Auckland Council, in conjunction with the Rodney Local Board, is spearheading an ambitious enhancement project in Helensville’s commercial district. The decision comes after years of consultation between the Rodney Local Board and local businesses, commercial property owners and the general public.
Geraldine Bayly of Kaipara Coast Landscape Architecture and Design is the landscape architect tasked with creating a singular vision for Helensville’s public spaces. Geraldine’s concept designs, which she produced with the assistance of NorthWest Country (previously the West Business Association), were unveiled to around 60 locals at a ‘drop in’ meeting in Helensville on Saturday, September 8.
“The plans reflect the community’s desire to enhance the town centre,” says Geraldine. “They’re also a reference point for the broader community who may want to get involved and work alongside the local board towards a common goal.”
Geraldine says that the level of interest and the quality of feedback for the plans was “really strong”, and she’s using that feedback to develop more detailed designs with the help of 4Sight Consulting.
Among the core objectives put forward by the Helensville community is to implement strong linkages between the town centre and the Kaipara River. The Kaipara River is both a natural feature and a symbol of Helensville’s unique and rich history.
“The proximity of the Helensville township to the river was instrumental in the original location of the township,” says Geraldine, whose concept plans are in part a visual ode to the Kaipara River. The plans include a meandering blue concrete ‘creek’ that runs across Commercial Road and Creek Lane to the river, and a blue wavy sculpture designed to draw the eye towards the water.
Other ‘core objectives’ include enhancing the historic character of Helensville, beautifying local shops, more opportunities for strengthening community ties, and implementing strong linkages throughout the township.
“Beautifying the streetscape, slowing down traffic and installing more seating and footpaths will provide opportunities for people to stop and enjoy their surroundings and bump into other locals and friends.”
A number of new shops have already begun to open on the main street, and Auckland Council is working on a network of paths and greenways so that both locals and tourists can wander through the surrounding roads and explore the Riverside Walkway by foot or by bike.
The community-led designs will be completed later this year following an NZTA Safety Audit. Stage one of the construction is expected to begin early- to mid-2019. Subsequent stages will be rolled out as funds become available.
An experienced landscape architect and Helensville local too, Geraldine point outs Parkview’s enviable location. “It’s close enough for people to walk to the main street but still has a beautiful outlook over the adjacent fields of Rautawhiri Park and the rolling pastureland to the north.”
“The north-facing slopes will maximise sunlight and the views. The planting along Rautawhiri Road provides a really lovely entry to the subdivision.”
Detailed, finalised plans for the commercial district upgrades will be available in the coming months.
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