Leonie Gill Pathway to connect community

15 April 2015

An official opening ceremony is planned in Kilbirnie this Sunday 19 April at 3pm to celebrate and name the new walking and biking path which connects to local schools and retail centres across the suburb. The pathway will be named in memory of former councillor Leonie Gill.

“Leonie worked hard to serve the Eastern Ward, and this path was close to her heart,” said Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. “It is a fitting tribute to her commitment to the communities of Kilbirnie and Rongotai.  The Leonie Gill Pathway will encourage residents to explore and connect across their suburb. We welcome everyone to come along and join us this weekend for the opening.”

The project has revitalised what was previously a rough and underused route through the drainage reserve. The smooth new path runs from Cockburn Street to Tirangi Road, and down to Lyall Bay beach. 

“It’s an east-west route through the suburb, which links to local schools, retail centres, the skate park and the beach. This means the pathway can be used recreationally by people wanting to get some exercise, as part of getting to school, or simply to get from one part of the neighbourhood to another,” said Mayor Wade-Brown 

“Betty Weeber and others raised the drainage reserve route with Leonie Gill and myself, and our advocacy has been continued by Cr Sarah Free,” said the Mayor. “While Leonie preferred her car, she appreciated other people’s needs and was very supportive of the path.” 

Planting of native shrubs and trees will provide the finishing touches in the coming weeks, but the community has already been enjoying the new space, with nearby residents at Rita Angus Retirement Village delighted by the development. 

“It’s already helping to fill the need for short walks in the neighbourhood, and I have made use of it several times with my walker,” shared one of the residents, aged 90.  “It is bliss to walk on such a flat and smooth surface.” 

Councillor Andy Foster, who chairs the Council’s Transport and Urban Development Committee, says that, in time, the Leonie Gill Pathway is expected to link with the wider walking and cycling path improvements through the eastern corridor to connect to the longer regional transport and recreational routes including the tunnel under the airport. 

“The Council is committed to making walking and biking easier choices, and this project is not the first we have rolled out,” said Cr Foster.  “We have already seen the success and popularity of the Ara Tawa pathway in the northern suburbs.  We know that 76 per cent of Wellingtonians would like to get around by bike, so pathways like this are helping to make Wellington a more bike-friendly city.”