The Miramar Track Project

24 February 2010

Centennial Reserve on Miramar Peninsula now has two new dual-use tracks for walking and mountain biking thanks to the efforts of a hard-working group of volunteers.

The group has been working with the Council for the past year to develop the tracks, which are accessible from the end of Darlington Road in Miramar, Nevay Road and Main Road in Maupuia and last year began planting native plants supplied by the Council's Berhampore Nursery.

Like so many track building and bush restoration projects, the project has become a community affair.

The Miramar Track Project, as it is known, was started by a small group of mountain bikers who had worked with the Council at Makara Peak. This included former Makara Peak Supporters chair Ben Wilde and the group's track design-and-build coordinator, Ricky Pincott, who has been involved with track-building at Makara and elsewhere for more than 10 years.

Ben says the group has a core of about 10 diggers as well as others who help when they can, including families, walkers and runners. Council parks staff have helped in a variety of ways, providing advice, support, signs, a footbridge, plants, gravel and rubbish skips and clearing fallen trees; mountain bike clothing company Ground Effect funded the tools and the Chocolate Fish café in Shelly Bay has provided baking to help fuel the volunteers.

"Most of us live out east and all of us appreciate having a resource like this where we can run, walk or bike so close to our homes. We have also started working with Tony Kelly-Smith, the principal of Miramar Christian School, who will be working with his older students on a wetlands project on the lower eastern side of the reserve."

The group has also joined forces with the Kilbirnie Police Youth Aid team to give some of the teenagers in their care an opportunity to work off their community service or diversion / alternative action hours.

"For many of these boys it is the first time they have been in the bush and a good chance to be around some positive role models," Ben says. "It is hard work but we get few complaints and most stick at it. The Youth Aid team even had one boy pestering them about when he could start his hours."

As well as track building, the group last year planted about 500 native plants and removed a significant amount of rubbish that had been dumped over the years.

"We removed a photocopier, fridges, hundreds of bottles and household rubbish of all descriptions. Interestingly, since the area near the reservoirs has been cleaned up and the dumping hot spots planted out to make it obvious the area is in use again, illegal dumping has dropped off," Ben says.