MBSJRA Transport Subcommittee Co-leader Carmel Claridge attended a guided walk in the Pourewa Valley. She learned of the fantastic work being done by local groups in restoring the native bush and the vision for walk/cycleways in the valley to connect Meadowbank/St Johns to the city and Kepa Rd. Below is her report.
On Saturday 11th April, Roy Clements hosted a walk through the Selwyn Park/Bush area (also known as the Pourewa Valley) for the Orakei Local Board, Meadowbank & St Johns Residents Association (MBSJRA) and other interested parties.
Roy, and a number of individuals and volunteer groups (such as the Pourewa Restoration Group) have been working for over 14 years to maintain and develop this stunning piece of land – clearing rubbish and noxious weeds, restoring the native bush, planting, and creating pathways and natural corridors.
In attendance from the Orakei Local Board were Kit Parkinson and Mark Thomas. The Local Board are interested in connecting its existing walkway up the valley from the Orakei Basin and continuing the existing Council pathway that presently concludes at the Kepa Bush boundary.
The site is also of vital importance to provide access to Selwyn College & St Thomas’s Primary School from the Meadowbank / St Johns Area. If access points across the train lines are built to connect with the upcoming Eastern Path (Tamaki Drive to Glen Innes Shared Path) project, it would then be a reasonably straightforward exercise to improve on existing dirt tracks to enable pedestrian access through the Pourewa Valley up to those schools and Kohimarama Rd. The Local Board have funding to contribute to access points and it is important for the local community to continue to be involved in the decision as to where those access points are to be established.
A property of particular interest to Orakei Local Board (and the MBSJRA Transport Subcommittee) is on Gowing Drive. The property consists of 2 titles with one existing dwelling and runs down to the train tracks. It would be an ideal location for an access point.
Roy is keen to see the Pourewa Valley protected and a plan put into place to continue the invaluable work that has gone into this project. The problem of course is funding – or lack of it, to be more precise. But in the meantime it is vital the local community are made aware of this amenity and the benefits it can potentially deliver in the future.
Representatives from the Board will look at providing some signage to help raise awareness of this lovely piece of urban jungle which hopefully will lead to greater usage and appreciation by the local community.