New footbridge and boardwalk for Whitianga seafront. 24 October 2019 If you’re driving along Buffalo Beach this week and wondering why there’s machinery placing large poles over the Taputapuatea Stream – it’s because we’re building a new footbridge and walkway. (Artist impression of what the footbridge and path would look like from the neighbours - pictured above) In July this year we put out the proposal to build the bridge, which will link the walkway along Buffalo Beach to Taputapuatea Spit. This area is a popular spot with visitors throughout the year and the bridge will provide better access to the Taputapuatea Reserve. The footbridge will be 12.7m long and similar to the timber structure recently installed in Flaxmill Bay. It offers pedestrians a safer alternative route other than the State Highway to walk along the beach. Consultation has been carried out with local iwi Ngati Hei, Forest and Bird and nearby residents in relation to the position and design of the bridge. The proposed location was chosen to limit the impact to the ecological and cultural significance of the area closer to the end of the spit and the majority of property view shafts. Consents for both building and resource management have been approved. (Construction site - pictured above) The piling for the bridge is being installed this week, until mid-November, then after that, work will start on the boardwalk and bridge structure. The work is due to be finished by the middle of December. We’re also working with Ngati Hei to include art work in the installation. The bridge will feature a timber carving in the design, reflecting the cultural significance of the area. It will also feature a pest control gate to protect the significant sacred and coastal environment. If you want to find out more about the area visit our Mercury Bay Ward page.