Posted by Paul Giles on Jun 20, 2022
While Covid considerations limited our ability to get a programme under way during 2021, I can report that we have been successful in moving forward with two very worthwhile projects in 2022.
Their first undertaking was to revisit the tree planting area around Dave Comparini’s memorial seat and develop a plan for future maintenance. We did this with the assistance of River Ranger Joby Mills, with whom we have developed a good working relationship. We met with Joby in late March and developed a plan for the area. He indicated that the ongoing maintenance of any planting programme is critical for its survival and wherever possible he would support groups that continue to maintain newly planted areas. Rather than weed around the plants and risk damaging them, it was decided that mulching the plants would be far more effective.
Initially, Robin Fenwick sprayed and eliminated the blackberry that was present. Then on Saturday 7th May, 13 volunteers armed with wheelbarrows and spades moved a truckload of mulch around the site. In the following week a few of us returned to distribute the remaining mulch and plant new trees as replacements for a number that had not survived. The finishing touches were provided by Barrie Littlefair when he returned to sand and refinish the memorial seat.
The second significant project was our commitment to assist Te Omanga Hospice with the relocation of their bird aviary within the hospice grounds. The new site would provide better access and enjoyment for patients and family. At first this undertaking seemed a little daunting. However, with the assistance of Colin White, a retired builder and good friend of Richard Perry, we were able to achieve this task.
On Saturday 2nd April, several of us were kept busy moving barrowloads of concrete when laying the new floor for the aviary. Then on the 14th May the aviary was moved to the new foundation. A Hiab truck lifted the existing structure and moved it to the other end of the grounds. From there it was placed on a flat-deck trailer for transfer to the foundation. I was a little uncertain (and nervous) about this part of the exercise, however,it was achieved without too much difficulty. Colin and I returned to the site later in the week and with a few alterations,fixed the aviary to the foundation. The interior of the aviary has been water-blasted in preparation for painting inside and out.
Initially the hospice contemplated a new aviary, which I calculated would have cost in excess of $2000. Colin’s relocation plan has so far cost the club $90 for trailer hire and potentially what we spend on paint. Callan Tomkies of LT Transport provided the Hiab truck at no cost. There will also be a new roof provided free of charge by Silbery roofing. So, all in all a pretty good result.
In order to acknowledge Colin White’s invaluable assistance with this project, I will invite him as a guest to a club meeting and give a formal vote of thanks from the club.
Unfortunately, on the downside, fundraising has not been achieved as we would have liked. We had spoken about a ‘guess who’s coming to dinner’ event, however, concerns with Covid and the potential risk to members meant that we didn’t proceed.
Finally, I would like to thank my committee members, Richard, Barrie, Robin and Joe, for their great support throughout the year. Also, a huge vote of thanks to all of you who have volunteered throughout the year to assist with our committee projects. None of this could have been achieved without your help. Several members have commented on how they enjoy a ‘hands-on’ involvement in projects, and I also think it’s a great way to enjoy each other’s company.
Once again, my thanks to everyone for your support.
Paul Giles
Environment and Amenities  2021-22