Hamilton’s Mayor and Councillors have unanimously backed a plan which delivers a major boost for visitors to Hamilton Zoo and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, while improving the safety of road users and residents in the area.
Three high-profile projects have been combined to improve access to two of the city’s major visitor destinations, reduce disruption and identify potential cost savings.
Work was already scheduled within the next five years to upgrade a section of Brymer Road, between Baverstock Road and the northern entrance of Hamilton Zoo. Work is already underway to develop the first stage of a shared entry for the Zoo and Waiwhakareke. The second stage of the shared entry project is planned, but not yet funded in the current long-term plan.
Council yesterday considered a proposal to combine all three projects, aligning the timing and confirming additional funding for the second stage of the Zoo/Waiwhakareke entrance. The combined project will get underway next year. The decision means initial works scheduled for February can now include other aspects of the wider project.
Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate says she was delighted Elected Members unanimously endorsed the staff proposal.
“Our zoo is a wonderful asset for our community and the many thousands of visitors who enjoy it every year. Just across the road is Waiwhakareke, our flagship and world-class project for biodiversity in our city.”
The shared entry precinct and a safe crossing point for visitors between the two facilities supports sharing Hamilton’s natural heritage with its community. Combining this work with an urban upgrade of this section of Baverstock Road also benefits local residents through lower speeds, safer roads and a better urban environment.
“The overall project will deliver new footpaths and cycleways and improve public transport so there are some real wins,” Mayor Southgate said.
Mayor Southgate congratulated staff for recognising the opportunity to deliver the benefits of a ‘whole-of-Council’ approach to projects of significance.
“We are committed to improving the wellbeing of Hamiltonians and this project is a great example of how we can do that sooner and more efficiently. I’m excited about the changes we’ll see in this part of our city, and the recognition this work will give to two of our wonderful destination facilities.”