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Peaceful place . . . Kuri Creek Project members Toby Judge and Alison MacTavish survey the area they hope to plant in native trees and shrubs. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

The Hampden community is getting behind a project to turn the land at Kuri Creek into an ecological sanctuary.

Waihemo resident Alison MacTavish has initiated the Kuri Creek Project and plans to plant 8ha of council-owned land on either side of Carlisle St in native shrubs and trees.

Apart from an attempt to plant manuka in 2014, the land has not been touched since a pine plantation was milled in 2011.

Mrs MacTavish’s goal is to create a recreational area and a corridor for native birds along the North Otago coast.

“It’s just a wasted space at the moment that could become a real asset to the community,” she said.

“You can already feel what a peaceful, lovely place it is.”

About 12 locals with horticultural experience had pledged support for the project, Mrs MacTavish said.

“At the moment, it’s just an idea we are trying to get traction for.

“The hardest part is always to make a start, and then each year plant as many trees as we can.”

The project had been presented to the Waihemo Community Board, and the next step was to apply for funding, Mrs MacTavish said.

The group hoped to start midway through next year by clearing overgrowth by Kuri Creek, opposite the Moeraki Boulders Kiwi Holiday Park.

“Once the community engages, I think there will be other people that come along – it’s such a pleasant place to work.

“[Depending on] the money, enthusiasm and people power, the project will find its own size.”