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Kirks Bush track upgrades to prevent kauri dieback spread

Published: 5 September 2019

Tracks in Papakura’s Kirks Bush are being upgraded as part of a more than $100,000 investment to protect healthy kauri and prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.

Papakura Local Board has approved a mitigation plan for the popular park, where one tree has been confirmed as being infected with kauri dieback.

The plan for Kirks Bush will see tracks in the park remain closed until around March/April next year and will involve:

  • Rationalising the number of entrances to the park
  • Upgrading tracks to kauri standard – to divert people from kauri roots and reducing risk of soil being moved inside the park and potentially transported to other parks
  • Relocating public assets
  • Installing hygiene stations so people can clean footwear before entering and leaving the site.

The local board had also asked that staff to look at several other local parks with kauri, and as a result mulch will be laid near kauri in Central, Massey and Jack Farrell parks to protect kauri roots.  

The board will advocate to the Environment and Community Committee and the mayor for money from the natural environment targeted rate to go towards the cost of building raised boardwalks in Kirks Bush.

“We believe boardwalks should be considered essential works because they offer a long-term solution by keeping people clear of kauri and the soil around them,” board chair Brent Catchpole says.

“Kirks is a much-loved and popular place for walkers, runners, dog walking and school children, so we want to ensure people can still enjoy the park while protecting kauri.”

Auckland Council biosecurity manager kauri dieback, Lisa Tolich says the project team have been engaging with local stakeholders, in particular mana whenua and the Friends of Kirks Bush about the mitigation plans.

“Their intimate knowledge of the site has been really invaluable in developing these plans and we will continue to keep them and others informed and work with them as work progresses.”

She adds that the work is being prioritised to get the work so the park can reopen as soon as possible.

“Our goal is to open the park in March/April next year weather dependent, and appreciate people’s patience as this important work is carried out.”

Read the agenda report (item 15), including the proposed mitigation plan. 

Mitigation works need to be carried out in accordance with the Kauri Dieback Disease Management national technical specifications for track mitigation and by contractors who have undergone the necessary training for kauri forest hygiene. 

Auckland Council is assisting with this training for contractors and to interested community groups to enable to them to carry out voluntary work for pest and weed management in parks in a kauri safe manner.

Proactive prevention

In May this year, Auckland Council advised that it would be temporarily closing some tracks in local parks across several local board areas in Auckland – this included Kirks Bush.

The closures are a proactive and precautionary approach to allow the council to step up its effort to mitigate the spread of the disease throughout the region’s kauri

The work has been enabled by the introduction natural environment targeted rate, $105 million of additional funding is now available to support the management of kauri dieback across the Auckland region. This funding will support the protection of high-value kauri ecosystems and minimise the risk of spreading kauri dieback.

In addition to infrastructure projects, the programme has workstreams dedicated to surveillance and monitoring, engagement and behaviour change, compliance, research and treatment.

Go to our website to find out more about what's being done to tackle kauri dieback and track information track information at aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/protectkauri

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