Lucas Creek in Tāmaki Makarau (Auckland) is also known as Ōkahukura or Kaipātiki. It was an important route between Albany and the Waitemata Habour, but in recent years silt, urban pollution, weeds and metals have accumulated and choked the creek. Kayakers are commonly seen on the river, and until not long ago, swimmers. But today you risk your health putting your head under.
Environment Minister Nick Smith told Parliament that Lucas Creek was a waterway no one ever swam in and no one ever wanted to, and therefore not worth cleaning up.
Shame he hadn’t talked to the people working hard to restore her to health.
The local authority and community groups are actively planting the banks and cleaning up the area. However, the wider problem of urban development continues to threaten the water quality due to massive housing projects, earth movement and development in the surrounding area.
The restoration of the creek’s natural features and effort to reduce sediment is great, but there are huge challenges.
Once-loved swimming spots remain too polluted for people to enjoy.
Until every storm water drain is properly filtered and all earthworks managed to prevent run off, urban water quality will continue to struggle.