Our Community Projects and News
Steve Harrison, Sandspit volunteer, (in the image below with David Astbury, another volunteer), in charge of the working bees on the walking tracks reports :-
On Friday April 6, 2018, for the first time in a year after Auckland Council decided it was a "Health and Safety" issue to have volunteers working on the walking tracks in Sandspit (after more than 25 years of doing so without serious injury to participants), a group of eight Sandspit resident volunteers resurfaced the track from Puriri Place down the hill to Brick Bay Beach with metal provided by the Council. As instructed, we followed the Council's January 2018, Version 3,
issue of the Safety Plan (Low-Risk). This track was in quite good condition, primarily due to the efforts of the volunteers within the last 3 years to enhance to track subsurface with compacted lime rock, install a number of timber surface cross drains, and add several additional side drain culvert hoses. About 1/3 of the 6 cum of metal supplied was consumed in this exercise. The balance of metal stockpile will be used in future near term work days to resurface the other tracks in the Sandspit Reserve areas.
A comment on the new effort by the Council contractor to eliminate noxious and intrusive undergrowth by spraying herbicide as well as to trim woody growth intruding on the path right of way and remove fallen trees and branches from the track. This is a new activity that has previously been undertaken by volunteers, however the contractors are doing a good job with this effort and we appreciate their efforts. Contractor crews are frequently seen on the tracks doing this valuable work.
Points of interest
A whole section of planting at Brick Bay Beach and Reserve carried out by Committee members of SRRA and volunteers some years ago was mowed over by the Council inadvertently.
The SRRA committee and a few local volunteers subsequently carried out some more planting at Brick Bay Beach reserve. Around 90 plants were donated by the Auckland City Council. The plantings were fenced off to protect them from further accidents. despite this, within a year, some of the plantings were mowed over by Council staff, again inadvertently!
During the plantings, it was confirmed as to why this beach was named Brick Bay Beach.
In years gone by, ships anchored in the Bay off loaded their ballast - hand made bricks!
Lester Trewin Walking Tracks.
We have 4-5 km of walking tracks to look after, and hundreds of people who use them regularly.Here you see archive photos of the original volunteers, headed by Lester Trewin spreading metal on a newly formed section of track.
Bruce McCallum. Mike Trotter, Bill Meyer, Phil Stubbings,George Hale
Bill Meyer, George Hale, Lester Trewin on tractor, Phil Stubbings.
In more recent years the tracks were maintained by a group of volunteers under the guidance of Bill Meyer and Kevin Brown. Unfortunately, due to illness and then a knee replacement,Bill has been unable to continue this work over the last couple of years and the only maintenance that has been carried out has been the re-metalling of the track from the camp ground to Horseshoe Bay, duly carried out by Kevin and Brian Morrison.
This lack of ongoing maintenance has meant that some of the tracks have become quite treacherous in places, due to heavy rain washing out the metal and scouring out the earth. While the tracks are owned by Council, our obligation is to ensure they are safe for all to use. In consultation with Bill Meyer and Steve Harrison, who has an engineering and practical background, it was decided that extra drains were required to deflect surface water from the tracks before it gathered too much momentum which was causing metal washout and scouring.If you are walking the tracks you will notice that the level areas retain the metal very well, whereas the steeper grades require ongoing metal replacement, which we are now hoping to minimise.
Assisted by Steve Harrison, with his trusty shovel, we have walked each track to assess the drainage and metal requirements. (Steve has already built and installed 14 ‘open’ timber drains in the tracks at the end of Puriri Place leading to Brick Bay and Horseshoe Bay. The materials for these were funded privately by Steve and Richard Butcher). Our little ‘field trip’identified that a further 31 drains were required, at this point, (to be reassessed in the next year or so), and large areas required new metal. Thirty-one drains require 186 metres of timber and a few kilograms of nails. A visit to James Kendall, of Matakana ITM Building Centre resulted in James offering to sponsor the materials, as a community project, including cutting the timber into 93 x 2 metre lengths to make it easy for us. We are exceptionally grateful for James’ generosity and encourage our residents to support his business where they can.
We have no shortage of volunteers to help construct and install the drains, which should be completed over the next month, or so. Following Kevin and Steve’s return from their respective overseas jaunts at the end of July, we will then be in a position to clear the tracks of any debris and start to lay new metal. We have a number of individuals, and families that have offered their support in helping with these working-bees, but if you would like to beinvolved, please give me a call. It’s a great community project, worth supporting.
Bill Meyer and Steve Harrisons’ ongoing liaison with Council representatives has
ensured a continuation of Auckland Council’s support in supplying the metal for our tracks,which are a great sense of pride for our community. Your new committee is indebted to the ongoing support these men are giving, as we are to John Millett who sprays the weeds on the tracks, Kevin Brown who, with his trusty tractor, is responsible for distributing the metal and all other volunteers. There is a fair amount of catch-up work to be done to bring our tracks up to a good safe standard all-over, however we are making real progress here and, with the help of community involvement and a major contribution by
Matakana ITM (James Kendall), restoration should be complete by spring.
Matakana ITM Building Centre is at 58 Matakana Valley Road, Phone 422 7024.
If you’re calling there, please thank them for their support.
We hope that everyone will become involved in keeping up fresh bait supplies to the bait stations on their property. If you enjoy the birdlife around your home, this is the most important thing for you to take on. We also look after a large network of bait stations in the reserves. The volunteers who have maintained these for years need help.This is mainly a Spring and Autumn activity and I know Bill Meyer will be happy to show you the locations.One of the joys of Sandspit is the great variety of small birds, grey warblers, fantails, waxeyes, finches, tuis, even rosellas and of course quails. There are many reports that the birdlife is increasing since the commencement of the predator management programme. There are reports that Quail are have been seen in groups of as many as 30. The birdlife is incredibly vulnerable to rats over winter so now is the time to kill off the rats as they reinvade. If you see a stoat please tell Mike Smith about it. They would like to know where you saw it. We have invested in more stoat traps to try to clean out the recent invaders.
Membership of Sandspit Ratepayers & Residents Association.
This is open to anyone who lives in Sandspit, from the intersection of Sharp Road and Sandspit Road, along Mahurangi East Road, up to and including James Street. Recent changes to our constitution opened membership to properties on the north side of Sharp Road up to No. 289. Join us for just $25 per annum, to assure yourselves that Sandspit continues to be the place you prefer to live.
PLEASEJoin SRRA to become part of our community.