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Our Environment: Issue Issue 10 - Summer 1997:

Our Environment: Christchurch City Council's Environmental Newsletter


"Getting closer to nature than is normally possible for people with disabilities is a high priority for the Port Hills rangers," says head ranger Paul Devlin. "That is why the team up here have developed an accessible track through Victoria Park so that they can enjoy the natural and visual beauties of the Park."

Stage one of the track leads people through a mix of exotic and native plantings and on through to the Port Hills Visitor Centre, where they can utilize both indoor and outdoor facilities. The track will have interpretative material about the landscape. Decking surrounds a stand of large Douglas Fir trees which enables visitors to get up close to the trees, something people in wheelchairs are often not able to do without some effort.

Stage two of the track will be slightly different in that it features a vairety of gradients, some of which will provide a challenge for people in wheelchairs. Several kilometres of track through native bush will give visitors an opportunity to really become immersed among the native flora and fauna typical of the Port Hills. Once again along the track display panels with sizeable laybys will provide opportunities to learn and to have a rest!

The whole track has been developed in close consultation with the Disabled Persons Assembly to ensure that it will be accessible to all people. The finished tracks will provide experiences to accommodate abilities ranging from electric chair users to those seeking the opportunity to test their fitness.

Stage one will be complete at the end of January and stage two is expected to be opened next summer.

Paul Devlin
Head Ranger, Port Hills
Ph: 332-9889

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