One small step for local connections, one giant leap for an increasingly bikeable city. A new boardwalk and shared path has officially opened in Pt Chevalier, linking Eric Armishaw Reserve (beloved of native birds and kite-surfers, as glimpsed from the motorway causeway) to the local town centre and eventually to Waterview.
This is one of the links fought so hard for by locals and granted by the Environment Court as part of the mitigation for the massive Waterview Connection project, which is taking final shape in the gully between two once-connected communities.
The original wish was for a bridge between Waterview and Pt Chevalier. In the end, as Margi Watson of the Albert-Eden Local Board said at the opening ceremony, the court granted 4 of the 5 bridges the community asked for, but “we were told this one was a bridge too far. That’s okay. We’ll take the path instead.” More from Margi’s speech:
This new path is about so many good things: experiencing the coastal environment up close – while getting from the park to home, school, the shops and work. It gets everyone closer to the fields at Walker Park for athletics, football and league, to the shops and library at Pt Chev, and to the soon to be opened skate park and BMX track in Waterview. It is another piece of the Albert-Eden Local Boards’s Parks of Local Significance in the Government’s Roads of National Significance programme.
The native plantings will go some way towards softening the visual impact of the new motorway works, especially as the larger pohutukawa grow up. As Margi also noted, this area is a critical zone for local wildlife, especially birdlife (although a minke whale made an unexpected stopover earlier this year, and it’s not unknown for orca to come swimming up as far as the causeway in search of delicious rays!).
This reserve is also a special environment and needs our protection. We need to protect the shell banks, the nesting areas, the coastal and estuarine habitats, keep the replanting programme going and keep dogs on their leash. It is only a year ago we had a whale stranded here and we have dotterels nesting over there. It is a locally important park, but it’s also regionally important.
The path begins at Eric Armishaw reserve next to the little playground (also due for an upgrade soon, as is the connecting path), and then unfolds into a raised boardwalk bridge across the estuary.
The boardwalk is built wide enough to stroll or ride side by side, perfect for a leisurely outing – also, for those coming from the western side of Pt Chev and heading west or east along the NW cycleway (or eventually south along the Waterview Shared Path), it’ll be a nice alternative to heavy traffic on Pt Chevalier Rd.
It’ll be great to see locals discovering a different way to access their waterfront back yard, especially once the connections are complete through the interchange to the new skate bowl and pump track next to the Waterview playground.
As Margi noted, the Local Board worked alongside many people to make this happen, including:
Wendy John, Peter McCurdy, Ora Ermslie, Marianne Riley, Murray Cameron, Bill McKay, Rob Black, Duncan McKenzie, Alison Towns, Belinda Chase, Max Robitzsch and Barb Cuthbert of Bike Auckland, and the late Shirley Upton who would have loved to have seen this happening today. My thanks also to my colleagues on the AELB who are here today – you have committed 100% over the last 6 years to ensuring that this project doesn’t destroy the communities around it. Finally, thanks to both NZTA for accepting the consent requirement to build this connection and to the Well Connected Alliance for as always, doing such a great job.
Curious to explore the new path? As per the map on the opening ceremony invitation below, you can access it from Eric Armishaw Reserve (at the end of Walker Rd), and currently also from the end of Montrose St and Alberta St. The full connection through the interchange towards Waterview will be open next year.