13.04.1999: Walkways ask for Help


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WAIHI LEADER, Tuesday, April 13, 1999

Waihi Walkways ask council for help

A group promoting the establishment of a walkways network asked Waihi Ward Committee for support in getting technical assistance from council.

In a presentation to the committee's recent meeting, Waihi Walkways representatives outlined their background, progress to date and long term aims. Copies of a booklet produced by Eric Lens and Mike Oldfield for the group, illustrated with photographs and complete with spreadsheets and a detailed map, were circulated.

The group - who are under the umbrella of Go Waihi - aim to identify urban and rural walkways, prioritise them and do feasibility studies, to link specific walkways and promote loop tracks to maximise use, to allocate distance, ease and time to walk each track and compile a database of information and to identify and research points of historical or geographical interest. The cost production of each walkway is to be established along with available and skill-based support. Clearing, construction and signage of each walkway will be actioned in a controlled and focused manner as funds allow.

Members of the group come from a diverse range of other groups, including Forest & Bird, Waihi Area Promotions Inc, Scouts, Waihi Walking Group, HELP and Waihi Information Centre, while Tessa MacKenzie from Hauraki Enterprise Agency is the project facilitator. Relationships have been formed with the Maratoto Walkways Group, Coeur community consultative group and the Department of Conservation, with the aim to cooperate on long term plans for a walkways network.

Currently, the group is involved in the construction of a walkway between Gilmour Reserve and the bottom of Clarke Street, near the start of the the Black Hill track. Waihi Gold is assisting with the building of two small footbridges, while community wage volunteers do the spadework.

Council is asked to facilitate the ongoing work being clone by providing a liaison person who can help with such issues as road and river reserve status, land ownership and council policies and plans. Any funding or future financial help from Hauraki District Council would be welcomed by the group.

Committee chairman Sel Baker remarked on the "impressive" document, while member Mike Hayden said a lot of work had be done by a small group of people and it had "tremendous potential" for Waihi and neighbouring districts.

The meeting resolved to recommend to full council that Waihi Walkways be given support in their request for technical help.

Karangahake walkway upgrade

DOC is spending $200,000 on upgrading the Karangahake Gorge walkway, Waihi Ward Committee has been told.

Conservation officer Peter Carter told the meeting that 60,000 people use the loop track each year, while the longer track from Owharoa Falls to Waikino has attracted a rapidly growing number of users in the past three years. From 2500, the number has increased tenfold to 25,000. This is thought to be in response to development of the Victoria Battery and promotion of the area's tourist attractions including Goldfields Railway.

Karangahake Walkway is one of the busiest walkways in the South Auckland DOC region, surpassed in visitor numbers only by Cathedral Cove, Mr Carter said.

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Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand

Send e- mail to: Waihi Walkways