After a pretty strange sort of an autumn and winter this year, I am sure I am not the only person longing for the warm, active, outdoor days of summer.
To that end I am pleased to know that lots is happening out and about in our parks and reserves over the next few months, with new developments and upgrades to recreation spaces we can all enjoy.
Although I am a keen scooterer, I can't claim any skill in the skateboarding area – but I am sure others will be delighted to know contractors are working on three skateparks.
The team is consulting with the Waipū community about its future skatepark, Ngunguru's skatepark is nearly complete, with an opening day planned for August 9.
Last week we released images and information about a major refurbishment and expansion of the skatepark on Pohe Island. This is the first stage of a project that in coming years will also install a skateable sculpture, and a develop a beginners' skatepark nearby.
One of the most exciting parts of this project will be seeing the ideas put forward at a community design workshop last year come to fruition.
A skater for 20 years, top-notch skatepark designer Richard Smith of Rich Landscapes was commissioned to design the park and Steve Bowling Contracting will complete the work.
Not so far away, the Town Basin Children's Playground will be reopening just before summer. Themed Time and Tide, it will have new equipment, a new design and layout, a garden barrier between it and the carpark and more distance between the walkway beside the playground and the Hātea River.
The climbing spiderweb frame will remain and will be joined by a two-storey slide tower, in-ground trampolines, a climbing circuit, as well as more swings. There will also be bongo drums, talking tubes and other music.
One of the most popular recreational developments in Whangārei in years has been the Hātea Loop. In coming months anyone wanting to start their stroll from Te Matau ā Pohe, or visiting events at Okara Park or Cobham Oval will be able to park in a transformed parking area.
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The gravel parking area beside the cricket grounds will be sealed, the entry and exit will be altered, and new lights and planting will go in.
While I am on the topic of walking, I am also pleased to see the Russell Rd end of the Frank Holman track will be upgraded in October/November. During the coming year I expect to see the Abbey Caves carpark developed, complete with public toilets. I also note that the all-weather track from AH Reed Memorial Park to Whangārei Falls has been completed recently.
I deeply believe that getting out into nature has huge benefit to all those who are able to do so. Whangārei has an outstanding natural landscape to enjoy, and the additions and changes Whangārei District Council makes to help getting out into nature easier, cleaner, safer and more comfortable benefit us all.
• Sheryl Mai is mayor of Whangarei.