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.
Very positive reaction of the Community Board members Terry Greening Chairman, Lane Ayr and Rachel Smith visiting the Peacock Gardens reserve. The project is to clear the invasive plants and replant with native wetland trees and shrubs, put in a small bridge to connect the Southside track, fell the dead eucalyptus trees and put in a small car park.
The volunteers can clear the bush, replant it and put in the bridge but we will need support for the items that require contractors such as the tree felling and the car park.
If we can find a volunteer with a digger we can clear the drainage ditch and create some small pools which, when replanted, will be a very attractive feature and when the river bank is opened up there will be some very nice picnic areas.
To develop the track to its full potential takes money as it requires timber for steps, signs, picnic tables, sprays to clear the weeds and thousands of trees to replant the reserve with a better range of food and habitat for the birds. Having done this it has a real value to the community as a place of peace, to commune with nature and to take part in exercise. It adds value to the town as a place to live and also as a place to visit as a tourist.
In recognition of this the Far North District Council have awarded the project an infrastructure grant to complete the work and for this we are very grateful.
Still a few boxes to tick but we are on our way.
It is now six months since I started work on the track and from a situation of dense undergrowth with no discernable way through, it is now possible to walk continuously from the bottom of Golf Links road all the way through to the Stone Store. In the process I have engaged with many people who have given me huge and enthusiastic support for which I am very grateful.
There are still several boxes to tick before it becomes an official full blown project but the track is walkable as it stands and that is great. One of the best bits about it is, that it is untouched woodland and introducing people to be able to appreciate it will, in some way, reduce the peace and serenity of the woods but it needs to be shared and appreciated by the community.