Abandoned area transformation

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A 10-year project to transform an abandoned reserve into a community space is gathering traction, with two working bees planned for Luggate’s Red Bridge Reserve next year.

Located on the banks of the Clutha River, the Red Bridge Reserve will be transformed into a community space with camping and picnic areas.

Red Bridge reserve project leader Graham Taylor said the idea was first raised in 2015.

Queenstown Lakes District Council had since allocated the $10,000 towards the project in its annual plan.

“It’s going to be a big job.

“Once this is done we’ll need a similar budget to maintain it.”

The Luggate community had been very supportive of the project so far, he said. Growth around the Luggate area meant there were people moving into the area to keep the project moving forward.

“[Members of] the community have been marvellous.

“It’s fantastic to have people in the community with talent, vision, and energy.”

He reminded people that the reserve was not yet open. Trail bikes had been sighted in an historic area, he said.

“There’s plenty of scope for all sorts of things here if we can get people to use it responsibly.

Removing wilding pines was the first step, he said.

Plans included planting both native and introduced species, installing showers and toilets, and creating information boards about the history of the area.

The committee had consulted Heritage New Zealand. The Clutha River punt site and historic road in the reserve would be protected, he said.

“That’s going to be a great picnic area.

“We’ve just got to keep on quietly felling trees and tidying up.”

Working bee days next year would involve taking out weeds and small trees along with general tidying up, he said.

“There is potential here to create quite an interesting spot.

“It also offers a lot of opportunities for recreational users.

“It’s starting to fall into shape.”