Opoia, Jesmond Park, Claudelands Bridge, Sonning Park

For Sonning Park idea see end of post.

The Opoia section of the River plan project notes: ‘There was a flat area of land in front of and below the Opoia Pa which was a common meeting place for war parties before they went into battle. This land and the Pa itself were destroyed by the construction of the Claudelands Road and Railway Bridge. The Pa is now buried beneath the car park at Sonning Esplanade Car park’ (page 52 this link) and it plans to ‘Provide an improved connection to Claudelands Bridge to complete a river’s edge walking and cycleway circuit’. The proposal to providing a connecting accessible path through Jesmond Park is not a topography issue. It is more about whether it respects the descendants of the people who lived here before the 1860s invasion and confiscation. The answer to this will come from the partnership that ex-mayor King and current Mayor Southgate have begun building between the people and their strong relationship with the land.

Jesmond Park has three significant trees listed in HCC district plan schedule 9D: 2 London planes and a red oak. My proposal is for the path to be on the bridge side of the two London plane trees

Could Opoia link to Sonning Park? The image below from the Proposed District Plan Volume 2 – (p120) shows a continuous pedestrian promenade between the two bridges. The desire line shown could be extended north under Claudelands Bridge, linking into Sonning Park.

Again from the Proposed District Plan Volume 2 (p114) – the indicative concept has a path shown connecting Sonning Park to a river jetty. The distance between the northern end of the promenade shown above and the Sonning park jetty path is about 40 metres.

The option of going under the bridges is longer, but it allows an easy grade path, as Sonning Park is wide and the area between the existing car parking and the river’s edge is deep. The question the ‘River plan’ asks is: does improving access through Jesmond Park (1) cater for the people who live in and visit Hamilton; (2) enable development that will promote enjoyment of the river and benefit the community; (3) support Te Ture Whaimana O Te Awa o Waikato; and (4) promote the celebration of culture, sport, recreation and leisure? See page 1 of the Hamilton River Plan.

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