By SHELLEY TOPP
The wetland stormwater drainage reserve next to a key entry point to Rangiora will be developed into a community space.
The Keep Rangiora Beautiful project was given a funding boost last Friday to complete stage one of the initiative, with a generous donation from a Rangiora benefactor who does not want to be named.
The Waimakariri District Council-owned land, which includes a large pond surrounded by native flaxes on the corner of Flaxton and Fernside Roads, is managed by the council’s stormwater team.
Community group Keep Rangiora Beautiful, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, has been working with council staff for two years to enhance the site, planting to a design by Fernside landscape architect Grant Edge, who is a Keep Rangiora Beautiful member.
“With the generosity of a local benefactor who is helping to fund this stage-one planting, the group will continue to work with council staff to secure improvements for access and possibly some seating areas,” Grant says.
“It is a simple plan with just a few tree species that aim to provide some vertical scale to the existing low-level riparian planting around the pond.”
Planting will begin later this year in late winter or early spring.
Seventy nine native trees, including totara, kahikatea, ribbonwood and lacebarks, will be planted in the reserve, with 21 pin oaks proposed for the edges next to Fernside and Flaxton roads.
The group’s vision is to eventually provide for drifts of pin oaks from Threlkelds Rd along Flaxton Rd to Lineside Rd.
“This will provide a dramatic treed entry into Rangiora,” Grant says.
“The group is hoping that council will look favourably on introducing more trees and riparian planting in association with the Flaxton Rd upgrade.
“It has also requested that council extend the pedestrian/cycleway treatments planned for that project, to extend down to the pond to improve safety and access.
“This will provide another unique recreational opportunity for the public and especially for people working nearby,” he says.
It is also hoped that the new community space will eventually include a walkway/cycleway around the pond, with drawings of the plants and animal life in the reserve encased in purpose-built display stands around the pathway.
The public entrance to the new community space will be from Kingsford Smith Drive.
The reserve is across the road from the new retail and hospitality development on the opposite corner of Flaxton and Fernside roads, which will include a classic car museum, conference centre, cafe and hotel accommodation.