On 2 June we opened the Grey Lynn Greenway with the Mayor Phil Goff and Auckland Transport. Wayne Donnelly, Deputy Chair of the AT Board was MC for the speeches. Here is my speech on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board
Tēnā koutou huihui mai nei
Warm greetings to everyone gathered here
As the heart of Tāmaki Makaurau we’re really fortunate to attend and host many openings of new and upgraded community assets. The Grey Lynn Greenway is one that I have been especially looking forward to and feel very fortunate to be opening as Chair of the Local Board. Thank you to everyone who has come along this afternoon. I’m joined by my local board colleagues Adriana Christie, Rob Thomas and Shale Chambers . We’re fortunate Mayor Phil has had a lot of practice lately for opening new pathways and is able to join us. I’d especially like to acknowledge former board member Christopher Dempsey who is here to celebrate with us (Tricia Reade sends her apologies).
When I am out and about one of the positive comments I hear the most from locals is how much they enjoying the walking and cycling improvements in our area. There is a tremendous desire to be able to jump on bikes at any age for local trips or recreational rides.
When I moved into this area over 10 years ago with my partner Paul (here with Bike Grey Lynn) we bought bikes to get around. Like most people cycling back then we were shocked at the hostile road environment and the lack of cycling facilities. At the same time there seemed to be some really obvious “quick wins” to make walking and cycling far more pleasant. Paul first suggested to me the idea of a “Greenlink” connecting Grey Lynn Park with Coxs Bay. This was on a wave of hearing about Bicycle boulevards and greenways transforming neighbourhoods overseas. I am sure many people had similar ideas at the time as an extension to the existing walking connection established by the Western Bays Community Board (Graeme Easte just called from Whangerei to give his apologies – probably just as well he is not here as I’m sure he’d tell me I have the history of this route wrong!)
The super city finally provided the opportunity to tackle some of those so called quick wins in Waitematā. The Greenlink idea was embraced by the first Waitematā Local Board supporting a network connections linking our green spaces and reserves that then became a real project with a Waitematā Greenways Plan approved in 2013 – the second local board to complete a plan after Puketāpapa.
The Grey Lynn Greenway has been built in stages as funds have allowed. The boardwalk in Coxs Bay was rebuilt and paths widenedin 2014 . Widened paths in Hakanoa Reserve and Grey Lynn Park were completed last year. The on road sections finally got the green light with a funding contribution from the Urban Cycling Investment fund. We now have a complete, attractive off road route from West End Road to Williamson Ave through our beautiful parks. It opens up connections to sports facilities, schools, local shops and will link into the network of safe routes about to get underway on Great North Road, Richmond Road and Surrey Cres. And of course a connection to the new Grey Lynn pump track (great to see Scott here who has been instrumental in that project). We fortunate that the community has got behind the Grey Lynn pump track and the pollinator path planting that will further enhance to the greenway. We’re already hearing about the wider mobility and accessibility benefits of the Greenway. A bike school bus has started from Grey Lynn School and wheelchair users are able to easily cross Richmond Road for the first time on the new crossing.
There are still things to get right and we’ve heard AT acknowledge the design and consultation issues on one section. Auckland Council also has a path section in Coxs Bay to finish off that got held up by the resource consent. I’m confident that we’ll work through these issues with AT and the community so that everyone can enjoy and benefit from a new community asset.
We’re also looking forward to working with AT on our next Greenway project to open up the old Parnell train tunnel – but more of that another day!
I’d like to end with the many thanks in order.
- To the community for all the support for the Greenway and for your patience with the construction.
- To the volunteers and guardians of the park we look forward to continuing to work with you into the future to further enhance the greenway.
- To the advocates for who have been unwavering in the task of making Auckland a great place to get around.
- Thanks to the designers, planners, engineers, technical and support people who all do the hard work behind the scenes. The thanks on this goes back over many years to David Little and Lynda Lucas who worked on the Greenways plan.
- The many parks people who worked on the off road sections – too many to name today.
- The AT team who have worked on the project including Priscilla and Ben (the former and current local board liaison manager) – the quiet operators who know how to bang heads together to achieve results for local boards
- And thanks to all those involved in the AT part of the project from Auckland Transport, MR Cagney, MWH and TSL including
- AT – Ken Lee Jones (Project sponsor) Paul Buckle (W&C client), Ameer Bahho (Project Manager)
- MWH – Sagar Kariya (Designer)
- MRCagney – Abby Granbery (Peer Review lead)
- TSL – Ikram Patel (Contractors Rep) Mohammed Buksh (Site Engineer)
I hope you will all join me for a ride over once we’ve finished the formalities.
After the ribbon cutting the Mayor jumped on a bike for a ride to the Grey Lynn Pump Track