Land use change brings Cardrona reserve vision a step closer

by Lauren Pattemore - Dec 14, 2023

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is redesignating a two-hectare site neighbouring Cardrona Valley Road to become a community reserve, a change being welcomed by a group of locals with a vision for how the space could be used. 

Formerly a council wastewater site, the green patch has sat empty and unused for more than a decade. During that time, the Cardrona Valley Residents and Ratepayers Society has been working to convince the council to turn it into a community reserve.

Chairperson Blyth Adams says the latest move by the council is a positive outcome for a community that wants to plan for its future.

"We're aware that council processes take time, and that plans will evolve. Redesignating this land as a reserve is a crucial milestone that starts us on our journey, and we look forward to working with council planners", Mr Adams says.

A spokesperson for the QLDC says the council is working to convert the current freehold status of the former Cardrona wastewater site into recreation reserve, as part of its Blue Green Network Plan.

"This will ultimately protect and secure the land for public use so it can be enjoyed by the local community into the future."

This important initial step will take some time, the spokesperson says, but once achieved, the council will be in a better position to discuss future plans and improvements for the reserve with members of the society and the wider community.

The spokesperson outlines that remediation of the site will need to be addressed prior to any public use.

"There has been no significant work on this aspect to date, and no resource consent has yet been lodged, but we look forward to continuing the discussion with Cardrona locals."

The spokesperson says the council has been in ongoing dialogue about the matter with the society. 

The key amenities in the society's proposal for this site are a public car park with electric vehicle chargers, a bus stop, and public toilets.

They've also flagged spaces for a bike pump track, a tennis court and a football field, as well as native plantings. 

Mr Adams says the catalyst for the QLDC's change of heart was its new Blue-Green Networks initiative, which aims to establish public spaces at regular distances throughout residential areas.

A community-generated plan for public spaces in the Cardrona Valley (Image: Supplied/CVRRS).

Mr Adams says the village does not have a public car park or a place for the school bus to safely pick up and drop off children, and there are also limited spots to pull off the road.

"As the community grows, this will only get worse," Mr Adams says.

Cardrona is set to grow by 400 households over the next 10 years as the Mount Cardrona Station development rolls out.

Accepting growth as inevitable and taking ownership of their town, Cardrona residents have been busy deciding what initiatives and infrastructure they'd like to see developed in their area, and recently shared with Crux this complete proposal.

The re-zoned community reserve is one of several imagined projects; there's also an outdoor amphitheatre, a traffic management plan and new pathways, plus a bike track to Queenstown.  

Mr Adams says over the last few months the community has had a series of workshops to set priorities and define community projects.

"On some occasions, more than half of our resident population turned up to contribute."

Main image: Chairperson Blyth Adams (right) with former chair Tim Allan standing on the two hectare site.

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