Harry Byrne, aged 2, came prepared in his hard hat, gumboots and fleecie. Harry had a lot of buckets to fill before he moved on from his construction site in the sandpit where he got to try out the cement mixer, ride the roller – both pintsize - and get behind the digger – big size!
Harry was one of the hundreds of children who turned up to Digger Day on Saturday 28 September. The day was held to show the locals the plans to transform Greenslade Reserve into a great multi-purpose outdoor facility for the people of Northcote and the wider Kaipātiki area.
The kids were ready for action in high-vis safety jackets, windjackets and tutus to ride on the rainbow coloured, miniature construction vehicles. They even got to climb aboard a real big digger and excavator, or design and build their own construction. There was an open invitation to push every button, toot every horn, sit in a police car or ambulance and let the sirens wail. They also had the opportunity to run around on a scavenger hunt or just chill with a talking book.
“It was a great day with an excellent turnout and buy-in from the community,” said Carl Hewison, Principal – Construction Management for Auckland Council Healthy Waters, the department overseeing the upgrade to improve water quality and drainage, reduce flooding and create an urban wetland where there is currently a stormwater pipe.
“We start construction in January 2020 and when the project is completed in May 2021 the reserve will be a great community asset.
"It will have a new sports field for cricket and rugby league, attractive recreational facilities from terraced seating to BBQ areas, a walking loop and a native planted urban wetland,” he said.
Physical work was scheduled to start earlier but has been pushed back to the New Year to keep the field open for the rugby league season.
- Greenslade Reserve will be closed from January 2020 to May 2020 when physical works start to construct the pipeline, daylighting pipes and wetland
- Earthworks to lower the field and further enhancements are expected to start in October 2020 through to May 2021
- Access will be open to the reserve between construction stages from May 2020 to October 2020.
The Greenslade Reserve upgrade is part of the Awataha Greenway and the regeneration of Northcote Town Centre by council’s development agency, Panuku. Kāinga Ora (formerly known as HLC, the Housing New Zealand subsidiary) is building more homes in the area which will benefit from the Greenslade Reserve project.
All of the partners supported digger day with gazebos, displays, stalls and activities. The very popular kid-size construction toys were provided by the Kaipātiki Community Facilities Trust and the real construction equipment by project contractor, Piritahi.