As the land dries out we have been able to clean up the ruts made by the digger so that when the grass grows it will be smooth underfoot. We have used a couple of the piles of the felled taiwan cherry trees to mark the path edges and done quite a bit of spraying to get rid of the ginger other weeds.
The last job was to widen the car park by a few metres so that cars can turn round more easily.
When the stream dries out a bit more we can put in a couple of small dams to make shallow pools.
Its starting to look like a proper park.
As part of our consent procedure with FNDC, various groups attended a Health and Safety briefing at Kaikohe. As approved groups working on FNDC land we have the same responsibility to our volunteers as council employees and need to keep them safe from harm. We are a pretty risk averse group anyway but need to be disciplined over how we go about it.
We have also taken advantage of the dry period to add a second dam to the stream but we now need some rain to fill it.
The plan is to hold some water back to plant reeds and sedges and have a school use the area for educational purposes.
After months of struggling across a muddy ditch we have put in a small bridge for walkers on the track.
It might be small but its very strong, with 200 mm piles and beams and a 50 mm deck.
Meanwhile the Parks team have planted another section section of the stream which is beginning to dry up.
Today was the first day that the Parks Team had worked on the Peacock gardens reserve and we achieved more than I thought we would.
One job was to reroute the track, where we had inadvertently gone across private land, and under Graeme's leadership that was accomplished.
The other group got on with smoothing the banks where the digger had dumped and rutted the land when we dug out the steam.
When the ground was reasonably smooth we planted some trees. The Pukatea went in to the really wet area and cabbage trees on the banks. About thirty trees altogether and a very productive morning.
Our organisation has morphed into two teams with the Landscapers doing the heavy work like clearing land and putting up fences and the Parks team sorting out the mess and planting the trees in a pattern that will be attractive when they mature in twenty years time.
The latest addition was to fence the piece of mown land that looked like a private garden and plant it so that walkers feel confident with going over it. With it fenced, we then planted six beautiful big trees and surrounded them with flax and cabbage trees.
The long, upstream strip was thick with taiwan cherry and wild ginger and this has now been cleared and planted. It still need some work but there are a lot of big trees in the ground and it looks as though someone care for it.
There are two streams in this reserve and it is rumored that they were once Maori gardens, which is credible, as the soil is good and there are clumps of Taro on the stream edge. We are trying to recruit some schools to adopt the streams as a project and replant them with wetland plants and also the typical plants that Maori would have had for basic food and medicinal herbs.
We have had a few good sessions on the Peacock Gardens reserve where we have cleared and cleaned up the strip that was overgrown with Taiwan cherry and ginger. It might still look like a battlefield from the 1st World War but it is definitely taking shape and ready for further planting.
On another day we extended the area that is intended for the car park and it would take about ten cars, which is plenty. A tree stump in the entrance caused a bit of trouble but Graeme and Carol supplied a strop and Wills trusty antique Land Cruiser pulled it out easily. We were hoping that FNDC would deliver some metal to make the surface but this needs a bit more time to fit into the budget.
The Parks team were ready to do the planting but rained off by a short and fierce rainstorm and will have another go next week.
The good news is that the Far North District Council have completed their consent application procedure, I have signed our copy on behalf of the Kerikeri Walkways Group and we are waiting for the Councils signature.
Living Waters was first and we were second but in the end it is a good document, easy to understand and comply with. as long as you understand the risks to volunteers and do your best to keep them safe.
As many of us as possible will need to attend a Health and Safety session in the near future.
All the staff at FNDC have been extremely helpful and encouraging to make this happen.
The bad news is that DOC have refused again our application despite all the hard work that Ben and Ruben of Vision Consulting Engineers have put in. The reasons for the refusal are these.
At this time the Department of Conservation will not support the development of the Booth’s Wharepuke Farm Track. Reasons for this being;
On the positive side, it is public land and is listed on the Land Information NZ map, the track is walkable and a large number of people are using it and the track is part of DOC's plans for the Kororipo Heritage area.
Its just that we can't improve the surface, plant trees to improve diversity or build a small footbridge.
When we dug out the drainage ditch we put in a log to form a pool and make a small waterfall. The ides was to retain the water level so that water would be held to benefit The wetland plants that we intend to plant.
We only got one log in place as it was full of water and mud but it proved the principle and we will put three more in to make additional pools when it dries out.
The Horticultural students from North Tec put in a big days work clearing Taiwan cherry trees and tobacco trees from the reserve in the pouring rain last week which was a great effort.
This week they came back and planted 250 trees in the space they had created. There is still a lot of brush to be cleared but it is beginning to look to look like a recreational park.
We had to clear a track to get the trailer load of plants in.
The students planted about 30 Kauri in the driest ground and about 30 kahakitia in the wettest ground plus some rimu, puriri, pohutukawa and some hebes and flax.
It was hard work but the sunshine helped to make it enjoyable and at the end we had to tow the trailer back to the road by hand.
Thank you for all the help by North Tec and the students.
Today I delivered the contract for the Far North District Council infrastructure grant. Kerikeri Walkways Group have had a massive amount of help from from the staff and counselors on this project from FNDC with steering it through to a satisfactory conclusion. The Bay of Islands Walkways Trust has also helped enormously with guidance and advice.
The support from the community has been massive and this has carried the whole Southside Track project along.
In the photograph from right to left. Bob Bingham, Ana Mules (who was the main contact) Bill Lee (Manager of Community Development) and Edina Harris, facilitator.