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Auckland City wins environmental award


11 July 2006

Auckland City wins environmental award

Auckland City has been awarded the prestigious Arthur Mead Environmental Award for its second consecutive year.

The 2006 award recognises the restoration of New Zealand’s biggest urban wetland project and was completed in early 2004 to reduce flooding incidents and improve stormwater quality in the Waiatarua Reserve in Ellerslie.

Last year Auckland City received the premier award for the transformation of Seaside Park from an overgrown and contaminated landfill site into a peaceful wildlife haven and top-class recreational facility.

Auckland City’s manager of stormwater projects, Grant Ockleston, said the main function of the wetlands is the huge stormwater treatment system that removes pollutants from the waterways and includes a network of drains.

“The Waiatarua Reserve receives stormwater from a 674 hectare catchment in the Greenlane/Ellerslie areas, including flows fed by a tunnel under Ladies Mile and water pumped from the former Mt Wellington quarry,” Mr Ockleston said.

“The wetlands project has significantly improved stormwater quality in the reserve and the planting of 60,000 new plants mean the ecological gains will continue to accrue,” he said.

“The stormwater treatment system achieves a suitable balance between wider ecological enhancements and public amenity within the reserve.”

The reserve opened in September 2004 and is now a beautiful wildlife habitat and recreational spot. The landscape includes extensive native planting and is a breeding ground for fish and eels as well as 36 species of birds, including the rare kotuku (white heron) and native diving duck (scaup), which were discovered roosting there last year.

“The reserve is a great place for joggers, walkers, families and dogs for a wander over wide open spaces to enjoy the beauty of the wetland environment or explore the bush,” said Mr Ockleston.

The project reflects Auckland City’s commitment to sustainable ways of keeping the environment clean and green.

The Arthur Mead Environmental Award is granted each year by the Institute of Professional Engineers (IPENZ) for a project that “shows care and consideration for the environment”. It is made in recognition of the environmental achievements of Arthur Mead, Auckland City’s chief water supply engineer from 1929 to 1953.

Auckland City worked with Beca Carter Hollings and Ferner Ltd and resource consent specialists Andrew Stewart Ltd to complete the $6.5 million project – the largest of its kind in New Zealand.

Earlier this year the Waiatarua project was visited by famous botanist and environment campaigner Professor David Bellamy who praised it as an example of “stitching the world back into better order” to solve environmental problems.


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