Those who frequent the Sunnynook area will be pleased to see the wonderful park back in full swing after three years of work to reduce the chance of flooding and improve drainage. While the project caused considerable disruption during the works, the resulting benefits will be evident in the decades ahead.
The project started in mid 2017 and when totally finished includes stormwater improvements, new sand-carpet sports fields and lighting, improvements to pedestrian and cycle paths, new seating, exercise equipment and playground features. The floodwall on Sycamore Drive has also been upgraded, along with the debris screen at the culvert inlet. Most of this work has now been completed.
Auckland Council identified Sunnynook as a significant flooding risk, with a number of residential and commercial properties at risk of inundation, along with the nearby state highway one motorway. This was due to insufficient detention of stormwater at Sunnynook Park, and significant flooding predicted downstream of the park.
This project, led by Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters team, has significantly increased floodwater storage capacity at the park, which will help to reduce the number and severity of future flooding events in the area. The project has also improved flooding and drainage issues at the Sunnynook Community Centre and Tonkin Drive residential properties.
Specialists developed a plan to use Sunnynook Park for temporary detention storage should there be a big weather event that could lead to flooding. This led to a fully integrated project between Auckland Council’s Stormwater and Parks departments. This enabled the initial objective of stormwater management to coincide with sports field improvements within Sunnynook Park and also at Wairau Intermediate School (adjacent to Sunnynook Park). 35,000 cubic metres of earth was excavated from Sunnynook Park with much of it transferred to Wairau Intermediate School to level the existing fields and also improve the playing fields and drainage.
Overall this flood mitigation project will help increase public safety through Sunnynook and nearby suburbs. At the same time it has also provided added benefits for the community with improved sports fields and related amenities.