Waihi Walkways Annual Report
Good evening and welcome.
Today I feel a celebration is in order.
Waihi Walkways was conceived some 100 or more years ago, born only 3 or so years ago, and this year we are about to take our first walk! Just cause for celebration I am sure.
Eastern Stream Walkway – from Baker street to Clark street – has just had its metal track installed, complete with culverts, box steps, etc. The plants are growing, and although we haven’t had an official opening, yet, it is soon to be our very first, right from the very beginning, Waihi Walkways walk.
Eastern Stream Walkway – previously known as Scout – has been a learning curve for us all. It is an attractive wilderness area, right in the midst of Waihi, with a lovely stream and historic features. As DoC owned land, we have been working with the department to fulfil their requirements for a "short stop" walk – as it has been categorised.
The HELP team, Andrew Jenks, Chris, Jarrod and Walter, found a small mountain of rubbish and weeds, etc when they first started work on the site, and they have cleared that away allowing more of the native trees to come through. Also, with the help of local school children, several hundred native trees have been planted to assist in the restoration of the area.
Sometimes it seems that a simple job – putting in a public walkway – should take no time at all. But all of the people who have worked throughout these last 3 or 4 years know differently! However, as we look at the achievement of this first walkway, I am sure everyone agrees it was all worthwhile.
I should like to acknowledge the many many voluntary hours that all the committee members of WW have contributed to the concept of creating walks around the town and the district. Your dedication and persistence has made possible this celebration today. Thank you so much, on behalf of everyone here, and on behalf of all the current and future Waihians who will walk and enjoy the tracks around Waihi as they are opened up.
Other achievements this past year include hundreds of native trees planted on the south side of the Ohinemuri River – near the Coronation Bridge – as the first stage of our Riverbank Terrace walk.
We have also seen a beginning on the Union Hill Historic Area, courtesy of the main landowner, Newmont Gold. This area is not open to the public, but the concept plan for the development of the whole area will be the next step.
Sometimes, however, we find that we have to put a project aside or on hold, and this last year saw us press enthusiastically for the end of Lawrence Street – at the confluence of the Ohinemuri and Waitete – the site of the historic Waihi Dredging Plant – to be retained by the Hauraki District Council (they are the current owners) and the for area to be kept as an historic reserve. We did manage some small concession from the Council, and that area will be managed as a reserve, but we record here that Waihi Walkways contests that the area set aside is not as generous as the site deserves; and that allowing this area to go into private ownership is a mistake which will be regretted in the future.
On the administrative side we have developed a funding spreadsheet to assist with the management of contributions and expenditures – this is an impressive document, updated each month, complete with many links and graphs. This document, combined with the reporting on the accounts, allows us to make informed decisions at any time. Thank you to John Vinson, our Treasurer, for your meticulous attention to the cashbook requirements.
Thank you also to Annette for tireless minute taking and reporting. And I would like to acknowledge the many hours and hours of attention given to the Walkways projects by Eric, over a wide range of items – spreadsheets, newsletters, maps, photos, and a host of backup activities, all of which has enabled Walkways to progress this past year. Your contribution has been invaluable in so many ways.
Thank you to our funders, Environment Waikato, Trust Waikato, Lotteries, Jim Say Foundation, Valder Trust… and the support and encouragement from these and other organisations as we progress with the walks. Funding for community projects is ongoing and a demanding role – thank you to Lissa and latterly Tessa for your work in this area.
The success of a community venture such as Waihi Walkways is entirely dependent on the vision and passion of the people who come together to move a project. Their sense of the future, of what will nurture and enhance, is a precious treasure.
The vision of a network of walkways, within the township, and also from Waihi to the beach, to Whangamata, to Paeroa or Thames (over the hills), and to Waikino and the Gorge, can all become reality over time.
I encourage any of you, all of you here tonight, to consider contributing your thoughts and energies to the future of Waihi through this organisation. These walkways, once established, will benefit many people in many ways over many years.
I have appreciated the opportunity to contribute as Chairperson this past year, and look forward to more celebrations, and to seeing progress over the next few years and, of course, enjoying the walks.
Dated: 18 June 2002
Waihi Walkways Inc
Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand
Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways