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Getting stuck in

When a South Auckland childcare centre sought help for a massive stream clean-up, crews from Citycare Water and Two in a Ute stepped up for the environment.

As a result, the Blossoms Educare playground now overlooks a clean and tidy natural area alongside the Ōtara Creek and the kids and community understand more about caring for the environment.

Late last year the teams cleared over 2.5 tonnes of rubbish and 5 tonnes of green waste from the stream’s surrounding steep banks in Bairds Road in collaboration with the Ōtara Waterways and Lake Trust.

The Trust aims to keep local waterways clean, to educate children on the impact of littering, and to engage the community on long-term environmental care outcomes.

“We are actively working on re-building the connection to our local waterways by engaging with our community, tamariki and their whanau,” Trust Co-ordinator Katie Jones says.

That part of the Ōtara Creek is on private land so when the childcare centre reached out for help to clean up the eyesore visible from its playground area, it was reliant on additional assistance to get rid of the illegally dumped rubbish.

Citycare Water agreed to collaborate with the Trust to get the job done.

“It was a substantial job to clear the area of accumulated rubbish and dense vegetation and was all part of our commitment to the local community and our local environment,” Citycare Water Auckland Divisional Manager Sophie Guest says.

“The land is very steep and overgrown and presents multiple hazards – so our specialist expertise within our Stormwater and Two in a Ute teams was needed,” she says.

When the site was first visited to scope the work, it was estimated to take a week, but the crew smashed it in just three days, Stormwater Supervisor Rowan Walding says.

The clean-up focused on an area about 45 metres in length, he says.

First the domestic rubbish and dumped furniture was cleared out. Then the team tackled the overgrown and damaged vegetation on the steep banks and finished up with some weed control to keep the area tidy in the future, Rowan says.

Some of the rubbish was buried under the plants and, at times, the team had to cut through for access.

The childcare staff were really pleased with the work and the results for the area – they shouted lunch for the team to show their appreciation.

The kids were curious too!

“It was quite funny actually seeing them peeking through the fence as we tidied up the area,” Willie Britton from the Stormwater team says.

“They’d ask what we’re doing and why – so there was an opportunity to educate the young ones about the importance of keeping our waterways and our environment clean,” Willie says.

“We hope now the area is cleared, our education and environmental care initiatives will motivate the community to keep it maintained in the future,” Katie says.

Huge appreciation goes to the Citycare Water team including Sophie, Rowan, Willie, Danny Lilo, Johnny (Norman) Tuala, Kristos MacDonald, Tahryn Holden, Shamaaz (Sam) Mohammed, Taylor Britton and Citycare Water intern Nick Odhiambo, and to Polly Kametua, Phil Tamakeu and Sili Olo from Two in a Ute. It was a fantastic result!

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