Waimate’s White Horse is getting a brighter future.

The landmark on the hill above Waimate has been water-blasted and touched up, and over the next two weeks will be repainted in a glow-in-the-dark paint, donated by Resene.

The work is part of a major redevelopment of the area, co-ordinated by Waimate2gether, which includes the construction of viewing platforms, new toilets, a car parking area, landscaping and new signs and information panels on the history of the South Canterbury town.

Waimate2gether project manager Jo Sutherland said the redevelopment would give the area more of a purpose and the White Horse a greater presence on the hill.

“It’s something that we want to build on as part of Waimate’s growth – and for the community.

“We’re trying to make it quite a feature for Waimate.”

One of the viewing platforms would be raised 1.8m, for a 360-degree view of the district.

“The stars are amazing up there, it’s a great viewing platform at night, but also during the day you’ll get a 360-degree view all the way to the mountains.”

Waimate2gether received a $421,127 Government grant for the project. The Waimate District Council also contributed $20,000 for stage one and further support had come from various groups and individuals in the community, Mrs Sutherland said.

Waimate schools played an important role, pupils creating art projects to enhance the site.

“Everything we’re doing we’re tying back to the local curriculum as well. It’s important for them to know about their land and be involved if we are developing things.

“It really is involving the whole community.”

It was an opportunity for school pupils, “the caretakers of the future”, to be involved in a slice of Waimate history.

Mrs Sutherland said it was exciting to see the project finally get under way after 18 months of planning.

“And I think the community are quite excited about it as well.”

Waimate2gether was formed as part of the Department of Internal Affairs’ community-led development programme. The White Horse redevelopment is one of several projects the group is leading.