The public can soon picnic in style thanks to picnic tables built by Ara youth construction students at the new Godley Head campground, on Quail Island and on top of Mt Herbert.
Youth construction students at Ara help to load up picnic tables they built that DOC will install in popular picnic sites around Lyttelton Harbour.
A small hut built by Ara youth students will also be used at Packhorse Saddle by the warden over the summer months.
In a new agreement with The Department of Conservation (DOC), Ara tables and the hut will be located in the popular Christchurch locations, all of them around Lyttelton harbour, in what is hoped will be an ongoing project.
“Further down the line we will add tables to the Banks Peninsula and other tracks,” DOC Ranger Murray Lane said. “It is fantastic for us and for Ara; something we would have struggled to achieve without their help and the sponsors who helped supply materials.”
Students participating in the Ara Youth Guarantee Construction Programme, for 15 to 19 year olds, build tool sheds and bench seats to practice their skills. The tool sheds have been sold on Trade Me and the bench seats distributed around the campus. However tutor Nigel Jamieson saw the potential for the tool sheds to be converted into DOC huts and contacted the organisation.
DOC Operations Ranger Murray lane was not only interested in a hut, which Jamieson has called a Bio –Biv, but was also keen to make use of five bench seats too (three are going to Godley Head).
Ara industry partner Hamptons ITM offered to provide materials at cost for the Bio-Biv.
Canterbury Tertiary College (CTC) construction students have also joined the project and are working on the picnic tables while the Youth Guarantee students are aiming to complete the Bio-Biv in November. CTC is a youth pathway programme where students remain enrolled at school but also attend Ara to get a head start on their career.
“We are planning a field trip so that our students can see the picnic tables on location and feel really proud of what they have achieved,” Jamieson said.
Engaging the students on a real life project made learning very effective he said. “This is a great relationship with DOC that has a lot of potential for future projects.”
Meanwhile Lane and Jamieson discovered that they were trades students at Ara (then Christchurch Polytechnic) at around the same time.
“I was among the first students to go through the new facility in Sullivan Ave [Woolston campus]. I’m a wood turner by trade. I did my wood turning at Moorhouse Avenue [City Campus Christchurch] then moved down to Sullivan Ave for last year of my apprenticeship.
“It was funny going to Ara and meeting Nigel again. It is a very different place to 30 years ago.” Ara recently upgraded learning spaces and facilities to train more people to help with the rebuild of Christchurch.
Lane is confident of the workmanship of the tables and hut after seeing the tool sheds the students were working on.