- In 2017 Council engaged Boffa Miskell to work with Council and the Tirau Community Board to develop a design landscape plan. The draft landscape concept plan was presented to the Tirau community in 2018 with 73% of submitters being in favour of the Plan. With approved Council 2018-28 LTP Capex funding the development of the Reserve commenced with initial focus being around developing safer pedestrian access into the lower Domain area from the town centre, planning for connecting the lower and upper areas, planting projects and installing facilities to activate the space and encourage use of the Reserve.
In 2014 the Tirau community was asked to identify projects in the community that required an upgrade. The Tirau community has limited open reserve areas and the project is vital as it provides much needed leisure space for a range of outdoor activities. The project addresses a number of barriers to people participating in physical activity, including access, cost, location.
Over the years main use was sport-based (rugby, equestrian), but access from SH1 was difficult. With the redesign of the State Highway and construction of the SH1/SH5 roundabout opportunity was provided for safer acess to the Reserve. With the main entrance located off SH1 pedestrian/cycling access in particular to the Reserve from the town centre was one such barrier. Access from Bridge Street was enhanced with the extension of the public footpath and, working with consent from Kiwirail, a ramp with an associated walkway was constructed to provide access from over the railway line through the former Landfill site into the Lower Domain area in 2019. Separation of the Reserve due to the Oraka River was another barrier, leading to planning for a connecting bridge to provide full pedestrian/cycling access to the Reserve. Topograpy was another issue in certain places leading down to the bridge location which was addressed by grading works to produce slopes more suitable for accessibility for our disabled community.
- In the past twelve months the project has progressed with the construction of a suspension bridge to link the upper and lower areas of the Reserve, a walkway being constructed that links the two walkways with a suspension bridge, construction of sealed large carpark and installation of a toilet block, shelter, litter bins, directional signage, barbeque, drinking fountain, wheelchair accessible picnic tables and fencing provides a family friendly environment. In addition, construction of a pump track has allowed for specific participation for cycling and scootering and skateboarding enthusiasts, the multi-use space allows for inclusivity and spontaneous play. The walkway is free to access, and four legged friends (dogs) are allowed leashed on the Upper Domain area with a dog exercise area provided in the Lower Domain area.
- In a survey completed in 2023, the top three locations where South Waikato residents liked to be physically active included walkways and footpaths, rivers, and parks and reserves. Community feedback has been very favourable towards the project with several individuals referring to the “Awesome” Domain upgrades in Tirau in the same survey. Planting opportunities within the reserve by both the community and the Domain Action Group has also enhanced the Reserve, including the planting of a 100 Kauri tree grove, and over 300 native trees along the river and specimen native trees.
- In June 2022 there were an estimated 944 estimated visits to the Domain. For June 2023 there were 1,958 estimated visits (Movement Data Sports Eye).
- Outstanding Active Space Initiative