Kaipara River Walkway

The Helensville Lions Club have now completed the final 220 meters section of the Kaipara River Walkway.
Council recently accepted an application from the Lions to create a metalled walkway on the last remaining unsealed section behind the old Kaipara Dairy Company. Work was finalised on Saturday 12 November meaning that the almost one kilometre walkway along the river is now passable in all weather. The public can now enter the River Walkway at Mill Road and exit onto Commercial Road between the Old Helensville Post Office and former BNZ Bank. There is also an entrance/exit into the middle of the township at Creek Lane.
The final stage adds the finishing touches to a vision started by a dedicated local group back in 2001 led by Mainstreet, New Horizons and local volunteers. They build the first and more difficult 240 meter bridges and boardwalk section of the walkway funded by the then Rodney District Council. It was an ambitious project that was designed to be completed by extending to the Helensville Railway Station. That could not be for safety reasons, as it required a pedestrian bridge alongside the railway line over the Awaroa Creek. In that area local volunteers planted 4000 native trees and shrubs. Some additional funding for that section came from the Helensville Lions. Matua Valley Wines sponsored gold tournament and Lions members also painted the bridges. Further work ceased when New Horizons went into recess.
A little known extension to Commercial Road onto a Council reserve between the Old Post Office and former BNZ was on the plan but forgotten. In 1964 Helensville Lions Club were looking for a community project to mark their 50th anniversary and took the idea of finishing that sector to the Council with an offer of contributing $10,000. Council accepted and prepared the land while Lions members replaced the fencing, built the retaining wall and steps and created the pathway. The third stage was to pave the 250 metre section back to Creek Lane. That was done with input from the youth and local community constables.
There had been willingness by Lions to finalise the grassed area behind the Dairy Company but this was complicated by lack of access to get materials onto the site. The beekeeping firm S.J.A Ltd on Mill Road were approached and willingly made it possible for work to begin by allowing access through their premises. Without that cooperation work could not have progressed. Invaluable help was given by Des Ross of Parakai with his Bobcat moving the crushed concrete metal along the route.
With the exception of the steps up to the Post Office area the walkway is suitable for mobility scooters and wheelchair access.
The work has been a joint venture between Lions and Council over the years with Lions contributing over $21,000 and providing most of the labour for the later stages. The Council have plans to then the trees along the riverbank and make the river more visible.
Dennis Cummings Project leader

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