aim of ensuring the service is delivered effectively and efficiently and that it meets the needs and expectations of the community. We reviewed Council’s service delivery and prepared a report which identified the following: The true cost of delivering the service How the […]

Parks Service Unit Operational Review

Xyst worked closely with the unit to better understand the current state of their functions and services, and the effectiveness and efficiency of the current team resourced to deliver them. Also we worked to better understand the outputs and outcomes which Council and the community require from Council’s parks, open spaces and public facilities, and […]

Parks renewals forecast and budget submission

In order to prepare a budget forecast and prepare a supporting narrative for the submission, Xyst conducted analysis of July 2021 asset data and condition summary (inspections completed April 2021) to consider the renewal requirement.

Regional Trails Master Plan – The Tracks and Trails of Western Australia’s Wildflower Country and Coast

Western Australia’s Tracks and Trails – Wildflower Country and Coasts. Xyst broke the project down into specific tasks made up of: 1. Market Analysis Baseline Data Collation Initial Workshop Desktop Research Benchmarking Levels of Service Framework 2. Site Development: Existing Trails Preparation On-ground Assessments Face-to-Face Consultation Improvements Schedule Existing Trail Mapping 3. Site Development: Proposed […]

Swan Canning Riverpark (WA) Parks User Survey

Xyst measured visitor expectations of levels of service by asking them to rate the importance of various park features. These results were compared with visitor satisfaction for the same features. Measuring satisfaction gave an indication of performance as measured against expectations. The difference, or gap between importance and satisfaction, gave a measure of under or […]

Community Gardens Guidelines

Council acknowledged that establishing a successful Community Garden requires strong and sustained commitment from community members to undertake considerable planning, collaboration and engagement for a sustained length of time. Xyst developed these Community Garden Guidelines to assist community groups to understand the parameters of siting community gardens and the responsibilities of all stakeholders involved when […]

Bass Coast Tracks and Trails Strategy

This strategy identified 36 new trail opportunities to expand the trail network that has been identified during the development of this strategy, (emerging from background research, existing plans and key stakeholder consultation) and to respond specifically to: • recreation trends and preferences • existing trails network gaps • physical linkages/connections • opportunities to enhance community […]

Open Space and Street Furniture Guidelines

The Open Space and Street Furniture Guidelines is a suite of three resources: Practice Notes (this document) – 4 practice notes (people, place, environment, economy) describe context, principles, considerations and further reading relevant to open space and street furniture projects. These act as a general overview in support of the specific design guidelines. Case studies […]

Gender Impact Assessment, Warburton Mountain Bike Destination Project

Yarra Ranges Council is committed to working towards a Yarra Ranges where everyone has equitable access to resources, power and opportunities. This commitment is documented in the current Council Plan 2022-25. The Gender Equality Act 2020 requires local governments to conduct Gender Impact Assessments on all policies, programs and services which directly and significantly impact […]

Open Space and Tree Management Market and Service Delivery Assessment

City of Melbourne engaged Xyst to undertake a market and service delivery assessment and make recommendations on the best model for packaging the Open Space Management and Tree Management service contracts. The Xyst team gathered market intelligence on the current and potential service providers and considered the market in which they operate. We identified any […]

Open space contract quality audits and asset management condition inspections

The City of Whittlesea maintains 2,173 sites within its municipal boundaries where individual assets are located to be audited. All assets are inspected across the full range of park categories and measured for compliance with the relevant KPIs and outcomes detailed in the parks services contract, acting impartially and without bias. In any given month […]

Tree Strategy

Port Pirie wishes to be a region that has pride in, and appreciates the values of its trees within public parks, streets and open spaces. It wishes to provide streets that are attractive and town centres which are visually appealing and inviting, to complement the network of parks and open spaces ranging from urban to […]

Trail Survey

In early 2022 Yarra Ranges Council engaged Xyst to undertake a performance assessment of three shared use trails: the Lilydale Lake Trail, the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, and the Yarra Valley Trail. This was a follow-up to an earlier survey carried out in 2019. Performance assessments were conducted in March 2022 using the Yardstick […]

Yardstick Parks User Surveys

Yardstick Parks User Surveys were developed in around 2008 initially as a paper based intercept survey designed to target park users and measure satisfaction with a range of parks related services and features. The product was initially called Parkcheck and is still known as this by some users. The surveys were taken online in 2015 […]

Bold Park User Satisfaction Review

Xyst completed a comprehensive engagement strategy involving user intercept surveys, obtaining feedback from non-park-users in surrounding areas, and a matching on-line survey to establish an overall satisfaction rating for the Park. In addition, gaps in service provision were identified and reported that would increase the overall satisfaction.

Parks Performance Assessments

The purpose of the parks performance assessment was to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each park, from a multi-faceted holistic perspective, and particularly from the users’ perspective. Recommendations to retain, change or assign (where none previously existed) service classifications for each park were made.

Shade Audit of Open Spaces

Xyst provided a qualitative assessment of existing shade throughout the network and completed a current condition assessment for structural shade infrastructure. Analysis was provided to assist the Council to determine the current and future needs for shade within the facilities, and objective recommendations were made based on results and findings of the audits.

Child Care Centre Playground Performance Assessment

Key findings of the performance assessments, accompanied by some high level analytical commentary was completed, with each playground assigned an overall performance assessment score. Analysis included site design, play value, quantity of play items, equipment condition, safety surface condition and an assessment of remaining life of the asset.

Playground Performance Assessment

Undertook an assessment of each playground using the Playable Space Assessment Tool, Play England 2009, which has been adapted by Xyst. The tool enabled an assessment to be made of location, play value and ancillary facilities to produce an overall percentage score for each playground, ranking each playground to enable priorities to be identified objectively […]

Botanic Gardens Staff Resourcing Review

Xyst provided an independent review of staffing resourcing to help the Parks and Open spaces department to determine appropriate resources and a structure for the Botanic Gardens in the future. There was only enough staff to perform basic maintenance of the gardens so Xyst carried out a benchmarking analysis to assess how other Botanic Gardens […]

Parks User Survey

Xyst carried out surveys within various parks and reserves in the City of Greater Dandenong. These surveys recorded visitor expectations of levels of service and then compared them with the visitor satisfaction for the same levels of services. This measurement gives an indication of performance measured against expectations, along with an indication of under or […]

Botanic Garden Education Program

Xyst analysed the current education program that Geelong Botanic Gardens was using and created an issues and opportunities report. The report identified a number of issues and opportunities, fundamentally identifying a lack of strategic direction for the program. It was recognised that a business plan was needed to address many of the key issues. The […]

Play Strategy Review and Open Space Quality Assessments report

Xyst undertook park quality performance assessments on all City of Greater Geelong owned or managed community parks and other open space types. We were also asked to review the Geelong Play Strategy 2012-2020 and produce a report around how well the city implemented the strategy and advice on strengths, weaknesses, lessons learnt and any significant […]

Performance Analysis Report and Improvement Plan

Xyst looked at the City of Joondalup’s park information and management processes and compared these against other Australian organisations. These comparisons provided Xyst with information which helped the City of Joondalup make decisions surrounding areas of improvement.

Parks and Service Review

Xyst was brought in to undertake a service review of the Parks and Environment section based on a Council resolution of November 2018. We reviewed Kalamunda’s information with other Australian councils’ park provision using Yardstick to produce a wide range of performance metrics to assess relative levels of service, performance and efficiency. We were also […]

Performance Analysis Report and Improvement Plan

Xyst looked at the City of Kingstons park information and management processes and compared these against other Australian organisations. These comparisons provided Xyst with information which helped guide the City of Kingston to make decisions surrounding areas of improvement.

Performance Analysis Report and Improvement Plan

Xyst looked at the City of Karratha’s park information and management processes and compared these against other Australian organisations. These comparisons provided Xyst with information which helped guide the City of Karratha to make decisions surrounding areas of improvement.

Parks User Survey

Visitors’ expectations for levels of service are measured by asking them to rate the importance of various park features. The results are compared with visitor satisfaction for the same features. Measuring this satisfaction gives an indication of performance of levels of service against their expectations. The difference between importance and satisfaction gives a measure of […]

Staff Resource Benchmarking Exercise

Xyst used data from Yardstick to create benchmarking metrics to compare four other Victorian councils to Macedon Ranges. Using this data Xyst was able to provide recommendations to Macedon Ranges on modifying the Structure of the Open Space and Recreation Department going forward.

Open Space Strategy

Xyst’s audit identified the need to review and update the Council’s existing Open Space Strategy (2013) to provide a structured and consistent approach that will inform the strategic and planning processes for parks and gardens. The audits findings allowed Council to determine whether it was providing a sufficient level of clarity to make investments and […]

Tree Contract Review Recommendations

Xyst was commissioned by Maroondah City Council to lead a workshop with relevant staff to assist in reviewing the current approach to outsourcing of arboriculture services for the following activities: collection of tree data, risk assessment and monitoring of physical works, street tree pruning and wire clearance works, supply and planting of street trees and […]

Level of Service Summary

Xyst identified and developed Levels of Service through a series of staff workshops, assisted by an analysis of the current asset inventory and review of the contract specifications. The levels of service will address both development and operating levels of service and will be guided by an agreed strategic parks category framework that could be […]

Open Spaces and Tree Management Market and Service Delivery Assessment

Xyst worked with City of Melbourne staff to develop an understanding of how the current delivery model is performing and, importantly, what changes are recommended to meet the City of Melbourne’s future requirements. Xyst carried out interviews with staff and service providers; questionnaires and data from Yardstick were all used to provide the City of […]

The Tracks and Trails of WA’s Wildflower Country and Coast

Xyst delivered a Regional Trails Master Plan that was sufficient to enable Western Australia’s constituent councils to give due consideration to the strategic aspects of the question as to whether it is feasible to progress with the planning and physical development of individual trails. Xyst completed a market analysis, site development considerations and feasibility studies […]

Urban Forest Policy

Xyst developed a Urban Forest Policy to provide guidance and direction in relation to the planting of new trees and promote planting, focussed on conserving a greener city. The policy also provided guidance and direction on continued maintenance, management and protection of trees. The policy aims to provide a basis from which to make decisions […]

Park Observation Study

Xyst developed a methodology including a set of observation criteria. Merri-bek City Council used its own labour force to observe people in 230 parks and, combined with Xyst’s observation criteria, data surrounding park usage was developed. Xyst collated, analysed and presented this data to Merri-bek City Council.

Playground Performance Assessment

Xyst was engaged by Mount Alexander Shire Council to undertake a performance assessment of its playgrounds. Playground performance assessments were then conducted over 24 sites. Data was captured into an online platform that collated the information for analysis. The assessments recorded and evaluated many key attributes of each playground, eg places to sit/socialise. This data […]

Open Space Asset Management Plan 2021

Xyst was approached by Mount Alexander Shire Council to develop an Asset Management Plan to formally document the management approach applied to parks services and assets. This long-term planning approach was considered necessary given the large capital and operating expenditure expected. The developed AMP covers a 10-year timeframe and its main focus was in determining […]

Open Space & Street Furniture Guidelines

Xyst were engaged to develop guidelines to be used to support existing Council policies and strategies and act as a compendium to the strategy. These guidelines were used to produce a consistent method of replacing damaged and ageing furniture and designing new parks and streetscapes. Providing these guidelines allowed Moyne Shire to meet their need […]

Rural City of Murray Bridge – Water-Based Recreation Management Plan

Xyst developed the Management plan to help RCMB identify opportunities for rejuvenation along the Murray River Corridor, encompassing future potential for residential land uses and sustainable environmental management. Xyst participated in inception and research and consultation and assessments to deliver a final management plan. From this Xyst identified opportunities and constraints relating to a broad […]

Bushland & Wetland Reserves Prioritisation & Planning

Xyst produced the document to help Council produce a more strategic and consistent process to ensure bushland and wetland reserves are managed for their long-term sustainability, on ground actions are prioritised and that councils resources are used efficiently and effectively. To prioritise the reserves and plan for the management, a process of combining state criteria […]

Eltham Lower Park Wayfinding Audit

Xyst developed an audit to identify the existing signage placed within the Eltham Lower Park and adjoining areas. This existing signage included signs directing people to the park and within the park. Each sign within the park was assessed to consider the condition, functionality and wayfinding needs for visitors to the park. At the end […]

Operations Levels of Service.

Xyst produced an operating levels of service guideline which focused on confirming scheduled maintenance tasks associated with grass, horticulture, sports areas, irrigation, furniture and structures, paths and hard surfaces, playgrounds, litter and refuse, trees, verges and firebreaks. Each of these areas had scheduled operations, such as grass height, and then each area had tasks assigned. […]

Copley Community Open Space Concept Plan

Copley is located in the outback and its community park lacks shade, has old playground equipment and a tennis court. The Authority wanted the park to be more attractive to the community and visitors due to having limited recreational areas. Xyst was approached and we developed a proposed park development plan which contained guiding principles […]

Contract Training Workshop

Xyst prepared and led a 3/4 day training session on contract management, contributing to cover contract management tasks including tender planning, specification writing, etc. Three main themes were delivered to staff; these were contract management, service delivery specifications and quality management.

Trails Strategy 2021

Xyst undertook a comprehensive audit and assessment of the Shires diverse trail network with emphasis on user experience. Alongside the audit, Xyst provided mapping analysis of the Shire’s current trail network and a strategic assessment. Following this a comprehensive report was supplied to Council which helped inform Council’s long-term plan for managing its trail network […]

Trails Operating Levels of Service

Xyst produced an operating level of service that was aligned with best practice guidelines which focused on confirming maintenance tasks associated with the trail network and identifying appropriate intervention tolerances, frequencies of operation, response times and deadlines associated with each task. Each level of service that was identified responded to the public use of the […]

Valuation of Land Improvement Assets for Financial Reporting Purposes

Xyst was engaged by Council to undertake a valuation of specified Land Improvement Assets. These standards were valued on the basis of Fair Value and being in accordance with Australian and International Accounting Standards. This valuation covered living assets only (soil and plants/turf) such as street gardens or grassed areas within sports parks. A useful […]

Valuation of Parks Assets for Financial Reporting Purposes

Xyst was engaged by Council to undertake a valuation of specified Land Improvement Assets. These standards were valued on the basis of Fair Value and being in accordance with Australian and International Accounting Standards. This valuation covered assets such as signs, bins, synthetic sports fields, playgrounds and others. Xyst then undertook a field-based asset inventory […]

Parks and Gardens Service Review

Xyst undertook a performance quality assessment of operations and maintenance standards across a sample of different parks categories with a geographic spread across the shire. This assessment enabled us to develop an overall result of 90% for parks within the Council’s authority. Following the assessment, key areas of improvement and success were identified. From this […]

Parks Operations Site Audit

To review the Council’s maintenance operations, Xyst developed a site inspection matrix that had two major areas of assessment, being critical success factors and the technical service levels. The critical success factors were scored for each site and weighting applied. This approach was used due to some factors for users being more important than technical […]

Cemetery Strategy

Xyst was engaged to help Port Pirie Council to have a region where all cemeteries are developed and maintained to create a pleasant, safe, peaceful and sustainable environment and all burials are managed with compassion, competency and efficiency. The development of this strategy provided a framework to ensure cemeteries continue to have space available to […]

Landfill Revegetation Programme and Maintenance Plan 2014

Xyst developed a landfill revegetation programme for Port Pirie Regional Council, along with a maintenance plan developed to assist the Council when undertaking the physical works required to revegetate the landfill site. The developed plan included planting schedules, maintenance plan and specifications, and site planning plan. These elements discuss which species should be planted, specifications […]

Mount Alexander Shire Council – Skate Park and BMX Track Study

We undertook a desktop study on Council’s skate park and BMX track facilities. The aim of the study was to inform Council with recommendations for future developments that were based on robust evidence. To assist with the study we explored the following: Council’s current youth facility situation, demographics (population, township and age projections), current trends […]

Open Space Asset Data Verification and Condition Inspection Program

Inspection of roughly 5,000 open space and sports field assets to provide GIS spatial location, and asset condition. The project included improving the accuracy of existing GIS data to within 5 metres. Also, confirming assets on the register are present onsite, identifying assets removed and/or missing from the register and providing a photo for each […]

Contract Management and Contract Auditing

Xyst was engaged to manage the Amenity Tree Maintenance Contract and Open Space Maintenance contract for the City of Port Phillip from May 2023 through to March 2024. This included providing a dedicated contract manager working within the City of Port Phillip on placement. Particular emphasis was focused on improving contractor performance, systems improvement, reviewing […]

Stephanie Adams

Stephanie Adams

My role is mainly undertaking parks user surveys using the Yardstick Parks Survey tool for local government clients. My training and experience is in the area of performance in musical theatre so I’m well versed in communication skills. I have a passion for the outdoors and the public parks of Melbourne especially. I’ve developed strong communication […]

Eykolina Benny

Eykolina Benny

As a consultant, I am involved with a mixture of parks planning, asset management, capital works delivery and programme management projects for councils. My role often requires a high degree of meaningful consultation and engagement with the public and key stakeholders. I am supporting the Yardstick Parks Surveys project while also providing GIS support for […]

Karl Nesbitt

I have over 30 years’ experience in the horticulture, parks and open spaces, community facilities and customer service sectors. I have been involved in contract management, business development and quality assurance programs such as Yardstick. You can contact me for help with Project management Asset management Environmental landscape Open space development Cemeteries and crematoria Community, […]

Mark Bruhn

I have worked in local government in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, more recently overseeing the governance structure, stakeholder engagement and staff leadership within a primary health network.  I bring a strong service delivery and customer relationship focus having worked closely with governance groups, elected members, tangata whenua, funding agencies and community networks. You can […]

Scott Whelan

I put my all into every opportunity and am always open to learning. I am involved in parks audits for Xyst and its associated Yardstick benchmarking program, assessing park assets, conditions and maintenance requirements.  I have a passion for gardening and landscaping, enjoying the opportunity to be in the great outdoors and engaging with our […]

Nick Redenbach

The key parts of my role include auditing parks, asset inspections and usage, assessing residential impact, and community and stakeholder engagement. There are many complexities to consider while inspecting and auditing assets. The most important is safety. Then we consider cost, usage, residential impacts, practicality and quality. All of these factors need careful examination to […]


The management of trees and the urban forest is vital to mitigating the effects of climate change and to the health and wellbeing of communities


We do everything required to create safe, sustainable trails that allow people to enjoy the outdoors without having an impact on the environment

Service Delivery

From procuring and managing contractors to the practical implementation of strategic work, we can help you to deliver services efficiently


Along with Yardstick, our international benchmarking program for local government, if you need research to make good decisions, we can get it for you

Amenities & Facilities

Good quality, safe and well-maintained public amenities are essential for the convenience and comfort of people using our public spaces

Project Management

We specialise in providing specialist project management skills for parks, recreation and community projects. 

Play Spaces

From redevelopments to new builds, our children need safe, fun play spaces to get them outside for fresh air and exercise

Open Space Planning

Open space planning encompases everything to do with policy for open spaces in our communities including parks and playgrounds


With the growing demand for land and space, we can provide you with efficient strategies and solutions for managing cemeteries


From design and planning to maintenance, we can help to ensure people have a great experience when they enjoy your campgrounds and facilities

Asset Management

Having accurate information about assets allows you to make practical, workable decisions about maintaining and developing community spaces

Mark Smith

As a Director, I am able to support clients in many ways with my specialities in asset management, procurement, maintenance contract options, service reviews and project management support. My experience allows me to be flexible in the options I provide for client support. I take a pragmatic and diligent approach to client queries, and having […]

Chris Rutherford

I founded Xyst in 2002 and since then we have grown the company to the scale it is today.  Currently I manage the Australian branch from Melbourne, focusing on identifying opportunities for our company to work with like-minded clients and interact with our wonderful team around projects, opportunities, training and challenges. I endeavour to provide […]