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).
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