FAIRFIELD residents are fearing for their safety since maintenance surrounding a canal in their suburb has been neglected.
The canal, which runs behind Harris Street and Hamilton Road, has not been maintained by Fairfield Council for over a year.
The sides of the canal now contain overgrown, tall dry pampas grass, small trees and bushes.
One resident, Natalie, whose house backs onto the canal, said the site had become a huge fire hazard and it was only a matter of time before there is a grass fire.
"My blood pressure is very high and I can't sleep at night thinking that with this heat a grass fire will start," she said.
"I walked outside the other day and there was black smoke coming from the grass.
"All the residents here are scared because there is a lot of hazardous material out there."
Natalie expressed her concerns to the council about a month ago and requested someone clean up the area as soon as possible.
But, she said, the council staff member she spoke to told her a clean-up of the site could only be done, at the earliest, next March due to lack of resources.
"It's the council's duty to keep up maintenance of concrete canals and open places for the safety of residents," Natalie said.
"We're all worried that due to the council's neglect the canal has become a huge fire hazard and should be given immediate attention and not be left for another six months.
"How can there not be enough council resources for such an important job which affects the safety of so many residents?
"How are our rates being spent and how does the council prioritise where our money goes?"
A Fairfield Council spokesman said the council continued to maintain and routinely inspect all drains and creeks across its local government area, including this site, as part of programmed maintenance.
"Vegetation at the site was removed approximately two years ago and it it's currently programmed to be cleared again in early 2014," the spokesman said.
"The council has implemented the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework, which includes consultation with the community through the four-year Delivery Program and one-year Operational Plan."