Issue 11 April 2008
Greetings to everyone.
We hope you have had an excellent start to the New Year. This special edition records some of the highlights as we created the ….
Mill Stream Walkway Extension
The last few months of 2007 were an exciting time for Waihi Walkways, as we translated all the preparation into action for the Mill Stream Walkway extension.
The original Mill Stream Walkway traverses alongside the Mill Stream from Clarke Street to Baker Street. In 2006 we commenced preliminary investigations to extend the route from the Baker Street end, through the wilderness behind the tennis courts, and beyond to join up with Morgan Reserve, close to the Forest & Bird 2000 plantings.
The final stage, yet to be completed, will create access into the Speak's Quarry at the edge of Morgan Park.
This extension allows access to another piece of Waihi's "forgotton" public land, and we believe you will be delighted to experience this extended route. The track is designed to allow wheelchair access from Morgan Park, and we recommend assistance over the grassed stretches.
With all the funding in place, contractors organised, and volunteers on hand the project began in earnest in June 2007.
Courtesy of the Hauraki District Council, a 14 ton digger was on site for two days, clearing huge stands of elaeagnus, wattle, privet, grapevine, kiwifruit, woolly nightshade, blackberry, and all the usual invasive weed species we find in neglected public land spaces.
The area was so densely clad with the elaeagnus that initially it was difficult to determine what might be uncovered. At the edge of Morgan Park, the maze of weeds hid a myriad of stumps, blocks of concrete and other unidentifiable castaways!
All manner of rubbish was lifted from the congested streambed.
Volunteers were on hand immediately after the first clearance, and planted the first sedges and trees to begin the rehabilitation process.
They extracted previously hidden inorganic debris from all over the site.
As the weather improved, we proceeded further with streambed clearance, funded by BOC Gases, Where There's Water Community Environmental Grant.
Fisher Contracting, with a 12 ton digger, a chainsaw contractor supplied by Newmont Waihi Gold, HELP (Habitat Enhancement and Landcare Partnership), and volunteers all contributed to the clearance of substantial debris from the stream.
With the track route decided, and all interested parties consulted, we were able to begin the track-making in earnest.
With funding from Lion Foundation, the H.E.L.P. team hand cleared various wattles and privets, vines and pampas, and old fencing. They also removed one dead standing pine tree to make a clear route available for the track.
Then the small digger came in to clear out stumps and smooth off the lumps and bumps.
Finally we were able to lay the metalled track in November. Lion Foundation funded the materials, track metal, culverts, and compactor hire. NZ Lottery - Environment and Heritage funding enabled us to contract the labour.
This part of the track was designed to be wheelchair accessible. Meeting the standards meant creating a track 1.2m wide and with very gentle gradients.
A local metal mix from Corbett Road Quarry proved to be the best material for the walking track. Ash, from the HELP team, hand loaded over 30 tonnes of this walkway metal and transported it to the site with our power carrier. A mammoth effort.
With care and attention to detail, the mix was laid on the prepared track, and then compacted using equipment from Waihi Hire.
We were lucky with fine weather which enabled the track making to proceed without hindrance. It took several days for the team to make the track … each day the progress was remarkable.
All the planning, arranging of contractors and volunteers, consultations and discussions facilitated a very satisfying outcome.
Late in the year we gathered together to celebrate the completion of this effort.
Many local community people are now using the track. The plantings are getting well underway, and the stream is settling in with unimpeded flow. The area has been transformed with considerable reduction of weeds and rubbish, and mown areas have re-created the atmosphere of an old, expansive wild garden, what we like to call an "urban wilderness".
Volunteer support over the past year has been substantial and ongoing. With regularity a dedicated group of volunteers planted over 1000 plants, picked up untold rubbish, dragged debris from the stream, weeded, sprayed invasive weeds, and removed firewood.
Forest and Bird Chairperson, Ian Bradshaw, donated over 50 good quality canopy tree seedlings, Environment Waikato made available over 500 Carex secta wetland grasses, Hauraki District Council also donated many plants and plenty of mulch to be distributed around the plants. Department of Corrections Team distributed mulch, and Newmont Waihi Gold provided labour on occasion.
In this short time (4 months) the area has recovered well. Many native (colonising) plants are now showing through, aided by consistent attention by the volunteers who are reducing the weeds. We are retaining some of the exotic species, in a managed programme of control.
A special feature of this walk is the bamboo grove next to the open area with deciduous acacia trees. It provides a contrasting experience to the open area on one side and the regenerating native bush area on the other.
The creation of Mill Stream Walkway extension is a wonderful example of community effort, enthusiasm and vision turned into reality.
Thank you to everyone who contributed.
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
Once again, thanks to our volunteers, walkway neighbours, contractors and Walkways members who make donations, offer encouragement, and express enthusiasm for the walkways and the environmental and heritage initiatives.
And to our Funders:
* Valder Ohinemuri Charitable Trust
* Hauraki District Council
* Trust Waikato
* Jim Say Foundation
* Lion Foundation
* N.Z. Lottery – Environment & Heritage
* BOC Gases, Where There's Water Community Initiative Fund
* Creation Spirituality Group
Chairperson: Beryl George, Ph: 863 3107
Coordinator: Ruth Ordish, Ph: 863 8600
Address for correspondence: Waihi Walkways PO Box 241 Waihi
Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand
Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways