Joint en­deavor aim­ing to bring do­main to life

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - LIU CHEN

The first plant­ing day of the Cockle Bay Do­main com­mu­nity restora­tion and gar­den project has seen dozens of peo­ple turn­ing up with their shov­els, trol­leys, gloves and gum­boots.

On a re­cent sunny day, com­mu­nity mem­bers, pupils and teach­ers of Cockle Bay School, tod­dlers of Cockle Bay Play­cen­tre and their par­ents, as well as staff of the Auck­land Coun­cil and Manukau Beau­ti­fi­ca­tion Char­i­ta­ble Trust (MBCT), joined forces to bring a bal­anced ecosys­tem back to the do­main.

They’re re­mov­ing weeds and pest plants, re­plac­ing them with more than 1000 New Zealand na­tive plants and trees along stream banks run­ning across the do­main to the beach.

Cockle Bay res­i­dents Matthew Bra­jkovich and Stephanie Cham­ber­lin no­ticed the con­tam­i­nated water and da­m­aged bio­di­ver­sity in the area and be­gan to talk about mak­ing a dif­fer­ence since last year.

Their ini­tia­tive fi­nally got the coun­cil on board and also spon­sor­ship from me­dia agency MBM. The MBCT, For­est and Bird, lo­cal res­i­dents and com­mu­nity groups are also buy­ing in.

MBCT’s Kate Lo­man-Smith says pro­tect­ing streams is vi­tal for the coun­try’s fresh­wa­ter and na­tive fish.

‘‘Th­ese things can’t hap­pen un­less com­mu­nity takes an in­ter­est in bring­ing their will to some­thing.’’

Some ex­otic plants, like wil­lows, have sucked up the water, mak­ing the ground dry for water-like na­tive plants that are im­por­tant for wa­ter­way clean­ing.

Weed species are con­tam­i­nat­ing the water by re­mov­ing oxy­gen, which can re­duce fish life, ac­cord­ing to Bra­jkovich.

‘‘This has been slowly get­ting worse for years and it was time for some­body to speak up and take ac­tion,’’ he says.

He also sug­gests peo­ple make sure their house drains go into the cor­rect dis­posal drains, as well as do­ing proper pest and weed con­trol.

Cham­ber­lin, a play­cen­tre par­ent who helps en­gage com­mu­nity groups, says they need peo­ple to main­tain the plant­ing.

‘‘The do­main has been ne­glected for a long time, but it has the po­ten­tial to be a re­ally beau­ti­ful place .’’

Peo­ple can find up­dates on Face­book at Cockle Bay Do­main com­mu­nity restora­tion and gar­den project. A clean-up day is ar­ranged for Septem­ber 17.

PHO­TOS: LIU CHEN / STUFF

Stu­dents of Cockle Bay School en­joy their vol­un­tary tree plant­ing work on the sunny day.

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