Tree clearing all part of the plan says committee
BY JULIA WADE
The recent felling and clearing of trees and plants within an ecologically valuable wetland and native forest has caused confusion, concern and dismay among some Mangawhai residents.
Located in the area defined as Mangawhai Community Park (MCP) – land stretching along Molesworth Drive between the local golf course and Mangawhai Museum – large manuka, ponga’s and other native flora and fauna have been cut and removed from bushland behind the Pioneer Village.
Locals expressed their shock and outrage on social media at what appears to be the destruction of forest along walking and bike tracks, on what is believed to be preserved land.
‘It’s so sad’ said one Facebook post, ‘this was once the best part of the walking track and now it's bare dirt and treeless.’
However the MCP governance committee who oversee the management of the park, say the work is all part of the park’s Master Plan.
Committee chair and Kaipara District Councillor Anna Curnow says the committee was aware of the clearing of the land and ‘is comfortable the location of the walkway is aligned to the direction set out in the Master Plan’.
“Work has begun on the access walkway that will connect the eastern side of the park with the museum area. The walkway is being developed in such a way as to allow access to small vehicles such as quad bikes so that maintenance and emergency access is easier. However, this work has been put on hold while issues relating to consents for earthworks in wetland areas are resolved.”
During an operational inspection of the new walkway it was discovered that the scope of work had increased from what was originally planned, KDC public affairs officer Ben Hope says.
“When this was noticed work stopped to establish what was to happen next, and to ensure that the work that had been completed was done correctly,” he says. “Council staff and members of the Friends of the Mangawhai Park are working together to get work on the track started again as soon as possible.”
The Master Plan, which is implemented by the committee, defines the development of MCP and was adopted by Kaipara Council in 2015, after extensive and indepth input and consultation with the Mangawhai community.
Objectives of the plan are to help visitors to experience the natural beauty of the park by protecting and enhancing the ecological landform and natural character through revegetation, restoration and biodiversity, as well as developing access and trails which connect the different areas such as the Museum to the Mangawhai Activity Zone.
“The master plan sets out ideas for the location of the walkways to be developed… and directions for replanting and landscaping following development,” Curnow says. “The community can rest assured that budget has been set aside for plant and land restoration following the completion of the walkway.”
Mangawhai Community Park Master Plan can be viewed on the KDC’s website under Mangawhai Community Park.
All is not what it seems. Felled trees and bare dirt has caused dismay and anger among some community members, however it’s all part of the bigger plan Council says. (PHOTO/Supplied)