|Our Environment: Issue 19 Winter 1999|
Interest And Safety Key Elements Of Canterbury Highway 2000 Project
Motorists driving along State Highway One in Canterbury will be able to enjoy permanent reminders of the millennium from next year, thanks to the Canterbury Highway 2000 project.
Canterbury Highway 2000 is a series of visual enhancement projects along selected stretches of the Highway, from Kaikoura District in the north to Waimate District in the south. The aim is to make the journey along the province's main artery more interesting, more beautiful and safer. Preliminary construction work will begin in summer, with planting scheduled to commence in April 2000.
The selected sites for each District are: Kaikoura - South Bay and the Golf Course; Hurunui - Amberley to Kowai River; Waimakariri - Saltwater Creek to Ashley River Bridge; Christchurch - Belfast, Memorial Ave roundabout, Templeton; Selwyn - Dunsandel; Ashburton - Ealing; Timaru - Seadown to Washdyke; Waimate - Glenavy to Makikihi.
Between 20 and 30 possible sites were identified in each district before councils settled on the present selection. Selection criteria included the opportunity for a large-scale enhancement project and level of interest from nearby landowners and communities.
Funded by the local authorities participating in the project, The Community Trust and commercial sponsorship, the $1.1 million project will see a variety of scenic enhancement projects developed over several years, highlighting the particular landscape and cultural features of each location. Each of the main projects is estimated to cost $90,000 to $120,000 to plan, implement and maintain over the next two years.
Project co-ordinator Grant Edge from Edge Landscape Projects says a common thread, such as the use of certain key plant species or their layout, will run through all eight locations, readily identifying them as part of Canterbury Highway 2000.
Plants used will depend upon the various site requirements.
Landscape architects have been appointed, and concept plans are being developed as a basis for consultation. They will also be used to help secure funding from commercial sponsors.
While the project's name implies enhancement will be confined to the highway corridor, Grant Edge says designers have been given freedom to develop ideas for planting on adjacent private land, in order to maximise the impact of a particular site. "We want people to look beyond the highway to appreciate our more distant landscapes as well."
Response from landowners approached has been extremely positive, he says. It is likely that local community groups and the public will be invited to participate in the construction and planting of each site. "It gives people in each area a sense of ownership of the projects. This approach will also hopefully reduce the cost by encouraging donations of materials and time," says Grant Edge.
The implementation process will occur in incremental bites to allow smaller local authorities, which have limited funds available for such projects, to more easily afford their contribution.
Planning for the Canterbury Highway 2000 began in 1996. It is one of a range of projects being administered by Turning Point 2000 Limited, initiated by the Christchurch City Council to co-ordinate millennium celebrations and Canterbury's 150th anniversary. The Canterbury Highway 2000 Advisory Group is chaired by Sir Miles Warren, with technical assistance from the technical management team chaired by John Dryden, manager of the Council's Environmental Policy and Planning Unit. The project is being implemented by representatives of the local authorities involved.
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