Land bought for heritage orchard

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The Mataura and Districts Historical Society had a windfall of $18,550 from the Coster Fund, enabling it to buy land next to the upgraded museum.

The grant has also enabled the society to engage an arborist to help establish a heritage orchard.

Gore District Council heritage projects officer David Luoni said late last year the society bought 66 Kana St which was the section next to the museum, from an out-of-town landowner.

“After weighing up all the options, we felt the best way forward was to clear the section and create a park-like setting with heritage fruit trees out the back and a small garden with a seat fronting on to Kana St,” Mr Luoni said.

“The volunteers felt this was the most ‘doable’ option and that it also represented the best value,” he said.

The grant from the Coster Fund enabled the society to buy the section, he said.

“The grant will also allow us to engage an arborist to establish the fruit trees.”

The arborist appointed to work on the project was Marty McKelvie, who grew up in Mataura. His first job was to help save the large old apple tree on the property.

The Coster Fund had been a key partner in the museum redevelopment right from the outset of the project, Mr Luoni said. “We couldn’t have realised it without the committee’s support.

“Our overarching goal for the section is to convert a neglected space into a community asset.”

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks, deputy mayor Cliff Bolger, chief executive Steve Parry, Mataura ward member Neville Phillips, board representative Geoff Colvin, and community representatives Linda Sinclair and Alister McLennan comprise the Coster Fund distribution subcommittee.