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Otaki's Newest Walkway Opens This Weekend

Otaki's newest walkway is opening this weekend, Saturday 24 May, on the banks of the Otaki River. The creation of the Chrystalls walkway was made possible by the completion of the $2.1 million Chrystalls extended stopbank which now protects the Otaki Township from a rare but potentially devastating 1-in-100-year flood.

The Chrystalls Walkway is approximately 2kms long, which starts on the north side of the Otaki bridge and meanders alongside the river including over the new footbridge built spanning the Waimanu Stream, and finishes at the newly created Chrystalls recreation area which features the beautiful Chrystalls lagoon.

Friends of the Otaki River chairman, Max Lutz said "We are delighted to open this walkway for the Otaki community to use. We hope it will become the premier outdoor recreation choice for walkers, mountain bikers, and runners, so everyone can enjoy the beauty of the Otaki River that is right on their doorstep. We are pleased to have been be a part of the flood protection works and walkway project on the Otaki River."¬

The Friends of the Otaki River care group spent many hours working with Greater Wellington’s flood protection staff to create the walkway and enhance it with native plants grown in their nursery next to GW’s depot in Otaki.

Cr Ian Buchanan, Chair of the Catchment Management Committee, echoed Max’s comments “I hope all Otaki residents will enjoy this wonderful walkway in the most beautiful natural setting along the river. The Chrystalls stopbank project has doubly benefited the Otaki community, with the creation of this marvellous walkway and the extra protection and safety that the extended stopbank provides to the to⁷⃮ of Otaki.â¬―
Construction of the Chrystalls extended stopbank was brought forward from 2011, three years ahead of schedule, after consultation with the community encouraged Kapiti Coast District Council to contribute nearly $600,000 towards the project, to bring it up Greater Wellington’s priority list. After the floods of 1998 and 2000 the community wanted more protection from damaging floods for their homes and businesses.

There is carparking for the walkway on the western side of the SH1 bridge, and access is permitted from 5pm weekdays, Saturdays noon to dusk, and Sundays and public holidays from dawn till dusk. This is because the Winstones plant and Stresscrete’s yard are operation outside of these hours and pose a safety risk to the general public.

The Friends of the Otaki River are providing 1000 native trees and shrubs to be planted after the opening ceremony. This is their third season planting trees from their nursery next to the Otaki Flood Protection depot, and have planted 4,500 plants in the three years that the nursery has been operational. The Friends source seedlings locally and grow them in their nursery, tending to them every week to ensure they have enough water and sunlight to optimise their growth. From May onwards the Friends hold working bees to plant the native trees and shrubbery. And throughout the year the Friends work tirelessly releasing the plants from weeds and tending to them so they have the best chance of growing to maturity and enhancing the natural environment.

The walkway goes past many of the previous year's plantings and also includes a footbridge over the Waimanu Stream, which was constructed with funding from Transpower's CommunityCare Fund. This bridge provides access to the beautiful Chrystalls Lagoon, which is a prime spot for bird watching and picnicking.

Event details:

When: 2pm Saturday 24 May 2008
Where: Chrystalls recreation area. Turn off SH1 immediately north of the Otaki Bridge and follow the signs.
What to bring: Comfortable walking shoes, sun protection if fine, or wet weather gear if wet. A spade if possible.


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