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Ideas Wanted For New City Park

Christchurch City Council has acquired nearly 90 hectares of land that will be created as a new park almost as big as Hagley Park. And ideas are wanted for the area.

The Council has now completed the purchase of two areas of land, one 45 hectares and the other 44ha, from the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association and will create a new park, combined with the 36ha it already owned adjoining the site.

This will give total land area of 126ha. By contrast Hagley Park covers 158ha. The chairman of the sub-committee that negotiated the sale of the land, Cr. David Close, says the area presents the city with an exciting opportunity to create another Hagley Park in an area of major urban growth.

"We are entering a new era with the A and P Association. The annual Show will continue and we hope it will grow and develop. But we now have a huge site on which to create a wonderful new park for the city," he said.

"This is a win - win for both Council, the community, and the A & P Association. The substantial developments the Association members have made on the site will be available to a wider community use now."

The Chairman of the A & P Board, Mr. Doug Marsh agrees "The Canterbury A&P Show, the region's single biggest event that attracts up to 100,000 visitors each year is now protected in perpetuity. The foresight by the Council in acquiring a portion of the land is a commendable and sensible solution that will protect a city icon for the benefit of future generations. While this has been a challenging time for the Association, members have been grateful for the advice and support that the Bank of NZ has provided, along with their recognition of the importance and value that the A&P Association has in the Canterbury region."

The City Council will now start preparing a management plan for the whole area and wants public input into how best to use the land.

Under the purchase agreement the A and P Association will retain its Saleyards and an area of 2ha around them.

A management plan for the 126ha will now start. A planner with the City Council's Parks and Waterways Unit, Chris Freeman, says the land presents the Council with an exciting project for the future.

He wants input from interested organisations that want to be associated in the park. He is keen on continuing an agriculture theme for the area and suggests, for instance, that activities associated with horses might be considered. It has already been suggested that a cemetery be included in the area.

The Council originally planned sports fields on the adjoining 36ha it owns and now planning will begin again as a better place for the sports fields might be on the land west Curletts Road.

Some expressions of interest in the land have already been put forward and some organisations have arrangements with the A and P Association that will be negotiated, Mr. Freeman said.

"We are interested in anything really at this stage. It would be nice to consider continuing the rural flavour in this park, such as horse riding, dressage, polo and such like. We are an agricultural city after all," he said.

FACTS:

* The A and P Association has a long-term lease to occupy sufficient
land for its permanent needs around the Saleyards site and a licence to
occupy for the Association to run the annual Show for one month a year.
* The Association will retain freehold ownership of 2ha Saleyards site
together with an existing lease to Canterbury Saleyards Ltd.
* A 45ha site to the east and south, developed primary for the A and P
November Show, has been bought by the City Council.
The 44ha-undeveloped site to the southwest has also been bought by the
City
Council. This includes a 28ha flood retention basin and is subjected to
restricted use. This area borders the 35ha of Council land.

Further information and submissions on possible land use: Chris Freeman: City Council Parks and Waterways: 025 226 1366 or 371 1638.

Christchurch City Council http://www.ccc.govt.nz


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