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Palmerston North Green Corridors project wins LGNZ Award

25 July 2017

Palmerston North Green Corridors project wins LGNZ EXCELLENCE Award

The environmental gains that can be made over the long term and through the dedication of many have reaped rewards for Palmerston North City Council.

The council’s Green Corridors Palmerston North project has won the Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Impact in this year’s LGNZ EXCELLENCE awards, announced at a gala dinner in Auckland attended by more than 600 delegates from local and central government, and stakeholders last night.

Now in their fourth year, the EXCELLENCE Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.

The 16-year project partnered the council with the community to establish green corridors of native plants from the Tararua Ranges through to Palmerston North City and the Manawatū River.

The project began in 2001 when residents were concerned at the loss of biodiversity in Palmerston North, with only 1 per cent of forest cover remaining and native birds a rare sight.

Since then 150,000 native trees have been planted along the Turitea and Kahuterawa streams and gullies in the suburb of Aokautere/Summerhill.

There has been a significant increase in native bird numbers in the Turitea Reserve, headwaters of the Green Corridors project, and water quality has improved in both streams.

Turitea Stream is now being used as an incubator for eels through a collaborative project with local iwi, Rangitāne o Manawatū.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says the Green Corridors Palmerston North project is an excellent example of council and community action.

“You can see from the photos the excellent results of this project,” Mr Yule says. “This project provides a wonderful example of what can be achieved by taking a long term approach to environmental restoration.”

Judges said this was a project initiated by a community concerned about biodiversity loss.

“Sixteen years on it is still going and the impact is there to see as a result of the efforts of many people planting thousands of trees. This project has had wide community involvement, from the very young to older residents, and shows the benefits that can be gained over time.”

Judges for the awards are former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Chair of EQC Sir Maarten Wevers and The New Zealand Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich.

The winners in the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards 2017 are:

Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement

• Hutt City Council – Transformation Taita - Aiming to create a brighter future for all young people while building a stronger community, Transformation Taita offers access to facilities, resources and activities to those who need it most.

Highly commended

Queenstown Lakes District Council – QLDC Winter Morning Road Reports - Throughout winter, seven days a week, QLDC provides early morning reports on road conditions throughout the district to thousands of people across multiple communications channels.

• Waikato Regional Council – Healthy Rivers: Plan for Change/Wai Ora: He Rautaki Whakapaipai - Healthy Rivers Wai Ora is a courageous collaborative approach to improving water quality, empowering communities to own the problems - and solutions - in arguably New Zealand’s most important catchment area.

Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award Best Creative Place

• Napier City Council – City Vision: Small City, Big Ideas - This overarching strategy for projects in the City Centre, Ahuriri and the Waterfront areas is guiding Napier to an integrated future where opportunities are seized and the city is both beautiful and memorable.

Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Impact

• Palmerston North City Council – Green Corridors Palmerston North - More than 150,000 native trees have so far been planted as part of this project to connect the Tararua Ranges to the Manawatu River through a corridor of native plants alongside streams and tributaries, improving water quality and bringing birdlife back to the city.

Chorus EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice in Infrastructure Management

• Waikato District Council – Waikato District Alliance - The Alliance is the largest purely roading group in the country, with an integrated team of council staff, contractors and suppliers working together to improve asset management, and renewal and maintenance services to the community – dramatically improving response times.

Crown Fibre Holdings EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development

• West Coast Regional Council – Untamed Natural Wilderness - The West Coast’s exciting new brand has dramatically boosted tourism in the region, and is an ideal antidote to the decline in other major economic sectors that was damaging the social fabric of local communities.

Highly commended

• Rotorua Lakes Council – Rotorua Mountain Biking Strategy - The strategy to establish Rotorua as a globally recognised mountain bike destination has seen visits to the Whakarewarewa Mountain Bike Park increased from 55,000 in 2005 to 250,000 in 2016, with resulting job growth coming from increased investment in retail and support businesses.

• Selwyn District Council – Izone Business Park Development - The Izone Business Park is New Zealand’s largest fully consented and development-ready industrial park with 68 new businesses employing 1,200 people. Another 800 jobs are forecast as development work is completed by land purchasers.

MartinJenkins Judges' Choice Award for Outstanding Value and Service Delivery

• Rotorua Lakes Council – Rotorua Mountain Biking Strategy - The strategy to establish Rotorua as a globally recognised mountain bike destination has seen visits to the Whakarewarewa Mountain Bike Park increased from 55,000 in 2005 to 250,000 in 2016, with resulting job growth coming from increased investment in retail and support businesses.

*ENDS*


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