River of Light aesthetic promoted for heart of town

Rough & Milne Landscape Architects director Brooke Mitchell presents the Christchurch firm’s...
Rough & Milne Landscape Architects director Brooke Mitchell presents the Christchurch firm’s updated Milton Streetscape design package to the Clutha District Council during its meeting in Balclutha yesterday. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
Milton could soon have a "river of light" at its heart, if draft concept plans for a new town centre plaza are finalised unchanged.

Landscape architects Rough & Milne, of Christchurch, presented its updated Milton Streetscape design package to the Clutha District Council during its meeting in Balclutha yesterday.

The package underpins a long-anticipated $2million council streetscape upgrade for Milton, which has at its centre a new "plaza" on the site of the existing Gray St public toilets.

The expanded site — which will double in size from about 500sq m to 1000sq m — will include new destination toilets costing $550,000, funding for which will come from a separate budget.

Although plans for the toilets remain pending, Rough & Milne director Brook Mitchell yesterday provided councillors with extensive details of the proposed new plaza, for which construction could begin as soon as spring, he said.

The draft design expressed a ‘‘cultural journey through time’’, drawing on elements of the area’s Maori and European history.

Core elements included a water feature; a vintage brick wall with sandblasted mural; car and bicycle parking; a nod to Milton’s ‘‘kink in the road’’; and a moving ‘‘river of light’’which would extend from the toilet block to the adjoining State Highway 1.

Car parks would be reconfigured, with ‘‘about the same’’capacity.

Planting and design would aim to ‘‘soften’’ noise from the highway, allowing the space to be enjoyed both day and night.

Mr Mitchell said neighbouring businesses’ access concerns would be addressed.

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