We had a very rough start to our Keep NZ Beautiful clean-up day yesterday with thunder and lightning coming just at the time we were scheduled to meet at the Lincoln Scout Hall. Interestingly, one of the hazards mentioned in the safety checklist was thunderstorms…along with earthquakes. So, as the hard core of Riverpark Action Group members huddled under the small verandah of the Scout Hall, we were reasonably confident that we were unlikely to get a large number of volunteers. We were trying to decide whether to go ahead or not when Gilles arrived, one of the regular Woodside Garden volunteers. The problem was, do we go ahead and get drenched to the skin or…do we postpone? Since we were already there and the rain was looking like it might ease up, we decided to go and brave the elements and get started with the proviso that if the thunder and lightning returned, we might finish early. With 7 keen volunteers, we thought we could definitely make a difference. You can see the ominous dark sky behind Monique and Nicole in the photo below.
Our aim was to clean up the rubbish in the culvert that runs into the Huruhuru Creek (including one of our famous trolleys) and the area on the Sunline Avenue side of the footbridge as well as the creek banks in the same area. Since the area we were cleaning up ticked almost all of the hazard boxes, namely rough, slippery, steep sloping areas with holes, fallen branches, many trip hazards and deep murky and moving water, we talked about how to make sure we stayed safe. No one wanted to fall into the murky muddy water although we were lucky that it was low tide so we were able to venture out a little and pick up some of the rubbish in the mud below the footbridge. We were equipped with our garden rakes and other tools from the Woodside Community Garden so that we could pull stuff up out of the bushes without having to go too close to the edge.
We managed to collect 10 bags of rubbish and 8 bags of recycling along with a shopping trolley, canvas seat, fan, speaker (plus a cardboard box which had contained new speakers!) and some spouting. Other significant finds included a velvet ring box (no ring inside which was a bit disappointing for Lois) plus 3 large rubbish bins. One of the bins was still intact so we’ve taken that down to the community garden where we can make use of it. We took photos of a TV and bicycle that were in the deeper reaches of the creek so that we could send them to Auckland Council.
The photo below shows the final haul of rubbish that we picked up.
With all of this rubbish, it was going to be difficult to get all of it up to the Waitakere Refuse and Recycling Centre as per the instructions from David of Auckland Council. Several trips would be required as we only had 3 ordinary cars onsite, one of which was a very small hatchback. Fortunately, John Riddell, from the Massey Birdwood Settlers Association (and Keep NZ Beautiful) offered to take it for us as he had hired a ute for the day. We are very grateful to John for helping us out with this. Not sure how we would have got the trolley in any of our cars! Thanks John!