|Our Environment: Issue 25 Summer 2000|
Both exotic and native plants have essential roles and functions in the greening of Christchurch, according to a draft strategy for City-wide planting. Planting in public spaces should reflect the wide spectrum of planting types and environments in the City, it says.
Variations in planting have evolved primarily from the soils and original vegetation cover, changes imposed by European settlers and the establishment of Christchurch City since 1850, and recognition of the importance of enhancing indigenous biodiversity. "It is important that this range of planting types and functions is maintained to provide both balance and diversity," says strategy author Liz Briggs, Senior planner, Conservation.
Main aims of the strategy are
The strategy includes a set of policies and a process that form a framework for planting design on public land throughout the City.
This process involves a detailed analysis of the site, followed by the function of the planting, the form or type of planting, a planting plan and, finally, choice of plants.
The exotics versus native debate attracts strong advocates on both sides. Liz Briggs says she seeks to reconcile different viewpoints and priorities by proposing that, generally, function should dictate form. This approach provides for varied types of planting, from primarily "amenity" planting in the City Centre, to planting that will promote biodiversity in conservation areas along the coast and on the Port Hills.
A strategy is needed to underpin rational planning and decision making. "The Council currently invests significant resources in planting, establishment and management, without any overall co- ordination," she says. "A strategy will allow differing (and occasionally conflicting) viewpoints and priorities to be reconciled in a public document identifying Council objectives for City-wide planting."
The draft planting strategy will be available for public comment next year after feedback from staff and politicians has been considered.
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