Community Food Forest update: vehicle access!

It has been a while, perhaps too long; but although it may look like nothing has happened in the last year or two, your intrepid Residents’ Association has navigated a long and complex journey on your behalf, so that we can now, legally, finally, begin our planned community food forest!

Muri Reserve, with the community food forest site. Vehicle access from the end of Muri Road, along the station platform, across the ditch and to a gate in the fence, shown in yellow.

Porirua City Council are building vehicle access this month to the community food forest site on Muri Reserve. The access will go from the end of Muri Road, along the station platform, and across the ditch to a new gate in the fence, as shown in yellow on the map.

Getting the green light

To legally establish the community food forest, and to set it up to continue indefinitely as a community-stewarded project, required several things.

Firstly, we needed an organisation to take responsibility for stewarding the project, and maintaining its links to and engagement with the community. Initial discussions were around establishing a charitable trust, but the constitutional principles of the Residents’ Association to act and liaise on behalf of Pukerua Bay community projects was a natural fit.

Second, we needed a licence to garden on the Muri Reserve site from the Porirua City Council. Although this was more straightforward at the beginning, the process got a bit bogged down because of the Muri Reserve site boundary with the KiwiRail main trunk corridor. The licence was further complicated by the fact that the site is on reserve land, governed by The Reserves Act 1977, which requires more regulations and careful considerations of liability than would otherwise be the case. However, in June 2016, Te Komiti approved our application for the issuing of a licence for gardening, and this agreement has now been signed.

Thirdly, we needed to sign a scary-looking legal access agreement with KiwiRail for the vehicle access, which runs alongside the closed Muri Station platform. This arose from the gardening licence negotiations with council, and involved quite a lot of to-and-fro, and a good amount of persistence on our behalf from council staff. However this agreement is now signed and in place, and work to build the vehicle access will be commencing this month.

We also needed to lodge our shorter-term annual garden plan for the community food forest with the council parks department for approval, which is also happening this week. This is to ensure that we are adhering to local by-laws and so on, and not doing anything silly like planting convolvulus, or having a bonfire. (No, we can’t ever have bonfires on Muri Reserve land. Sorry.)

And finally, we needed to agree to pay public liability insurance. This is fairly standard nowadays unfortunately, due to changes in legislation around work safety, occupational health, ACC, local government liability and so on. The RA is now up for an annual insurance bill of a few hundred dollars a year to cover this, and would appreciate any fund-raising ideas or efforts from willing enthusiastic residents!

If you’re still reading this, well done; even more excruciating detail is available in the RA minutes, which you can browse here.

Improving safety on SH1

At the Residents’ Association AGM last year, NZTA presented a number of options for improving safety along the State Highway, and got some good feedback on the options. We heard back from them recently about the progress on the options.

They said:

  1. “A pedestrian refuge near the intersection of Teihana Road and State Highway 1 will be investigated. The community feedback identified this as the first choice from the proposed safety improvement options presented. The exact location and layout of this refuge is now being developed. Once this work is done, we will share the plan with the community for final confirmation. The agreed refuge will then be programmed for construction.
  2. The existing speed indicator devices (SID) will be replaced and two new SIDs installed along SH1 through Pukerua Bay.
  3. The white fence next Pukerua Beach Road will be replaced and a new safety barrier installed. Replacing the fence with a much sturdier W-section barrier will improve safety for pedestrians, given the recent occurrence of errant vehicles hitting the existing fence.”

Two of our committee members had a meeting with NZTA today at the shops, to look at the potential site for a pedestrian refuge. Given the standards for pedestrian refuges, the need to retain the right turn into Teihana Rd and have sufficient space for 2-3 cars waiting to turn, the most practicable and suitable site would be across from the northern end of the white barrier at the car parks to a bit south of the stone wall on the Te Motu side of the highway. It may be that a temporary refuge is set out and monitored, via a camera mounted on the light standard by the toilets, over a week or so to see how successfully it works.

To aid line of sight on the Te Motu Rd side there may need to be some modification of the bank on that side, but not affecting the stone wall, if the fixture is permanent. One of the people on the team grew up in Pukerua Bay so is familiar with the issues.

We’ll let you know when we’ve got some more info on their progress.

Pest-free Pukerua Bay public meeting

pest-free-320Saturday 12 November 2016, 10 am at the Pukerua Bay School Hall. See more event details.

A community-led initiative to make Pukerua Bay pest-free, that is, free of mustelids and rats, to encourage native birds, lizards and invertebrates to return. Join the group on Facebook, or email them (see event details).

Rat traps and tunnels courtesy of Department of Conservation, to keen Pukerua Bay trappers for a $20 donation, which will help buy more traps.

Kelvin Hastie will be there to share his experiences making Crofton Downs Wellington’s first pest–free suburb and we will demonstrate how to use traps and get started. We will also have a speaker from the Kāpiti Biodiversity Project.

Online survey: Pukerua Bay community café

A group of residents are discussing the possibility of turning St Mark’s Church into a community cafe. Our vision is for:

“A family-friendly cafe, the profits from which will fund a community hub offering arts and culture activities, skill sharing, exhibitions, workshops and events.”

Please complete our online community survey (closes on 18.11.2016) or email us at pkbcommunitycafe@gmail.com

pb-cafeWE NEED THE COMMUNITY TO HELP MAKE THIS A REALITY,
PLEASE TELL US WHAT YOU THINK.

The survey is open to non-residents, so please encourage your friends around the Wellington region to complete it. We will be at the Residents’ Association AGM on Tuesday evening and will be happy to chat to you afterwards.

Te Araroa Track working bee

Tuesday 18 October 2016, 9.30 am

te_araroa_track_appealA working bee is to take place on the morning of Tuesday 18 October 2016. This working bee will be focused on weed control, in particular a follow up to work already started on Cape Ivy control on the boundary to Melody Farm. Members of the regular Tuesday working bee for Ngā Uruora will be helping out.

Where and when: Assembly point will be at the end of Muri Road near the track entrance gate (map), at 9:30 am, Tuesday 18 October 2016.

What to bring: Bring drinking water, gloves, muscles, knowledge, smiles and all important morning tea. If you have loppers, a pruning saw or a grubber this would help. Don’t worry if you don’t have tools, Ngā Uruora have a few that could be provided.

Weather: If the weather looks like not cooperating the intention is to send out a cancellation email the night before.

More information is also available on the Ngā Uruora website, and if you are interested in volunteering for the Pukerua Bay end, sign up to their newsletter.

Paekakariki Escarpment track opens

On Saturday, 9 April 2016, the Paekakariki Escarpment track opened to the public, enabling walkers to walk the entire length of the track between Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki. The 10 km track climbs high above the railway line and is part of the Te Araroa New Zealand walking trail.

For one-way hikes, the nearby railway stations at Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki allow the option to take the train back to close to the starting point. The track is unsuitable for people with vertigo and children younger than 8 due to being narrow, with steep drop-offs to the side.

Muri Reserve consultation

Muri Reserve Development Plan with map of Muri Reserve

The Pukerua Bay Residents’ Association is after your ideas for how Muri Reserve can be developed so more of us can use this wonderful space in the heart of Pukerua Bay.

You can complete a survey online.

Map of Muri Reserve.
Map of Muri Reserve.

Muri Reserve is a peaceful spot about two hectares in area, which sits between Muri Road, Sea Vista Drive and the old Muri railway station.

It is in two distinct zones. To the west is a large, flat, grassed, “amenity” zone that is surrounded with planting and has views of the hills and sea. The eastern side is an undeveloped, sloping, “natural” zone that includes a wetland, which feeds into Haunui Stream.

The PCC web site has information about the reserve and the restrictions on its use. These two zones are managed differently by PCC and it has different objectives for them. It wants to encourage casual recreation and natural play opportunities in the amenity zone, raise awareness of heritage values, and protect ecological values in the natural zone.

Muri Reserve is part of a popular walking circuit around Pukerua Bay, but access from Sea Vista Drive is down a steep slope. Access directly off Muri Road is very difficult as the ground is very steep in one area. There is good access onto the two zones from the Muri Station platform.

The community identified Muri Reserve in the 2011 Pukerua Bay Village Plan as an area that could be used more for recreation. Suggestions from the community for the reserve included:

  • Further planting with native plants
  • Continued use of the amenity zone as a dog exercise area (dogs can be exercised there at any time)
  • Recreational activities, such as sport areas, picnic area, barbecue, playground, BMX track for young children
  • A board-walk across the wetland to connect the two halves of the natural zone
  • Community garden/heritage orchard
  • Memorial garden
  • Event venue (e.g. cushion concerts)

Community garden/food forest

There is strong support for a community garden or orchard on Muri Reserve. There is a keen group of local people wanting to develop one on the flat area at the eastern side of the reserve, behind the houses at the end of Muri Road. Access to this would be via the old railway station platform.

The group is currently studying whether the site is suitable for a “food forest”. See more information on Pukerua Bay Community Garden here.

Survey

We’ve created an online survey regarding Muri Reserve you can use to give us your suggestions.

Please give us your suggestions by the end of October.

We’ll let you know what ideas people had and what the next steps will be after that.

Thank you for your suggestions.

For more information, contact Iain MacLean at iain@maclean.name, 239 9237 or 027 420 3056.