Waihi Walkways Annual Report
CHAIRPERSON'S REPORT 2007
This year, instead of detailing the individual walks that Waihi Walkways is either maintaining or developing, I plan to focus more on the "behind the scenes" work. Details of walks and activities are in the recently distributed newsletter.
Over the past year, I have involved myself in meetings, consultations and on the ground discussions that have taken place and have been able to observe first hand the work undertaken by our two contractors, Eric Lens and Ruth Ordish. I often get asked "When will this or that walkway be ready for public use?" I now have a much better understanding of the work required to create a walkway and am in a better position to be able to explain just why things take as long as they do. Some of this work is as follows: Consultations with landowners and neighbours and others affected by the walkway proposal.
Consultations with Hauraki District Council, Dept of Conservation, N.Z. Historic Places Trust, Environment Waikato and local iwi.
Developing a proposal which requires research and historical knowledge.
Getting appropriate advice.
Making funding applications.
Working out distances involved and costings for labour and materials.
Preparing planting and maintenance plans and sourcing plants.
Working with and supervising sub-contractors when work finally begins.
All of this takes time and can’t be achieved as quickly as we may prefer to see. It also takes a lot of energy and effort and without Ruth and Eric, not a lot would be happening. I therefore wish to thank them for their willingness to continue to do what they do.
Another side of our organisation seldom seen by the public are the efforts and time donated by our volunteers. We not only ask that they attend meetings but that they (if willing and able) involve themselves in planning, building, planting, mulching, reporting, picking up rubbish and disposing of it, spraying, sowing, growing, and digging holes and not least spreading the word about walking opportunities locally. Others have grown and donated plants, labour and materials, sometimes on quite a grand scale. We are grateful for these wonderful donations, all are very much appreciated and make Waihi Walkways truly a community effort.
Many thanks also are due to those groups and organisations who have funded our work over the past year. They are: Valder Ohinemuri Charitable Trust, Waihi Ward – Hauraki District Council, Trust Waikato, Jim Say Foundation, DoC, Lottery Grants Board, BOC Gases – Where There’s Water, NZ Community Trust.
Finally I want to mention two dramatic physical changes that have occurred recently and invite you to go and have a look. The first is Pylon Paddock, an area of land behind the Scout Hall. This was recently covered with weeds and rubbish. It has been cleared, a track delineated and planting has begun. When this area is established it will provide an alternative access to the Millstream Walk and will be a place to enjoy for its variety of plants, a place to learn about conservation and care of the land, a place to picnic sheltered from our prevailing Westerlies and a place that will encourage our native birds and invertebrates to colonise.
The second big change is in an area adjoining Morgan Park close to Speaks Quarry. This will be part of our planned Millstream Extension walk. It has been cleared of huge stands of Elaeagnus, Japanese Walnut and other weed species. The stream has been cleared of a massive amount of debris – logs, rubbish and fallen trees. While it currently looks a bit denuded and muddy, plans are in hand for grass sowing and some planting. There is more work to be done but this area has the potential to be a lovely shady picnic area away from the bustle of the highway but still part of one of our town's major reserves. Thanks specifically to Hauraki District Council, Newmont and the Dept. of Justice for their donation of time, machinery and manpower to make this possible.
A final word. Without the Committee we wouldn’t function as a cohesive group. So, thanks to those of you who have been willing to give your time to attend our monthly meetings and to be involved in the decision making that is required. I look forward to another productive year.
Beryl George 12/7/07
Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand
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