Tales from the Trail
Westreef – Our Trail Builders

Over the last three years, the Kawatiri Coastal Trail has been extremely fortunate to have a team of multi-skilled trail constructors from Westreef building the trail. The Westreef team, led by Project Manager Jim McIlraith provide not only their expertise and experience but also a passion for the trail.

When asked what the benefits of the project are to the Westreef team Jim replied, “There are so many! At the core of this though is our team’s own sense of appreciation for the deeply diverse and remarkable environment that we get to work in. The great working relationships we have established with landowners and stakeholders; our pride in delivering a world-class recreational facility to our community and the long-term benefits the KCT can provide for generations to come. This is not a job that we take lightly or consider run-of-the-mill. We are privileged to be part of this project. The true benefit to the community will be fulfilled over many generations. It won’t be entirely understood until we have completed the KCT but realistically this trail crosses some of the most scenic parts of the Buller and it will blow people away.”

We asked Jim what parts of the construction the Westreef team would consider highlights, he said “There are several, and probably more to come, but so far I would say that the boardwalk at Omau, the section of trail from Ōkari to Virgin Flat and Section 1 are among the most compelling”.

The time spent over the last 3 years, continually working on the KCT project has allowed us the opportunity to continually improve the way we operate and what we build.
“The team are driven by the motivation to be as good as they can be. As contractors we are always judged on our most recent work” said Jim.
The KCT team find the odd natural sculpture, a log or a rock strategically or artistically placed along the trail. When asked if the Westreef team like to add their own artistic touches, the answer was “Definitely – Our team has a great sense of pride in what we do and are so privileged and grateful for the opportunity we have to work on the trail. Those little things are a small way of the team, showing how much the KCT means to them. Many of the team use the trail themselves and Jim said, “I personally make a pig of myself

and consume the trail experience whenever I can.” When asked about whether the Buller should have more trails like the KCT Jim said “For absolute sure. The Buller is a rare gem and the more trails we have in this region the better we all are for it.”

A big thankyou to the Westreef trail building team, many of who have been continually involved since trail construction began in June 2020

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