By Maia Hart
Marlborough District Council is proposing to turn the former Taylor Pass landfill site into a new "rustic, rugged" park for the community at a cost of $1 million.
The site is also proposed as a new dog park space.
A report prepared for the Marlborough District Council assets and services committee said the landfill was closed in the late 1990s and was leased for about 10 years to a construction company.
The company used it specifically for disposal of dry materials, including construction rubble and soil onto the site. A 1m-deep soil cap was placed on the site to meet resource consent conditions, the report said.
"More recently soil mounding for potential recreational development has been undertaken on the site with soil introduced from various developments in Blenheim," the report said.
In presenting the report to the assets and services committee on Thursday, Marlborough District Council parks and open spaces manager Jane Tito said the proposal was a "pretty exciting project" and they did not want the area's legacy to hold as the "former landfill".
"We want to turn it into something quite nice," she said.
She said the land was quite "unpolished" at present, and there was lots of work needing to be done, at a cost of $250,000 per year over four years.
Funding was broken down to $130,000 for soil testing, $250,000 for water trenching and ground shaping, $200,000 for plantings, $2000 for tracks and trails, $90,000 for signage and $130,000 to "furnish" the area.
The funding would come from the council's land subdivision account, provided by levies charged to developers for reserves and community facilities as part of the subdivision creation process.
She said they wanted to create a "rugged, rustic" park, with tracks, trails, and new plantings throughout, it would be utilised by walkers, bikers as well as for events and festivals.
"Something quite unique in Marlborough will be created," she said.
"It's completely different to what we have now. The maintenance would be fairly low."
The report said there has been a forming of the mounds and bunds to support some tree and low growth vegetation plantings and development of the site, but there would need to be specific plant species selection so the soil cap was not impacted.
Councillor Gerald Hope said he would like reassurance that areas such as the Taylor Dam and the rifle range at the base of the Wither Hills were not neglected in the process of developing the new area.
"Why I emphasise that, is because if you look at it from the public point of view, there appears to be an awful lot of open spaces in Marlborough," Hope said.
Councillor Jenny Andrews said the project was a "great way to start the new year" and asked if work could be done with local schools to foster the plantings.
Councillor Jamie Arbuckle agreed, saying it was exciting to think about that the project was going ahead.
"I think entering council ... this land was discussed as recreation, a decade later we're finally seeing that come through.
"It's a great area. As a Blenheim ward councillor, I think this is something to get really excited about."
He said the proposed dog park would also give residents more of a reason to visit the area.
Marlborough Mayor John Leggett reiterated that this was a project that had been in the pipeline for years, and was not a "rates-driven" project, given it was coming from the council's land subdivision account.
The project was forwarded to full council for consideration.
Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air