Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Van Dammes Lagoon Re-opening Still Pending

As of 22 March, the Van Dammes Lagoon upgrade  is still incomplete.  This view from Mt Wellington Highway shows planting has been undertaken, but the entrance is still blocked off with an unfinished path leading to it.  No word from Auckland Council on a completion date.  According to the map plan (attached to previous Van Dammes post), there is to be another entrance off the new Te Horeta road, beyond the palm trees pictured, but the footpath was cordoned off, and so too access for Ms Field Tripper. 

Auckland Sculpture - An Occasional Series

Wind Tree by Michio Ihara  & Askew silo - Wynyard Quarter

Gone Fishing by Anton Parsons - PWC Building, Quay Street

Nobody here but us by Richard Deacon - cnr Wellesley & Federal Streets

Transit Cloud by Gregor Kregar - New Lynn Town Centre

Field by Angus Muir & Alexandra Heaney (Temporary work as part of Auckland Arts Festival 2015) Daldy Street

A section of the Britomart work by Michael Parekowhai

Monday, May 26, 2014

Upgraded Van Damme's Lagoon set to re-open July 2014

We last visited Van Damme's Lagoon in 2010.  It was in a sorry state, the water cloudy, paths muddy and flooded, the entire place just a bit smelly and dank.  But there was definitely beauty among the ugly, so we're quietly leaping with excitement to see the revamped version of Van Damme's.

Van Damme's Lagoon has had a history of  being repeatedly both loved and neglected. From around the mid-1800s the lagoon was used to supply water for the boilers and steam engines at the Ireland Bros Tannery. In the 1930s it was sold to Mr Theordore Van Damme who beautified and planted it.  After Mr Van Damme died it was sold to a corporation and subsequently used as a rubbish dump.  In the 1970s the council bought the lagoon with the aim of restoring it as a nature reserve.  By the mid-2000s it was again polluted and ignored.

The Lagoon is currently being upgraded as part of the AMETI (Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative) works. It's been closed to the public since September last year, and is set to re-open this July.

The list of improvements include weeding and additional planting, upgrading the paths and removal of excess sediment in the pond.  The reserve area is also being expanded with purchase of some adjacent land.  There will also be increased carparking available (but how about taking the train and checking out the upgraded station, it's only a short walk from there to the lagoon).

View Larger Map

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Views of Oakley Creek Part 1 - Upper Reaches

Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill

View from Southwestern Motorway Pedestrian Bridge

View from Winstone Road, Mt Roskill

View Oakley Creek Walkway in a larger map (courtesy of Friends of Oakley Creek - thank you!)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mangere Bridge Foreshore

Our intention was to look at the furrowed lava flows (pahoehoe) on Kiwi Esplanade, a result of the eruption of Mangere 18,000 years ago.  But our timing was wrong, the flows are best seen at mid-low tide.

The full Manukau harbour was a glorious sight, no chop on the water, a warm autumn day.  So we drove to the end of the esplanade to Ambury farm, wishing we had our bikes, and wondering why the place wasn't as populated as some of Auckland's Eastern Beaches (and secretly liking that).

Bird Refuge - hundreds of Oyster Catchers

Looking toward Mangere mountain, the seagull house in the distance

Oyster Catcher in flight, looking toward Waikowhai

The seagull house up close

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Big Hole In Our Backyard

There was an open day at the Three Kings Quarry on 7 May, 2010.  We've only ever leaned up against the hurricane fence in the Eiffel en Eden carpark and look down into the quarry, so took the opportunity to see it from a different perspective.  It is one enormous hole. 

This goodwill building exercise on behalf of quarry owners Winstone was promoted as a fun family day, with plenty of heavy machinery to look at, climb on and sometimes have a go at, as well as free food, coffee and prizes.  The serious stuff was inside a marquee:  aerial maps of the quarry and surrounding area, leaflets and video on the workings of the quarry operation. 

We spent quite a bit of time in the tent, and outside, but not once were we approached by anyone giving out forms.

Now we find out that after several years and promises that blasting had finished at Three Kings,  Winstone Aggregates are starting a blasting programme next month which will continue for a year.  It was reported in The Herald that forms about this were distributed at the open day.  Maybe they'd run out by the time we got there...

The blasting is required, say Winstone, to level the floor of the quarry. Why it is necessary to do that was a question not answered at Monday's Site Liason Group meeting.  However, Joel Cayford in his Reflections on Auckland Planning blog has an interesting take on the possible reason:  "Mr Chote did not go on to explain why the floor needed to be leveled. But I can guess. It will make it easier to engineer a structurally robust fill, not subject to differential settlement - because it will be even - and so more valuable for building because it will support medium density and more. There was no information presented about the future use. However it makes sense to maximise that value for the shareholder (Fletchers). Steps are being taken to plan for this longer term future...." There is also excellent additional reportage on the meeting.

There is also concern that when Winstone do fill the quarry, they won't use cleanfill, which could result in contaminants leaching into the natural aquifer under the quarry.  Save Auckland's Underground Water From Pollution is a Facebook page dedicated to this issue.  Like.

We'll be watching (and hearing no doubt) what Winstone Aggregates get up to at the quarry over the next few months. 

Friday, March 18, 2011


The little field trippers have had a quiet summer, only venturing to the end of the cul de sac.  But, we're formulating plans to visit new (and revisit some) places around Auckland soon.

We have, however, found this selection from a side-trip to Foxton we did a while back.

Looking toward the cafe from outside De Molen windmill

De Molen windmill

The view from the top of De Molen windmill

Kiari & Travis uncover crabs at Foxton Beach

Makes delicious pancakes!