Helping to establish new public walkways in Canterbury
Like many kiwis, the team at Fox & Associates are enthusiastic about the great outdoors, be it hunting, stand-up paddleboarding, tramping or simply walking. We are always keen to do work in our playground and so we are excited to be helping to establish new public access routes created by the NZ Walking Access Commission, Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa.
The Commission was established in 2008 to provide leadership and coordination around the maintenance of existing public access and the creation of new walkways and other access rights. Despite the name, they also work to secure access for other outdoor users. Their website includes some very extensive mapping resources which are well worth a look if you are venturing into the outdoors. Their new Find My Adventure tool is also a great way to discover your new favourite track. Like Fox & Associates, Find My Adventure was nominated for a New Zealand Spatial Excellence Award in 2019, in the People and Community category.
In their role of negotiating walking access and other rights over private land, the Commission also reviews applications by overseas investors looking to purchase sensitive land under the Overseas Investment Act. The Commission considers whether there are any opportunities to create public access as a condition of the sale. This might be secured by way of a walkway easement in favour of the Commission, an Esplanade Strip along a waterway or an access strip in favour of the local Council under the Resource Management Act 1991. All of these rights need to be defined on a legal survey plan, and that’s where Fox & Associates has been helping out.
With our extensive rural surveying background, we can assess a proposed access to find the most cost-effective way of completing a survey plan for the owners in accordance with the Commission’s specifications. This includes considerations of whether any fieldwork is required or if the survey can be completed as a relatively simple desktop exercise.
The survey plan allows the new rights to be registered on their title and enables the access to be mapped in the Commission’s database. In this way, the correct location of the new route is easily accessible for users and all other stakeholders.
Sometimes the work involves a deep dive into old survey records to ascertain the correct position of boundaries surveyed back in the 19th and early 20th century, which can be an adventure of a different kind. At other times, its necessary to walk the intended route – nice work if you can get it!
We are extremely proud to be involved with work that provides such a great benefit to the country – another way we are creating legacies with land.