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Mackesy bush walking track upgrades

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A Ministry for Primary Industries grant of $125,000 will enable Council to complete the first of a series of Kauri Dieback Disease (KDB) prevention projects on Parihaka this year.

Council’s Parks and Recreation Technical Officer Stuart Jackson said the grant would fund protection for a grove of Kauri on tracks that cross Mackesy Bush, on the shoulders of Parihaka to the north of Riverside Drive.

"There are about 2.5 kilometres of tracks in this bush, and some go right through Kauri groves and over exposed Kauri roots. KDB is still being heavily researched but walkers with muddy footwear are thought to be a significant disease spreader. Because these tracks are muddy and un-surfaced we fear there is a real risk of the trees being exposed to the disease, so we want to change that by installing new gravel surfaces and possibly some boardwalks.

"We plan to close one track (503 metres) that passes through the middle of the largest, most significant and vulnerable Kauri grove, effectively isolating these trees from walkers.

"Track entry points and 2 kilometres of track will be upgraded to New Zealand’s ‘short walk’ standard and diverted around Kauri where possible. Signs about the risk of KDB and the need to keep to the tracks will be installed.

"It is a good project all round because it will make the tracks safer and more accessible for people and much safer for the trees."

Mr Jackson said KDB is not visually evident in Mackesy Bush, "but we are desperate to do whatever they practically can to prevent disease transmission.

"We have already designed, tendered and awarded the $422,715 contract to Plantpro Ltd to upgrade the two walking tracks. The design work will be completed in February, and the tracks should be completed in May.

Mr Jackson said Council had piggy-backed on the KDB processes developed by the Department of Conservation (DoC) in this area and the protocol they developed when working on their Kauri related walking tracks.

"Plantpro are joint partners of NZ Trackworks who have secured several contracts for walking track upgrades for DoC. The protocol is known and understood by our contractors and these were employed in similar work carried out on other walking tracks upgraded last year."

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