Smith mobilises community to build footpath

Rodney Local Board member Colin Smith chainsaws through bureaucracy to help build a path for the community.

Wellsford residents have joined forces to construct a footpath between the town and Centennial Park to allow pedestrians to avoid a dangerous section of road.  

Rodney Local Board member Colin Smith led the charge to clear the overgrowth in a corridor that runs parallel with Rodney Street, alongside train tracks behind the public toilets, to the fire station.

“Lucky for me we’ve had a lot of locals come on board, including contractors, the fire brigade, the police station, Firestone and the vet club,” Mr Smith says.

He adds that Centennial Park Road is increasingly being used by motorists to bypass the busy town and it’s no longer safe for parents and children making their way to the park.

He says although the land alongside the tracks has long been identified as part of Wellsford’s greenways pathing plan, it is administered by KiwiRail.

The community will need KiwiRail to give its permission if any further development is to be done legally.

“There has been a lot of work to clean it up and get rid of the overgrown bamboo and the pests. Now at least KiwiRail can see what is here, and it would be amazing if they came on board.”

Colin says he would find the resources for developing a path as well as a bridge over the tracks if KiwiRail will give their support.

“If we can get access, the community will do the work to get it done.”

Zayne Cave from Sculpt It Contractors brought in his digger with a specialised mulching head attached and it easily stripped the branches from trees.

“We are trying to get it legal so it becomes an access, not a trespass,” Colin says.

Back in June, lack of official action over Wellsford’s unsealed roads prompted Mr Smith to take matters into his own hands and organise a similar community initiative to open up Worker Road to alleviate traffic congestion.


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