Local Government Magazine

Whangarei District Council’s Hatea Loop Project: Finalist

At the 2015 LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards.

Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Impact.

Finalist: Whangarei District Council – Hatea Loop

The Hatea Loop trail project, completed in 2014, is a 4.2 kilometre loop multi trail around Whangarei’s upper harbour, which has more than doubled the number of people using the town basin area.

The loop was designed as a catalyst for measures to revitalise the town basin precinct and stimulate development. It provides exercise and outdoor activity opportunities for all age and ability groups.

The loop was conceived as a series of segments that could be built concurrently, subject to budget and programme constraints. The great success of an early stage, the Art Park and Heritage Walk, ensured ongoing support from the community and council for the development of subsequent stages.

The completed loop has proved a great success with the public, with the number of people using the space growing from 3339 to 7746 by January this year. Those using the area range from walkers and lunchtime joggers to people in wheelchairs and entire families on weekend bike rides.

The loop passes through established retail, arts and cultural sites in the town basin and benefits have extended to local businesses which have seen increased patronage due to the growing number of people using the site for recreation and leisure.

The loop passes over challenging terrain and draws together destinations which were previously difficult to access on foot including reclaimed estuary environments, a skate park and a dog agility area. A council survey found that use of areas connected by the Hatea Loop had increased by an average of 132 percent.

Judges praised the excellent measurable results of the project, particularly its accessibility for multiple uses, good community engagement and its success in boosting numbers using the area.

LGNZ president Lawrence Yule said, “The Hatea Loop is a very good example of urban design, with benefits also extending to neighbouring businesses as a result of increased visitors to the area.

This article was first published in the September 2015 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.

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