A plan to showcase the waterways that pervade Whangarei's inner city is underway.
Whangarei District Council's state of the environment co-ordinator Joanna Wilson said making a feature of waterways, rather than fencing them off and forgetting about them, encouraged people to take ownership of them and discouraged the "shopping trolley in the stream" mentality.
"It's about getting people back in touch with nature in the urban environment," she said.
Council was to begin rolling out its Blue Green Network Strategy. Blue stood for the development of watercourses, including rivers, streams and stormwater drains, complemented by green areas of planting and parkland.
It was to be implemented over the next 50 years, often in conjunction with other projects, such as cycleways and stormwater management projects. "We're not looking at a huge cost all at once. It'll be a bit here, a bit there," she said.
WDC group manager district living Paul Dell said at present the Long Term Plan had allocated $2.7 million towards rolling out the Emerald Necklace, which embraces the Blue Green philosophy.
Mr Dell said current work was around prioritising which areas needed focus - the first funding was not budgeted for until the 2016-17 financial year.
"Two early areas will be the Waiarohia Stream moving upstream from Kotuitui Whitinga [bridge] and the growers market area. The Water Street Carpark work is a good example - we have had plans for some time to improve that area, and it will have a budget set when it rolls around."
Mr Dell said applied over time the strategy could see "quite a transformation".
He stressed that the Water St project was in the very early stages of planning.