Consent has been granted to relocate the Boer War cenotaph from Baring Square East to Baring Square West.
The $2.45 million contract to redevelop Baring Square East has been awarded to Tru-Line Civil, the same contractor who worked on the revitalisation of Ashburton’s CBD.
The square redevelopment involves creating a new one-way road with angle parking in front of the new library and civic building Te Pātaka o kā Tuhituhi and Te Waharoa a Hine Paaka, and a major replant and renovation of the square itself.
It also includes the cenotaph, unveiled in 1903 listing the six local men who lost their lives in the South African War of 1900 to 1902, being moved from Baring Square East.
The cenotaph was previously moved in 1978, as part of a redesign of the square to mark the centenary of the Borough Council.
The council plans to relocate the Boer War memorial to Baring Square West, where it will sit with Ashburton’s other war memorials, and was granted a resource consent to do so in December.
The original plans had the war memorial remaining in place, but it was later determined its location could compromise the civic plaza area, where public events and general gatherings are proposed, and that there was a risk that the cenotaph could be damaged as a result of increased public use of the area.
Chief executive Hamish Riach previously said, “the new location will be different, but no less appropriate as Baring Square West is the home of other war memorials”.
The council had discussed the proposed move with the Ashburton RSA and the New Zealand Defence Force to ensure a sensitive relocation, and they were comfortable with the project, he said.
Council infrastructure and open spaces group manager, Neil McCann, said relocating the war memorial will be undertaken by specialists and “included the advice of heritage experts in the moving plan that has been approved”.
McCann said the Baring Square East upgrade would breathe new life into the area, while retaining some original features of the space, like the whale bones, water feature, and the town’s iconic clock.
The statue of founding father John Grigg, unveiled in 1905, and the Frontiersman Memorial will also remain in place.
“The work is designed to complement what has already been accomplished in the CBD, and it will include a paved plaza entrance to the new civic building, Te Pātaka o kā Tuhituhi and Te Waharoa a Hine Paaka.
“We see the redeveloped area as being a pleasant spot where people can meet or take their lunch breaks, and it will be ideal for big and small events, with some street furniture able to be moved.”
The work is expected to get under way soon, he said.
The civic centre is expected to be completed later this year.
- By Jonathan Leask