Issue 9 July 2006
Greetings to everyone.
With the new year of 2006 well underway, we feel inspired with the progress in the creation of more walkways for our community and our visitors to enjoy.
We welcomed Beryl George as our new Chairperson at last year’s Annual General Meeting. Her experience and expertise is a significant contribution to Waihi Walkways; as is the ongoing support from our Treasurer, John Vinson, and Secretary, Annette Bowater – all greatly appreciated.
MILL STREAM WALKWAY
Our late Chairman, Charlie Cooper, loved a particular area, known as the cabbage tree flat, and his family has donated an octagonal table/seat. It has a bronze inscription, "May all who pass by know him. Rest a while in this place he loved", and now provides a wonderful resting place to pause and enjoy the ambience and healing nature of the cabbage tree flat surroundings.
More of the community are coming to know of this delightful short walk. Our people-counter tells a story of 800-900 in the summer months, and 600-700 in the cooler months.
The "enviro schools" project on a selected portion of Mill Stream Walkway has had a slow start due to difficulties encountered bringing students out of class time. Some preparation of the site has taken place. Early in 2006, the teacher responsible for this project advised she was unable to continue with it this year.
Waihi Walkways will, however, continue with the plan, and anticipates bringing students on site to do mass planting over the winter seasons. This initiative will be organised between Waihi Walkways and HELP (Habitat Enhancement & Landcare Partnership). It is anticipated that it will take several seasons to fully realise the plan for this area.
MILL STREAM EXTENSION
A proposed extension from Mill Stream Walkway upstream to Speak’s Quarry is under investigation. This short extension would bring more of Waihi’s heritage features into view. This route will provide a link to the existing children's playground, and the Forest and Bird native plantings on the edge of Morgan Reserve.
The potential of this extension is significant and complements the work already done by Hauraki District Council in the Speak’s Quarry area.
Beulah Flay, one of our Waihi Walkways volunteers, recently completed the Grow Safe Agrichemical Approved Handler course which enables her to use sprays to assist weed control on our walkways. This course exists due to the strict regulations enforced via the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996, which requires that the use of all agri-chemicals be by a certified handler.
Waihi Walkways' spray policy is identified in our Health and Safety Policy. Chemical weed control is to be by a certified handler, and appropriate signage displayed to alert the general public at the time of spraying.
Beulah’s passion is Mill Stream Walkway and she has spent many hours there "rescuing" plants from the weeds. When weed pulling isn’t winning the battle, then Beulah now has a way of reducing those invasive weeds.
OHINEMURI RIVER HISTORIC WALKWAY
The final draft of a Feasibility and Scoping Document is nearing completion with regard to this proposed major project. The scoping has been extended to include the possibility and potential of the walkway also serving as a cycleway. Waihi Walkways has been in communication with DoC, HDC, the landowners and Hauraki Rail Trail, plus many others, over this proposed development. Community support for this walkway is strong and growing. Significant research has been conducted with regard to the extensive mining heritage features potentially accessible over the length of this substantial walk.
This image is from the Ohinemuri River Historic Walkway - Heritage Report Section.
Research and photographs of the tramway, which freighted many thousands of tons of ore to the Victoria Battery site for processing; and the water race which supplied power to that site from a masonry dam, purpose built, have been compiled.
An initiative by HELP Inc and Waihi East School students is underway on Union Hill to reduce the rodent population. Twenty rodent bait stations have been strategically placed (with landowner's permission). Waihi Walkways has supported this project throughout the holiday months. An attendant possum control programme is proposed to commence this year.
From Forest & Bird magazine, No. 319, February 2006 – article In the Field, (with permission.)
'Gordon and Celia Stephenson were showing us the forest that they were protecting. They had just completed the first year of rat control and Gordon was very excited. "Just look at those seedlings!" The forest floor was a carpet of native seedlings, growing from seeds that until now had been rat tucker. I was amazed.
'This was my first awakening to the damage that rats can do. Then I read the research of Landcare scientist, John Innes, who showed that 80% of bird predation can be put down to ship rats. …
'Just as possums are the key species in the death of canopy trees, rats are a key species in the chain of predation. Rats are the main food for stoats and ferrets and attract and maintain populations of these predators.
'So, for the birds, rats deal out a triple whammy: they compete with birds for food; - they eat bird eggs, chicks and nesting adults; and they attract bigger predators that also eat birds.'
Waihi Walkways is preparing to extend the Union Hill initiative by installing additional bait stations around the Mill Stream area. Some initial funding has been provided by PowerCo.
STORM DAMAGE IN JULY 2005
We experienced a significant storm event in July in Waihi.
On Mill Stream, the water backed up (from the Ohinemuri) and there was evidence of the cabbage tree flat being under water.
The Mill Stream had significant scouring on its banksides. The water always recedes very quickly and by dawn, although still a substantially high flow, it was easy to inspect the areas.
This autumn of 2006, we have had two more substantial floods, each with significant flooding, but we are pleased to report that the whole of Mill Stream, and its structures, have coped well. The bridges are secure with no sign of damage (apart from the scouring of small stones out of the bottom approach steps of the upstream bridge.)
RIVERBANK TERRACE WALK
The riverbank fencing was completed in October (in the rain!).
Some clearance of weed species, black walnut, privet, etc has taken place on the riverbank down towards Rosemont Road Corner, and it is possible to walk the length of Riverbank Terrace walkway now. It is anticipated that some more specimen plants will be installed this winter, plus some revegetation of native species – small flaxes and other suitable species on the steep slope close to the S-bend at Rosemont Road.
Thanks to Bob Osborne for establishing a further area of native revegetation on the banks of the Ohinemuri. These new plants have survived the flooding well and the longer established plantings, also established by Bob, are in good shape.
The neighbours at the Wellington Street end of Coffey’s Walk have spent time clearing and maintaining the river bank.
WAIHI WALKWAYS WEBSITE
This project was envisaged from the very inception of Waihi Walkways, and it is very gratifying to see it underway. This is already proving to be an excellent management tool as well as a means for development of the walkways.
The website will continue to be expanded as developments occur.
Waihi Walkways has been represented on the WCV since its inception. The Ohinemuri River Historic Walk to Waikino was submitted as a project, and subsequently ranked third (out of 42 projects) by an independent advisor, who rated the projects according to Waihi’s identified social values, and feasibility and viability.
The WCV process has now formed the Vision Waihi Trust, and appointed a Project Manager, Eddie Morrow, to further the prioritised projects.
Preliminary discussions have also taken place with regard to the concept of the Natural and Cultural Heritage site of Union Hill on the edge of Mill Stream Walkway. We look forward to working closely with the Trust in this regard.
WAIHI WALKWAYS COMMITTEE ON SITE
The committee visited the Waihi Dredging Site at the confluence of the Ohinemuri River and Waitete Stream recently to view the area.
This site, including the historic tramline formation, is currently being proposed as an Historic Area (Historic Places Act 1993) by New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
This area is also the beginning of the proposed Ohinemuri River Historic Walkway to Waikino.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The AGM of Waihi District Walkways Inc will be held in July 2007. Details will be advertised in the Public Notices of "The Leader" approximately two weeks before the event.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting, and some light refreshments will be provided.
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
Once again, thanks to our volunteers, walkway neighbours, contractors and members who offer encouragement and express enthusiasm for the walkways.
Thanks also to
* Valder Ohinemuri Charitable Trust
* Waihi Ward , Hauraki District Council
* Trust Waikato
* Jim Say Foundation
* DoC (Conservation Grant)
* Lottery Grants Board – Environment and Heritage
All have supported Waihi Walkways over the past year.
Chairperson: Beryl George Ph: 863 8863
Secretary: Annette Bowater Ph: 863 8863
Treasurer: John Vinson Ph: 863 9021
Co-ordinator: 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