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Waiuku Trail officially opened

Community pitches in to help

Published: 10 June 2019

Families turned out in force for a bit of last-minute planting along the Waiuku Trail before a ribbon was cut to mark the official opening of the walkway.

Work only began on the trails after a ceremonial sod-turning event in March but progressed at eye-watering speed due to the number of hours community volunteers gave to the project.

Franklin Local Board members and Waiuku Trails Implementation Committee chair Barry Gibbon were on hand to help cut the ribbon with Auckland Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore.

Mr Gibbon won a New Zealand Walking Access Commission - Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa Outdoor Access Champion Award this year, nominated by the local board and recognising his contribution to public access to the outdoors.

Local board chair Angela Fulljames says Mr Gibbon's work, and the contribution of the many volunteers, cannot be overstated.

"He has such incredible drive and passion. His leadership has been a major factor in getting us to where we are now."

The board committed $300,000 to the project, which saw work start at the Tamakae Reserve. More development is planned over the next two years, with the trails eventually linking the redevelopment at Sandspit and extending to circle the golf course.

Mr Cashmore says while Auckland Council staff made major contributions to the project and the board’s funding made it possible, the Waiuku community could be proud of what it had achieved.

"This whole project was the first foray into community-led development and the contribution made by hundreds of volunteers doing countless hours of work is just remarkable."

Waiuku board representative Sharlene Druyven says the town and its businesses have embraced the project. "When we turned the first sod, Blue Scope Steel’s Glenbrook mill boss Gretta Stephens stunned us all by announcing it would provide the base course for the track.

"Things like that, and just the number who have turned out to do some final planting before the opening, have been magic."

Auckland Council project delivery head John Schermbrucker says Waiuku has been fabulous to deal with.

"As a community-led project, this is a first and Waiuku has set the bar pretty high."

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