Have your say  |  20 Dec 2021

The volunteer organisation that runs the popular miniature trains at Halswell Domain is seeking a new lease agreement so that they can extend their railway.

The Canterbury Society of Model and Experimental Engineers (CSMEE) has had a lease to operate their miniature railway at the Halswell Domain for 15 years. They have built about 1.5 kilometres of track over that time, funding all the work themselves.

Every Sunday afternoon, weather permitting, the group power-up their miniature trains and offer the public rides on the railway for a small charge.

Now, CSMEE is seeking permission from Christchurch City Council to increase the size of the area that they lease so they can add another 720 metres of track to the railway. The track extension will be close by the existing track so as to minimise its impact on other park users.

CSMEE is also seeking to formalise their use of the pond at Halswell Domain so that they can continue to run model boat competitions and events on weekend afternoons and between 10am and 2pm on Thursdays.

The public are encouraged to use and enjoy the pond outside those hours, but CSMEE take responsibility for maintaining the perimeter of the pond and controlling the weeds.

“The Canterbury Society of Model and Experimental Engineers have invested significant time and resources into developing their facilities at Halswell Domain over the years and their miniature railway is very popular with families,’’ says Council Head of Parks Andrew Rutledge.

“They now want to lease some additional land at the park so they can expand the railway and we want to hear what the public think about that.’’

In order to accommodate the additional track, about 15 square metres of vegetation (including one cabbage tree) will need to be removed from near the toilet. However, CSMEE plans to replace those plants with an additional 35 square metres of new landscaping that will enhance the area and help form a barrier between the railway track and the public pathway.

A drop-in session where people can learn more about CSMEE’s plans will be held next to the CSMEE club rooms in Halswell Domain between 4 and 5.30pm on Wednesday 19 January 2022, assuming that Christchurch is still at the Orange setting in the COVID-19 Protection Framework.  Those wishing to attend will need to show their My Vaccine Pass, scan or sign in, and wear a mask. If Christchurch moves settings, updated information about the drop-in session will be provided on the Have Your Say page.

More information about CSMEE's application can be found on the Have Your Say page.

Public submissions on CSMEE’s lease application close on 14 February 2022.