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Westies win International Gong

Westies win International Gong

17 November 2006

An international environmental award has been won by Waitakere City Council.

Waitakere City has won a Silver Medal in the Environmentally Sustainable Project category of the international LivCom Awards.

The United Nations-sponsored gong has come Waitakere's way on the strength of legislation to protect the Waitakere Ranges from further unsustainable development.

Local MP Lynne Pillay who is sponsoring the Bill says the award is timely, coming when the Select Committee is considering the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Bill.

"The Bill limits for ever Auckland's Western urban sprawl by establishing almost 28,000 hectares of public and private land as the ‘Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area’.

"The LivCom award anticipates the Bill's protection of the beautiful Waitakere Ranges, and its fostering of the residential areas around Titirangi, the foothills, coastal villages such as Piha, Karekare, and south-western parts of the Rodney district. It also justifies the immense pride felt by all true Westies in the iconic status of the Ranges, and acknowledges Tangata Whenua's deep comprehension of the splendour of this land.

A diverse range of people and groups are promoting the legislation, including local government, community groups, land-owners, iwi, recreational users, and the public at large. An advisory group comprising Ms Pillay, New Lynn MP David Cunliffe, Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey and local body councillors helped draft the Bill.

"All of that community involvement is typical of Waitakere. LivCom also gave us the Gold Medal for being the most "Liveable Community" of our size in the world.

The LivCom Awards, held in China, are the world's only competition focusing on local environmental management and aim to improve quality of life through more 'liveable communities'.

The Gold award noted the Waitakere Council's emphasis on community participation in neighbourhoods that are better looking, more sustainable and more enjoyable, and including projects such as Project Twin Streams, and using arts, events and ethnic festivals to build a stronger sense of community.

"Waitakere is renowned for its talented artists and with residents from three quarters of the World's countries, is leading the way with ethnic festivals which are a great way for people to build bridges and share their cultures," said Ms Pillay. These awards are great for Waitakere and great for New Zealand.

ENDS

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