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Airborne answer to upheaval at Ayr Reserve

9 August 2005

Airborne answer to upheaval at Ayr Reserve

Auckland City plans to use a helicopter to help repair a seriously damaged walkway in Ayr Reserve.

About a month ago, high winds during a storm are thought to have felled a 25-metre pine tree in the Parnell park, which uplifted a large section of the reserve walkway.

Auckland City staff have now decided to use a helicopter with a monsoon bucket to airlift in the 20 cubic metres of coarse gravel needed to re-build the pathway.

Auckland City project manager, Blake Hunton, says the council does not use helicopters very often, but in this case it’s the best approach to take.

“The reserve walkway is not safe as it is at the moment and it’s imperative that we get this fixed so that people can use that part of the park again.

“The easiest and fastest way to fix this pathway is to airlift in the material we need. It will only take a few hours and it should mean we have the walkway restored in one day.”

Mr Hunton says the council was unable to use heavy machinery to transport the gravel because vehicle access to the long and narrow Ayr Reserve is difficult.

He says the damaged pathway has been closed since the 40-year-old tree fell because it is no longer safe for walkers to use.

Mr Hunton says the helicopter operation will take place on Monday 15 August from 9.30am.

The helicopter will load its monsoon bucket with base coarse gravel at Thomas Bloodworth Reserve on Shore Road.

It will then fly up the valley of Ayr Reserve and dump the gravel at the site of the damaged pathway.

A specialist helicopter firm, Skywork Helicopters Ltd, has been engaged to carry out the operation.

Skywork Helicopters has expertise using heavy lifting equipment and has prepared a detailed safety plan for the operation.

Mr Hunton says a fine and clear day will be needed before the helicopter is cleared for lift-off, but once it is the helicopter should only be airborne for around four hours.

”There will be some noise for those who live near Ayr Reserve while the helicopter is in operation. We’re simply asking people to bear with us while we do what we have to do to make this pathway safe again.”

The gravel material is needed to create a stable base for a new concrete pathway to be built. The new concrete walkway will be laid with McCallums cement on the same day.

A letter will be sent to those who live near Ayr Reserve to inform them of the impending operation.

If the weather is rainy or windy on 15 August, the operation will then take place on the next fine day.

ENDS

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