An excited crowd of nearly 50 people gathered on Sunday 18 February to celebrate the opening of Stage 1 of the Glen Innes – Tamaki Drive Walkway/Cycleway, also known as the Eastern Path.
The event was jointly organised by Bike Eastern Suburbs and Friends of Pourewa Valley.
Te Ara Ki Uta Ki Tai (The Path from the Land to the Sea) is a joint NZTA and Auckland Transport project that will deliver a 7km long cycle and walkway connecting Auckland’s eastern suburbs to Tamaki Drive and the city centre.
After fuelling up with coffee and brunch at Columbus Cafe on Merton Rd, the colourful bunch of walkers, cyclists, scooter-riders and pram-pushers began the trek up the pathway to the summit at Sunhill Garden Centre. Paces varied, but the common denominator was the smile on the face of every participant despite the hot and humid conditions. The view and photo stops were also a surreptitious chance to take a breather!
Meadowbank & St Johns Residents Association Chairman Tim Duguid kicked off proceedings, thanking Councillor Desley Simpson for her support of the path, and recognised the input of the Orakei Local Board. In attendance representing the Board were David Wong, Toni Millar, and Carmel Claridge.
Carmel Claridge, Orakei Local Board member and Environment Lead, says:
“This is one of the most exciting projects in our area for a long time, and I was delighted to share this occasion with the community, my Orakei Local Board colleagues, and Chairman Colin Davis. I am thrilled that this pathway will open up the Pourewa Valley in an ecologically sympathetic way, allowing so many more of our residents and visitors to enjoy this unique, urban green space. How lucky are we as city dwellers, to have a piece of New Z ealand bush, only 6kms from the CBD right here on our doorsteps to appreciate and enjoy? This corridor of urban paradise is very special, and needs to be cared for and cherished – not only as a useful transport corridor, but as a valuable resource for future generations. It is vital that people provide feedback to Auckland Transport on the next stages of construction, to ensure that the funding bodies know how important local links for access to the Pathway are for our communities, and to ensure the development follows environmentally sound principles.”
Delighted little ones clustered around the Auckland Transport table, eager to collect goodies on offer: key rings, high vis snap bracelets, rain covers for bike seats, and more. A few adults were also seen lurking with intent, and pocketing a trinket or two. Thanks Auckland Transport!
Bike Eastern Suburbs representative Ross Roberts provided participants with a useful map for those keen to head off on a further cycle route showcasing the sites of proposed links to the path.
Pourewa Valley expert Roy Clements led a group down to Selwyn Park, where participants enjoyed the beautiful vistas of the valley. Stage 2 of the path will open up this area of bush land for all to enjoy.
Grateful thanks to all the community heroes who made the day possible: Ross Roberts, Kate Thompson, Dorthe Siggard, and Ingrid from Bike Eastern Suburbs, Friends of Pourewa Valley, and Columbus Cafe Glen Innes.
More about Stage 2 of the path
Stage 2 of the project is scheduled to begin this year with design concepts from Council
expected to be available for public consultation and feedback soon.
The second section of the pathway has the potential to deliver fantastic benefits for Meadowbank St Johns residents. It provides opportunities for students to access schools and playing fields on the
Kohimarama side of the Pourewa Valley by foot and by bike.
Residents will be able to use the pathway to connect to adjacent suburbs, and use it to get into the city, or to access better public transport systems including the train.
Many thanks to Rolf Siggard for these wonderful photos from the day.