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Opening of environmental showpiece

MEDIA RELEASE
19 September 2005


Aucklanders invited to opening of environmental showpiece

Aucklanders are invited to the opening ceremony for Seaside Park, Brady Road, Otahuhu, on Wednesday 28 September at 2.30pm.

Auckland City’s Mayor, Dick Hubbard, will officially open the park.

Seaside Park, the former Brady Road landfill, is an environmental showpiece for creative and innovative closed landfill rehabilitation.

“It’s extraordinary what we’ve managed to do here. We’ve created a little Garden of Eden from what was once an environmental problem. I urge all Aucklanders to come and see what is a credit to all involved,” the Mayor says.

In June, the project won the prestigious Arthur Mead premier environmental award from the Auckland branch of the Institute of Professional Engineers (IPENZ). The award is given to engineering projects that promote sustainable management of resources and care for the environment.

“The award is a tribute to the hard work that many groups have put into this project. Council officers, consultants, community groups and local residents have put tremendous effort into planning this project and creating what is now a fantastic community facility and example of environmental excellence in environmental rehabilitation,” the Mayor says.

“This is a facility for all Aucklanders to use and enjoy and the invitation is open to everyone to come and celebrate the opening,” he says.

The four-year $2.5 million project includes a new wetland area, extensive walkways and a 5.5 hectare wildlife refuge. The existing sports fields have been kept.

“Seaside Park is now an area that the whole community can take great pride in and the locals deserve praise for that,” says Councillor Neil Abel, chairperson of the Works and Services Committee.

“Feedback from locals, environmental and community groups and local iwi was vital to developing a design that fulfilled both environmental and community outcomes.”

Special attention was given to protecting and enhancing the habitats of native species. The creation of a skink habitat within the wildlife refuge has experts particularly excited.

“This is the first time that we know of that a public park has actively catered for native lizards,” says Doctor Graham Ussher, natural heritage scientist at the Auckland Regional Council.

“We hope that this model of site restoration will be followed in other projects so that vulnerable lizards and other native wildlife in urban areas can be conserved and promoted to the public,” Dr Ussher says.

The skink refuge protects native copper skinks by creating a safe habitat and a fence surrounding the wildlife refuge deters cats and rats – the worst predators of native lizards. The copper skink is one of only five native lizards left in the Auckland urban area.

A wide variety of bird species have been making the park their home since the project finished in April 2005.

The project has also involved:

- protecting over one kilometre of coastline by building new seawalls and creating a new rock reef that also provides a habitat for mangroves, seabirds and aquatic animals

- extensive landscaping and planting 26,000 native plants

- creating a wetland area that is a visual highlight of the park and which provides overland flow paths to alleviate flooding. It also provides an area where leachate is treated before reaching the sea

- creating two central viewing mounds that provide extensive views of the wildlife area and the upper Tamaki Estuary

- safely using waste and other material found or excavated onsite. For example, rocks found on the site were used to create the skink habitat

- staging the work so residents and wildlife still had access to parts of the park throughout the rehabilitation process.

Brady Road landfill was closed in 1982 but in the years following there was a lot of illegal dumping. When planning for the project began in the 1990s, the adjacent coast was being polluted and objects were exposed by tidal action. It was a centre for antisocial activities that led to broken glass, fires and continued illegal dumping.

ENDS

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