Half Mile reserve redevelopment to begin early June
The Central Otago District Council will soon begin carrying out the first stage of redeveloping the Half Mile Recreation Reserve near Alexandra.
This will begin in the first week of June with the removal of wilding conifers, which is anticipated to take two weeks, but this timeframe is dependent on weather. During this time, the entire reserve will be closed to the public.
The public had been on quite a journey with this project, Vincent Community Board (VCB) Chair Tamah Alley said.
“I want to acknowledge the community interest in this project, and the passion shared by many on both sides of the argument. While we might not all agree on the approach, what we can agree on, is Council has a responsibility to manage pests on its own land and not leave the burden to future generations.
“VCB members have been working closely with Council staff to ensure the long-term outcome for the community is a positive one and I look forward to reviewing the proposed redevelopment plan.”
In March 2023, the Vincent Community Board agreed the redevelopment of the Half Mile Reserve should take place. The proposed landscape plan will be presented to community board members for consideration next Tuesday (2 May), which includes options for special projects and community gardens, retaining the informal trails, native plantings and the use of exotics as a wind break while a native shelter belt is establishing.
“The site will be cleared of all wilding conifers. Every effort will be made to ensure natives and non-wilding trees that have been planted on the reserve over the years are retained,” Central Otago District Council Group Manager of Community Experience David Scoones, said.
“The team have worked closely with key stakeholders such as the Department of Conservation, Waka Kotahi and Aurora. Despite lines going through the site, contractors have confirmed there will be no planned disruption to power supply. There will be traffic management in place around the site during the felling work.”
Council had worked closely with DOC, and the Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group to ensure the unique lizard habitats were cared for during work on the site through a lizard management plan, he said.
The felled logs will be sold to offset the project costs. All remaining slash and debris will be chipped on site and then removed, leaving the site as tidy as possible.
Wilding conifers are classified as a pest plant due to their propensity for uncontrolled spread. Over the past decade their negative impact on biodiversity and natural landscapes have become well understood, and the increased risk for causing wildfires. The Half Mile Recreation Reserve was identified as a key seed take-off site in Alexandra and a priority to limit the future spread of wilding conifers.
CODC Lets Talk: Let’s Talk Central Otago (codc.govt.nz)
DOC website: Wilding conifers: Weeds (doc.govt.nz)
Central Otago Wilding Conifer Control Group: Central Otago Wilding Group (centralwildingconifers.co.nz)