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Next step on coastal trail is trust and working group

by 6 Mar 2015Coastal trail, Regional parks0 comments

Cover, Dreamers of the Day

Where it all Started: Wenderholm, which was opened to the public 50 years ago next summer, was the start of the dream of a network of regional parks that now numbers 28. A Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust is a next step in realising a 26-year-old dream of linking the contiguous parkland to the north of Wenderholm, as the network’s 50th anniversary, legacy project. The views, at least to the human eye, of Wenderholm from the Mahurangi Coastal Trail are even more alluring than from this aerial vantage. publisher Random House

Trust is the essential element in any successful collaboration.

And it is never more so when that collaboration involves various community groups, elected council representatives, and council staff.

Trust was clearly a key factor in Mahurangi Coastal Trail gaining its first concrete step, when Auckland Council’s parks, recreation and sport committee responded to a presentation by Roger Williams by ordering work to proceed on a concept plan for Te Muri Regional Park. Christine Fletcher, who chairs the committee, was mayor of the then Auckland City Council when Roger, as the city’s engineer on the Britomart Transport Centre, had contracts for the project securely let before Christine’s term in office expired, much to the chagrin of her then-transport-centre-critic successor, John Banks.

The next step the coastal trail is poised to take involves trust in two senses of the word. Firstly, Friends of Regional Parks, and Mahurangi Action are contemplating establishing a joint working group to promote the trail as the Auckland Regional Parks 50th anniversary, legacy project, for which a high level of trust is a prerequisite. It will also help if both organisations are philosophical about how much credit, or blame, either receives for its involvement. The second sense of trust involved is as in ‘Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust’—the charitable trust that needs to be established, and non-profit tax exemption status achieved for it. Aside from the obvious advantage to donors of receiving a third of their contribution back from the Inland Revenue Department, such a trust would be in a position to assure donors that if the project fails to proceed, their contributions would be returned—an essential oiling of the pledge-making at the celebrity launch of fundraising on 1 November.

The $500-ticket celebrity fundraiser is designed to kick-start the process of largely paying for the cost of constructing the Judge Arnold Turner Footbridge by public subscription. With potentially up to half the amount raised in one night, participants in the second phased, of raising the balance, will have every confidence that the goal of raising $600 000 is imminently achievable. A concept for a second, people’s event has been suggested by Friends of Regional Parks chairman Bill Burrill and vice-chair Bronwen Turner: A marquee affair at Wenderholm Regional Park near what will become the southern abutment of the Judge Arnold Turner Footbridge, as a key part of the regional parks 50th anniversary celebration, on the Sunday of Auckland Anniversary weekend. The tide will be perfect for folk to be ferried across the Puhoi River so that they may get a taste of the trail, and the sumptuous views of Wenderholm it affords.

There can be no more-fitting way for Aucklanders to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their beloved network of regional parks, than by helping to raise the money to link Wenderholm, the first park purchased, with Te Muri, the last to be purchased by the regional council.

And both, with Mahurangi.

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