Over the past 10-20 years a huge amount of progress has been made in our District.
From major projects to help make the harbour cleaner to bringing in kerbside recycling, from walkways in our most scenic spots to huge events like the British & Irish Lions – our District has seen a lot of development and improvements. Here is a very short list of some of those things. We are asking you what you’d like to see on a list like this in another 10 years.
Cleaning up the harbour
In the past few years millions of dollars have gone into projects to stop untreated wastewater spilling and causing the harbour to be closed whenever it rained heavily. The work has included a major expansion and upgrade to the Kioreroa Road wastewater treatment plant and the Okara Pump Station. A new tank and treatment plant at Whareora Road has eliminated storm-fed sewage spills into the Hatea River, and we have just started a similar project at Tarewa Park, on the Raumanga Stream. We will soon be embarking on even more work to clean up the water at Whangarei Falls (Otuihau). The Whangarei Heads Sewerage scheme has been built, a two-stage strategic plan has been developed for improving waste water management in the city, the wastewater treatment plants have been built at Ngunguru and Oakura and the Ruakaka South Sewer Scheme has been extended.
In the past 15 years communities have helped to develop lots of plans that have centred around their needs and identities and helped to target funding and undertake work. Communities that have strengthened their identities over the past 15 years, gaining new facilities and a sense of unity include Parua Bay, Otangarei, Hikurangi, Waipu.
The new Central Library
Whangarei’s multi-award-winning $8 million Central Library has become so much a central focus for the 35,000-plus who visit every month to browse, borrow about a million items a year, surf, research, or just to enjoy a coffee, that it is easy to forget that it was built and opened in 2006.
In the past few years the Pohe Island Landfill has been transformed into a grassy park with sports fields, BMX tracks, the Hatea Loop, the dog park and lots of open green space.
Our community is sending less and less rubbish to the new landfill at Puwera, which shows work to reduce waste in the district is working. We have also brought in kerbside recycling, and are planning to expand the types of materials we are recycle.
Our biggest flood management system is at the Hikurangi Swamp. Once one of the most diverse environments in the southern hemisphere, it was drained about a hundred years ago and turned into pasture. In the past 10 years major work has been done to get it operating in a way that complies with a resource consent that requires protection of the environment.
Now a lot of the work there is focused on restoring habitats for vegetation, fish, eels and other creatures that once lived there in abundance.
New walkways have been developing all over the district in the past 15 years in places like Waipu, Whananaki, Tutukaka, the Hatea River walkway from the Town Basin to Otuihau (Whangarei Falls), around Lake Waro, Reotahi, the Waimahanga Track and Beach Road Onerahi, the Coronation Reserve, and between the Quarry Arts Centre and the Quarry Gardens. And many more.
Sense of place & Hatea Loop
From street flags to the Canopy Bridge, the Hatea Loop to the James Street Laneway and Canopy, all sorts of projects specifically designed to enhance the special and unique qualities of the public spaces around our district have been blossoming over the past 10 years.
Development of the Hatea Loop, a 4.2km walkway from the Town Basin to Te Matau a Pohe and back started in earnest prior to the Rugby World Cup games held at Okara Park in 2011. It included the:
- Heritage Trail along the riverside telling the history of the area
- Art Park featuring major works by local artists
- Canopy Bridge which has since become the venue for the Artisans Fair and annual White Plate Dinner
- Te Manawa, The Hub, where Whangarei’s Art Museum’s larger, modern premises at the Town Basin, alongside a new visitor information centre.
Hundreds of people turned out to celebrate when the Loop was completed in winter 2014 with its final link, the swing-bridge Kotuitui Whitinga, spanning the Waiarohia Stream and connecting the walkway between the Hihiaua Peninsula and the Port Road Riverside.
Te Matau a Pohe
This is probably Whangarei’s starship project of the past 20 years. Opened in 2013, it cost $34 million dollars, half of which was contributed by Central Government and half of which came from the Whangarei community. All of the funding contributed locally went back into local businesses contracted to work on the job. Today the bridge is internationally recognised for its design and carries more than 8000 vehicles a day.
Major Roading Projects
In addition to Te Matau a Pohe, major road projects in the past 10-15 years have included the
- Porowini Ave extension and round about
- Mill/Nixon St, Kensington/Kamo/Nixon Street realignment and widening
- Kamo Bypass Stage Two completed
- Major improvements to the Maunu Road (SH14)/Western Hills Drive (SH1) intersection
- Four laning along Western Hills Drive
- Mangakahia Road becoming a state highway.
Fun times – big events
Over the past few years, particularly since the Stadium upgrade in 2011, Whangarei has had a team working behind the scenes to actively attract large-scale national and international events, and to develop major local events. They have brought the following (and more) to our district:
- 2011 Rugby World Cup games
- FIFA Under 20 World Cup
- Nitro Circus
- The British & Irish Lions Series
Their event management prowess has also attracted international cricket one-dayers, international hockey tournaments, the International Rally of New Zealand (and developed this into a week long festival of motor sport).
At a local level, we have funded and organised the annual Christmas Festival, Matariki and Whanau Festival, the Endless Summer Festival and the Fritter Festival, which has been going from strength to strength each year.