Hatea River comes back into view

By Nikolai Smith

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Whangarei residents and visitors can enjoy better views of the Hatea River with the removal of mangroves underway.

Cutting back the the aquatic trees that proliferate the river bank started at the beginning of June and will stop temporarily, Paul Dell, group manager District Living from the Whangarei District Council said.

The mangrove removal will resume in better weather in November, when Mr Dell expects it will take a month to complete to job.

A professional contractor, who has brought specialist teams from Auckland, is carrying out the removal project.

"The public have indicated the mangroves are building a wall, disconnecting the community from the water," said Mr Dell.

"Windows" of mangroves "along Hatea Drive, from Reyburn House along Hihiaua Peninsula around the Waiarohia Stream" are being cut down to allow a better view of the river.

However, outstanding mangrove trees and clusters of trees upstream of the Canopy Bridge will be protected, he said.

He said positive feedback from the public was huge.

"Along Hatea Drive we want to give drivers and walkers a better view of the area and they are heading towards - not just a busy intersection, but the Basin and all it encompasses: the river, the bridges, the yacht masts in the middle distance.

"The Art Trail shows how created objects and the environment can combine to produce beautiful spaces, and that's really the crux of this mangrove work - using landscaping techniques and tree management so that they can enhance each other. Successful urban design is about using different strategies to create the best outcome, depending on the particular environment.

" Establishing the boardwalk through the mangrove forest upstream of the Aquatic Centre has been a real success, showing how the area changes with the tides, but always seems to retain a mysterious quality as the urban environment disappears from view," he said.

Mangrove removal is being carried out with no inconvenience to river users, pedestrians or motorists apart from some diversions on the walkway.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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