Northcote’s future greenway, Te Ara Awataha, continues to take shape with construction underway on the second portion known as the ‘schools’ edge’.
Once complete, the works will provide an open-air learning space as well as forming a key part of the 1.5km network of existing and new reserves running through the Northcote neighbourhood, connecting the town centre, schools and new homes as well as daylighting the historic Awataha Stream.
Bold blue and green hoardings have been in place around the first portion of the new greenway at Greenslade Reserve depicting the tuna (eels), tūī and kererū that are expected to enjoy the green ‘ara’ or route of the greenway once the Awataha Stream is brought out of the ground, and has it’s mauri (life essence) uplifted as part of the project.
A key part of the work at the reserve includes considerable improvements to the stormwater network by Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters. This will reduce the risk of flooding, improve infrastructure to unlock development and enhance the public facilities.
Te Ara Awataha will also provide an essential link for residents of Kāinga Ora’s new market and affordable housing developments, making it easy for them to walk or cycle around the neighbourhood.
James D’Anvers, Kāinga Ora Development Manager, says it’s exciting to see construction underway on this cornerstone project.
“Te Ara Awataha represents a significant ecological success story, where we finally see the daylighting of a piped culvert and returning it to the stream it once was. Coupled with the water quality measures incorporated in the Greenslade Reserve upgrade, this is set to become a healthy waterway in the heart of Northcote.
“To help create a true asset to the wider community, there is play equipment, a walking and cycle track, and connections to current and new parks and reserves incorporated into the design. We are delighted to be delivering this as part of Northcote’s regeneration.”
The schools’ edge will incorporate a parcel of previously underused urban land acquired from the Ministry of Education earlier this year by Panuku and Healthy Waters. The 9980sqm sloping, unusable site (about the size of a rugby field) formed part of Northcote Intermediate School and Onepoto Primary School.
Kate Cumberpatch, Priority Location Director – North at Panuku, says it’s a great outcome for the community.
“This unloved, underused site will become a focal point of the new greenway at the schools’ edge. It will be revived as an outdoor classroom for the adjoining schools with a learning deck and terraced seating that will provide an open-air learning space for students.”
Sara Zwart, greenway project lead at Panuku, says the schools’ voice for Northcote has been captured through co-design workshops held with Onepoto Primary, Northcote Intermediate and Northcote College.
“Panuku and Kāinga Ora worked with the schools to capture students’ ideas and vision for how the greenway should look, feel and function. This has informed the design as we create and test it with students and the community.”
Kaipātiki Local Board Chairperson John Gillon says there’s a lot of work going on in Northcote to ensure its future growth.
“Despite the challenging times brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Northcote has multiple projects in the delivery stage. New homes (with more on the way), a greenway and the future revitalised town centre will ensure Northcote is a place that the community will enjoy living, working and spending time in for years to come.”
Te Ara Awataha is being jointly delivered by Panuku Development Auckland, Healthy Waters and Kāinga Ora, working alongside the Kaipātiki Local Board and mana whenua.
Town centre plans
In addition to Te Ara Awataha and more homes, a refreshed town centre will be built for Northcote. While the town centre renewal is a few years away (the earliest construction will begin is 2022), this will result in more shops, eateries and public space.