City parks win world honour yet again

By Mike Dinsdale

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Whangarei's Parihaka and Hatea River Reserves have again been given an international Green Flag award. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Whangarei's Parihaka and Hatea River Reserves have again been given an international Green Flag award. Photo/Michael Cunningham

Whangarei's Parihaka and Hatea River Reserves have again been given an international Green Flag award that recognises well-managed, high-quality green spaces.

The reserves initially won the award last year and again passed the international standard this year. The Green Flag Award was launched in the UK 17 years ago, but this is only the second year it has been open to parks in New Zealand and Australia.

Sites for a Green Flag Award are judged against key criteria: a welcoming place; healthy, safe and secure; clean and well maintained; sustainability; conservation and heritage; community involvement; marketing and management.

The award was acknowledged at Wednesday's Whangarei District Council infrastructure committee meeting.

The council's Parks and Recreation Department submitted the Parihaka and Hatea River Reserves as a group of sites for the Green Flag Awards because they best fitted the criteria for judging and because several sites were in the process of design work for improvements, such as Whangarei Falls, Parihaka and Mair Park.

As well, it was thought an independent evaluation of the developments proposed was a good idea.

Mayor Sheryl Mai was happy with the recognition for the reserves, saying it was a reward for all the hard work the council had done.

Not all Whangarei parks will try to gain Green Flag status, as the criteria would potentially require increased funding.

However, parks such as Kensington Park and Pohe Island may be considered in future, with the same consistent high standards applied to the park networks.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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