James Page, team leader parks and forests for Environment Canterbury, Selwyn mayor Sam Broughton, and Environment Canterbury regional park ranger Greg Stanley officially open The Willows

The Willows now officially open

by Mike Isle

Selwyn mayor Sam Broughton wants to see people using The Willows for many years to come.

The park was officially opened on Saturday, and Broughton spoke about the importance of having such a space in the Selwyn region.

“May this place be somewhere that is enjoyed for generations to come by people young and old, human and animal too,” Broughton said.

The park was developed by Environment Canterbury with support from Selwyn District Council, while the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association was also one of the key partners.

It’s really cool to come to a project where it’s not just about one group of people doing something for the members of that one group.”

James Page, team leader parks and forests for Environment Canterbury, echoed Broughton’s thoughts.

“This park is a good example, and a case study really, of what can be achieved if multiple agencies work together with the private sector, as well,” Page said.

Despite the overcast weather, more than 100 people attended the opening, which featured a handful of speeches before Broughton cut a ribbon and declared the park officially opened.

Members of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association attended with their motorhomes and caravans, while other guests traversed the walking and cycling trail. There was also a biodiversity walk hosted by Environment Canterbury regional park ranger Greg Stanley.

Selwyn District councillors Nicole Reid and Mark Alexander attended the opening as well as Environment Canterbury councillor Tom Lambie.

The Willows, located at the end of Thompsons Road, off Old West Coast Road in West Melton, has been developed for non-motorised recreation activities.

Aside from the dedicated walking and cycling trail, there’s a range of great fishing spots and picnic facilities.

More than 1,000 trees were planted as part of the development of the area to aid the park’s biodiversity. `