Plans for the planting and redevelopment of the Alexandra Half Mile Reserve are progressing.
In June, about 14ha of conifers were controversially felled at the Central Otago District Councilowned reserve after they were determined to be a seed source for wilding pines in the area.
The felling came after months of contention, prompting vigorous debate from both sides of the issue.
Supporters were eager to stop the spread of wilding pines, while opponents were upset about losing a shaded reserve and raised concerns about the slash and debris remaining onsite after work was completed and the reserve reopened to the public.
CODC maintained the reserve would be redeveloped with new plantings.
The next step to redevelop the reserve has started, with the council reaching a memorandum of understanding with Haehaeata Natural Heritage Trust.
The partnership will see replanting of the reserve handed to Haehaeata — a volunteer organisation which does restorative planting and has a native plant nursery — to source, propagate, and plant throughout a five-year period.
The trust will use the locallysourced plants for the redevelopment of the Half Mile site.
The planting plan is based on the council’s original planting proposal, the location of plants determined on preferred growing conditions.
That may result in the final location and mix of plants varying from the original plan.
The council will assume maintenance of the reserve plantings three years after any section has been completed.
CODC community experience group manager David Scoones said he looked forward to the seeing the partnership ‘‘flourish’’.
‘‘Originally, council had budgeted (assuming it would have to be a commercial arrangement) for about 4000 plantings in total on this reserve.
‘‘However, working with Haehaeata, we will be planting this number in the first year and about the same every year after that for five years.
‘‘Each year we will review our progress together and depending on how we are tracking, the number of plantings could increase again.’’
The trust said in a statement it was excited about reintroducing local native plant species to such a publicly accessible area.
‘‘It is a fantastic opportunity for the community to learn more about our unique flora and experience the year round interest our plants can bring to the landscape along with the biodiversity benefits.
‘‘It is a project that will take years to reach its full potential and we hope that the community will actively share this journey with us.’’