IPWEA NZ Northern Branch – site visits at Waipā District – challenges with building community facilities

We hosted our first Northern Branch meeting for 2023 on 19 May 2023 with two site visits in Cambridge, Waipā District. Everyone enjoyed the traditional format of site visits, getting together to connect, network and learn with industry colleagues.

The site visits were to:

  • Historic Victoria Street Bridge (1907). Steel arch bridge across the Waikato River, with major maintenance and repainting work underway including significant scaffolding.
  • Perry Aquatic Centre Puna Kaukau o Te Oko Horo. New aquatic facility serving a land locked community. Winner of the Central Property People Award for Urban Design.

A big thank you to Waipā District Council for hosting this event. We were escorted on the site visits by Council’s Group Manager Customer & Community Services, Sally Sheedy, and GoWaipa for the pool and Intergroup for the bridge. We appreciated them taking time out to show us the significant work and learning about the challenges.

Thanks to our sponsor Te Miro Water Consultants, Melissa Allfrey for supporting this event and the wider industry. She also welcomed people to Waipā District and does us all proud as a young IPWEA member and a future leader. Council’s Group Manager Infrastructure, Dawn Inglis gave us an overview of the infrastructure challenges for Waipa for the next 30 years.

Key takeaways from the site visits were:

  • Victoria Street Bridge – We loved being 35m above the mighty Waikato River on the scaffolding with the Victora Street Bridge maintenance job. The temporary works are costing more than major maintenance and repainting work.
  • Perry Aquatic Centre – It can take a long time (in this case two decades) to build a new community facility. It is important that there is sufficient hand over time between the construction contractor and the operator (1 week is not enough). This will ensure smooth operations and technical understanding of state of the art facility.


The next branch meetings will be published on our website once they are confirmed, and will will be emailing all of our Northern Branch members with an invite. In the meantime, save the dates:

  • 30 August, hosted by Matamata Piako District Council
  • October, Evening event in Auckland