WAIHI DISTRICT WALKWAYS INC.
by Tessa Mackenzie
Dated: 28 June 2001
Since Waihi Walkways developed to become Waihi District Walkways Inc last year, there has been a significant amount of progress towards the development of Waihi’s walkway network.
A Draft Strategic Plan has been prepared with help from the local BIZ office. This document should be developed and changed to improve the organisation's progress and structure, as well as identifying the process to achieve the visions, goals and development path for Waihi Walkways.
Waihi Walkway’s officially opened a walkway link from Gilmour Lake to Clarke Street in December 2000. This "Heritage Walk" will allow pedestrians to access Black Hill track and the "soon-to-be" Scout Walk. Plantings established by HELP, Conservation Corps and local schools provide an example of the environmental enhancement that can go hand in hand with track development.
The production of a quarterly newsletter has proved a useful tool in informing all our members, supporters, funders and other interested parties of our progress. The newsletter goes out to over 40 recipients. E-mail is being fully utilised as the most cost effective distribution option, which also provides an avenue to direct feedback on the topics covered.
We feel fortunate to have had good success in our first funding year, and this has been due to having designated a Funding Officer within our committee, together with the standard of research, and document presentation by our Co-ordinator being of extremely high standard. Funds received so far have enabled us to provide paid employment for our (previously volunteer) Co-ordinator on a full-time 6 month fixed term contract (thanks to Lottery E & H). A major boost from Environment Waikato for environmental enhancement work, together with Jim Say Foundation for some construction costs, and Trust Waikato for our initial research and development costs, mean that we are set to undertake at least two major projects this winter. Environment Waikato also "lent" us a tertiary student over the summer, who produced some excellent plans for three separate walks.
The importance of Iwi consultation and involvement has been encouraged. This area of work is one that has created learning curves for those members of the committee involved in the process. It is important that the quest for knowledge and understanding for Maori concerns be continued, in order for the Walkways to be a truly holistic development.
Preliminary work has started to clear and explore options for Scout Walk. The updated document has been approved by two of the four local and regional government authorities and Iwi. Planting of appropriate native trees has commenced, whilst approval for structures is still to be finalised. This walk is a three-way partnership with Walkways, HELP and Waihi Gold.
The next walks to be mapped and documented take our Co-ordinator down the Ohinemuri towards Waikino, and also to more remote bush tracks. We hope to complement the hand held GPS system with an Emergency Positioning Beacon and cell-phone to maximise safety in isolated areas. These items are subject to funding applications currently being decided.
2001 is an exciting year for Walkways, with the opportunity to build on existing frameworks, relationships and community networks. We need to ensure that the fast growth we are experiencing in terms of project research, development and management, remains achieveable as opposed to overwhelming for those involved. The focus remains the same - to develop walking tracks that are free for anyone to use, and which encourage health on a physical, mental and emotional level. An asset for current and future generations to enjoy.
I would like to finish by thanking Eric for his determination, enthusiasm and commitment to the project, and also for being a good teacher, for voicing his opinions and working positively to address any issues of concern.
Thanks to Owen for his grounded good sense, and for providing support and advice to me personally, especially on matters such as committee and government protocol.
Thanks to John for allowing me not to have to think about IRD, GST, PAYE, and for being so capable, available, and willing to help.
And, thanks to the committee, members, media and funders, for sharing in, and supporting the vision of Waihi Walkways.
I shall be stepping down from Chairpersons position tonight, to go overseas, so I would like to wish the new Chair and committee a smooth and positive ride, and look forward to catching up with the project in 2002.
Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand
Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways