The Lyttelton Times. SATURDAY, JANUARY 3, 1863.
Within and around the chief town of this province several open spaces have been reserved for the recreation of its citizens arid far. other public purposes. But little has been done to make these grounds available for the adornment of the town. JNTobody but an inveterate perpetrator of " constitutionals" could be induced to take a walk in Hagley Park in its present state; and as for the town belt or boulevard, our zealous police would probably arrest any one strolling: there on suspicion that he meditated suicide in that cheerful waste. And yet a little outlay now would make both park and town belt favorite resorts a few years heiice. The small patch of. planting by the river under the Government Buildings and the garden in Cathedral Square show what can be done in a very short time. These two plantations were first enclosed in 1859, and already they have given quite another aspect to the town. Before 1859 the Government
could not afford such luxuries as plantations, and many invaluable seasons were therefore; lost. This year a plantation was fenced in and trees were stuck into holes along the side of the road near the entrance to Hagley Park from the town; hut as the ground was not trenched or even ploughed up this plantation will be a comparative failure. No planting has ever succeeded well in this province unless the ground was first trenched. It woidd have been better to have done onetenth of the work well, than to have made such a wretched pretence of planting Besides the wages of the two gardeners employed by the Government, a sum of £500 has been voted for planting public grounds within the current nine months. "We would suggest that a portion of this sum should be at once expended in saving the abortive plantationin Hagley Park, by trenching or, otherwise breaking the ground and by replacing the young trees that have already failed. If the avenue were carried on past the cricket ground to the end of the park, there would be more immediate comfort gained by the expenditure than perhaps by any other planting in the neighbourhood of the town, as there would then be a continuous avenue of trees the whole length of the most frequented route through Hagley Park. As it is the planting along this road is cut short. in the most abrupt and apparently unreasonable manner. We believe that in the public garden \n the park, under the charge of the Government Gardener, a large supply of forest trees are reared, and that there will be soon far more than there is any prospect "of seeing transplanted in the public grounds. It would be well to, call in the co-operation of individuals to aid the Government in disposing to the greatest advantage of the trees thus jreared. This might be done with great effect in the case of the town belt. All round the town, except on the side occupied by Hagley Park, a reserve, two chains wide, has been made, with a view to a future boulevard. Considering all the, claims on. the public purse, and the large field afforded by Hagley ( Park for the expenditure of any; funds specially devoted from time to time to
plantations, the prospect of a boulevard is very feint, unless the co-operation of neighbouring landowners is secured. Is it not possible that this co-riperatiori might be obtained by giving them a temporary privilege which could not interfere with the convenience of any.of the .public, and which would very much conduce to the pleasure of the greater nufiiber ? "We propose that a roadway, one chain wide, be reserved for present pur- • poses along the centre of the town belt leaving half-a-chain at each side of it to be temporarily enclosed. Any landowner who is willing to undertake the task might s be allowed to enclose that portion of the reserved half-cKain which fronts his property, getting a lease of the enclosure for a term of years, under certain died conditions; that the fence should be of a specified "nature; that the land should be properly prepared for planting ; and that such trees as are given from the public garden should be planted' in two or more rows, as directed. Many people would be glad to avail themselves of such a means of adding for the present a pleasant garden to the front of, their land, and of securing a planted walk, instead pf a dusty road, to look out upon by the time their lease was out. Indeed, if the example were once set, we can scarcely conceive that any one would refuse the offered boon. As to the public, even before the leases are out, it will be far pleasanter to have'plafited gardens flanking the footpaths on each side of the roadway than to look for years to come on a belt of rough and often swampy .waste. There is no use in waiting for ever for what may turn up, or in expecting that the Municipal Council will have funds tq sppnd .on, planting before they have drained and watered the city. Before attention could be given to planting the town belt out of Municipal funds, a fine avenue of young trees might be already handed over to the, authorities in full vigor. We venture to offer this suggestion to the Municipal Council of Christchurch, and to hope that they will take it into their consideration.
Pew people appear to know on what terms the park has been let to private individuals, or under-.what conditions the leases have been granted. It is important to know what improvements are to be made and what funds are to arise from the temporary alienation of this valuable pasturage ground. Such funds ought to be appropriated strictly to the planting of the park and to the formation of pleasant walks through it. "We must return to this subject again while the 1 hot summer weather leads townsmen and countrymen to long for green shady walks and rides, with qjiiet sheltered; seats for the weary and infirm.
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