The last long weekend of the year is fast approaching. And as the warmer days draw longer and Aucklanders dust off their summer gear to head outside, the city has plenty on offer. Hikers will get to enjoy more open kauri-safe tracks and be able to experience greater biodiversity which has been protected by the targeted rate.
“Auckland has a world-class natural environment, with beaches, harbours, forests and coastlines that are much loved by locals and visitors,” says Mayor Phil Goff.
“In a year where COVID-19 has caused economic disruption and uncertainty, we remain committed to cleaning up and protecting our ecosystems so they can be enjoyed by future generations.
“We are investing $763 million over 10 years to restore our natural environment and clean up our waterways. This record investment is delivering results.
“We’ve reopened 60 kilometres of tracks in our regional and local parks after making them safe from kauri dieback disease, with 33 track upgrades completed and more openings expected in the Waitākere Ranges before Christmas.
“We’ve undertaken animal pest control on more than 88,000 hectares of our mainland ecosystems to protect our precious native species, and our biosecurity team is working hard to target pests and keep our island sanctuaries safe.
“We’re improving water quality across the region too. Over the past year we’ve built 1.8 kilometres of pipes to reduce overflows into the inner city harbour. Meanwhile 15 kilometres of storm and wastewater networks have been inspected across Auckland and 108 stormwater outlets have been screened by our Safe Networks teams to help make beaches more swimmable.
“This critical investment is made possible by the water quality and natural environment targeted rates, and I want to thank Aucklanders for supporting our region’s future.”
Environment and Climate Change Committee chair Richard Hills adds programmes underway are good news for the environment, and for people:
“Upgrading kauri tracks greatly benefits recreational users of our parks, as does separating wastewater and stormwater which will make popular urban beaches more swimmable within 10 years,” he says.
“People not only benefit from a clean environment but they are at the heart of creating one.
"Recognising this, over the past year we’ve empowered and connected our secret weapons – community conservationists. We've injected $1.6 million into community-led projects and funded 219 conservation initiatives across the region. Community groups have also been awarded nearly $500,000 for stream and wetland restoration.
In August the council also launched Tiaki Tāmaki Makaurau / Conservation Auckland, an online hub to connect conservation groups, landowners, mana whenua and government groups. It's another way to connect people with the conservation so we can all do our bit to protect Auckland’s priority ecosystems and waterways - and enjoy the great outdoors along the way.
Click on the images below to see highlights from our work and click here to read more in the 2020 report [PDF] about the projects we’re investing in to protect Auckland's environment and clean up our waterways.