Public airing for heritage concept

Set to brainstorm . . . Strath Taieri Heritage Park concept development team members Jacquie Lucas and Richard Emerson are inviting everyone to a public meeting on Monday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A concept has been launched in a bid to get more people to visit Strath Taieri and to save a train service.

Strath Taieri Heritage Park concept development team member Jacquie Lucas, of Sutton, said she and Richard Emerson, of Middlemarch, “seeded” an idea for a heritage park at a meeting late last month.

The public meeting was on Dunedin Railways’ proposal to suspend the running of trains to Middlemarch.

At the meeting Ms Lucas spoke about transforming the Strath Taieri valley into a heritage park, where visitors could do a range of activities.

The aim of the park was to make Middlemarch and the Strath Taieri area “more of a destination” to increase demand for the train service to Middlemarch and keep it running.

The park would be “an ode to New Zealand farming and its classic heritage”.

“We will see what we can develop in order to make a better destination for tourists and New Zealanders.”

Other attractions would focus on the natural resources and historic places in the area and celebrate the railway history in the valley, including the work of railway preservation society Project Steam.

A public “brainstorming meeting” to collect ideas for attractions in the park will be held at Tap & Dough Bistro in Middlemarch from 7pm on Monday.

The meeting was designed to get the community involved, get their ideas and help build a timeline for the project, Ms Lucas said.

Dunedin City Council city marketing manager Malcolm Anderson would speak at the meeting, she said.