With the advent of the Upper Clutha Development project, Cromwell was chosen to be the administrative centre for the construction of five hydro-power dams within a 35km radius of the borough. The largest structure under the hydro scheme was the million cubic metre concrete dam at Clyde. It was finally 'officially opened' on April 23rd 1994 and has a 432 megawatts capacity, which can be extended later to 610 megawatts. Lake Dunstan formed by the dam is 26.5 square kilometres. The estimated final cost of the hydro project was $1.4 billion.
A new suburb of 450 houses was developed to house project workers and the former business centre was relocated adjacent to the State highway in a sparkling new mall. A large industrial estate was developed and now supports a number of service industries. Education and sporting interests were catered for with the development of new schools, Anderson Park and the Cromwell Swim Centre.
Old Cromwell Town is a reconstruction of representative buildings from the original town. This development is located in Melmore Terrace and is open to the public. The town contains a number of historical buildings as well.
With the completion of Clyde Dam, filling of Lake Dunstan, and placement of further hydrodevelopment on hold, the population of Cromwell reduced quickly. However, with the purchase of hydro houses as holiday homes and resurgence in the building of new homes, the population is expanding with over 3,500 residents currently. The future for Cromwell is in farming, horticulture (orcharding and vineyards), and tourism. Cromwell is known as the 'Fruit Bowl' of the south, and Lake Dunstan has already increased the extensive range of recreational pursuits.
The Cromwell Expansion Programme
In 1975 Cromwell was selected to be the accommodation base for future hydroelectric development works of the Clutha and Kawarau Rivers. The developers, the Ministry of Works and Development (MWD), had had an extremely varied history of developing hydro villages over the years. For example, Waitaki and Roxburgh were known for rows of small huts, while a refitted passenger ship was used for single accommodation during the Manapouri project. On the other hand, Twizel was originally developed as a temporary town, to be removed at the completion of hydro construction.
The largest structure under the hydro scheme was the million cubic metre concrete dam at Clyde. It was finally 'officially opened' on April 23rd 1994 and has a 432 megawatts capacity, which can be extended later to 610 megawatts. Lake Dunstan formed by the dam is 26.5 square kilometres. The estimated final cost of the hydro project was $1.4 billion.
The decision was made to use Cromwell as the base for all five power developments by expanding the existing town to accommodate the hydro work-force. While at one time the peak population of Cromwell was expected to exceed 6,000, the scope and timing of the development plans have changed in response to power planning. Commissioning dates for Clyde, Luggate and Queensberry had been put back and in 1985 the Government announced its intention to protect the Kawarau River. The population of Cromwell consequently did not reached original estimates, but has risen from 1,000 in 1976, to 3,600 in 1986 (the height of work on Clyde Dam), back to 2,600 in 1996 (following completion of hydro works), and is now just over 3,500 (2004).
The expansion of the town involved construction of a much expanded housing area, upgrading and extending of existing facilities and careful consideration of the environmental, social, physical and economic impacts of rapidly developing a small rural town. A balance had to be achieved between local community interests and national power planning requirements; adverse environmental/socioeconomic effects and development opportunities offered by the project; and the town permanency versus the more limited duration of hydro construction work.
The special emphasis placed on matters such as housing quality, building design and landscape development not only enhanced the quality of life for incoming residents, but was recognition of the Crown's acceptance of the scale and impact of its development and its integration into the expanded town of Cromwell. In 1974 a start was made on the planned expansion of Cromwell by the formation of a Joint Planning Committee. This committee consisted of representatives from the MWD, Vincent County Council and Cromwell Borough Council (CBC). The report of the committee in January 1975 established a set of guidelines for planning, together with a structure plan showing the suggested broad layout of the town.
Expansion of the town began in 1976 when the population was a relatively static 1,000. Now, some 29 years after the expenditure of some $80 million, several changes of central and local governments, various committees, technical teams, liaison committees, district scheme hearings and planning tribunal appeals, the town stands as a testament to all those involved with the programme.
Cromwell's original layout dated back to 1863 and followed the traditional grid pattern with the commercial centre sited close to the junction of the Kawarau and Clutha Rivers. As a result of the expansion of the town brought about by the Clutha Valley Development, Cromwell now features as an integrated development.
- Two neighbourhoods, each centred on a primary school. Neighbourhood One is identified as the original town and Neighbourhood Two is the newly developed area. Neighbourhood Two has been constructed on the western extremity of the original town.
- A 'town centre' to bring Cromwell people together for shopping, civic, cultural, recreation and entertainment activities.
- A relocated Cromwell College to a position between the two neighbourhoods. This reinforces the growing trend for community use of school facilities and enables the college to play a dual role with the town centre as a focus for community life in the town.
The siting of Neighbourhood Two on undeveloped land enabled the installation of trunk services before subdivision and building construction. Engineering design was carried out in co-operation with other disciplines such as architecture, town planning, landscape architecture and surveying. The advantage of installing the trunk services first avoided the 'threading' effect of putting large trunk services through existing reticulation.
Water Supply, Storage and Reticulation
Up until 1975, Cromwell's town water was supplied by two high country water races and two bores in the Clutha River bed. The water was untreated and stored in two uncovered reservoirs. Upgrading required an extensive short-term borefield supply; reservoir and reticulation systems.
Pumping from sources beneath the Clutha River enabled utilisation of high quality water which did not require treatment. This enabled annual savings of up to 25 percent to be made. A borefield within the Clutha River bed was established as an interim measure before the filling of Lake Dunstan. Submersible bore pumps were installed to pump against a 140m head some three kilometres to the reservoirs. A pump control building was located above the borefield containing electronic metering and alarm circuitry.
Reservoirs were constructed on a terrace to the west of the town. Apart from construction and hydraulic economics, siting took into account the requirements for minimal landscape treatment consistent with the visual influence. The site chosen was tucked in a small gully adjacent to a spur. The reservoirs were commissioned in 1978, have a seven million litre capacity each, and cost about $630,000.
Trunk mains water reticulation system has a ring configuration ensuring a minimum mains pressure of 345kPa with additional flow capacity for irrigation demand where necessary. About 8km of pipework varying from 300 to 600mm diameter was laid to service the town.
The water system was improved in the late 1990's with the addition of two bores (to replace the Lake Dunstan source), and a chlorine retention tank - at a cost of some $400,000. It was also extended to service the Bannockburn district. In 2005 the Cromwell Community Board will be extending the water supply to Lowburn and, in the future, plan to extend supplies to Pisa Moorings and Ripponvale.
Sanitary Sewerage Reticulation and Sewage Treatment
A piped reticulation system for Cromwell's sanitary sewage was introduced in the 1930's. Upgrading of the scheme was delayed pending hydro development. Until commissioning of the new system, raw sewage was discharged directly into the Clutha River. Investigations into a new system were started in 1975 and oxidation ponds were selected as the most suitable method as they provided the simplest form of acceptable treatment for small to medium sized communities.
The site chosen was a small derelict orchard south of the town, which was adequately separate from residential and recreational areas and to the lee of the prevailing wind. The tandem ponds were constructed below a natural terrace adjacent to the Kawarau River. They total 7.3 hectares and were commissioned in 1978 at a cost of $290,000. Because the population did not reach the designed figure, the ponds were under-utilised for some time, but in 2000 they required upgrading due to population growth. The upgrading involved the installation of aerators to increase the efficiency of the ponds and cost about $150,000.
Reticulation of sewer trunk mains to service the town involved 6.5km of pipeline and three small pumping stations. In the 1990's the system was extended to service the new subdivisions at Pisa Moorings, Wakefield Bay and Lowburn. Present investigations include the disposal of waste to land in the Council-owned pine plantation.
The old urban area of Cromwell had no major stormwater disposal system, relying on soak pits and sumps. With the increase of 'impermeable' areas associated with Cromwell expansion, provision of major stormwater trunk mains was required to avoid surface flooding during rainstorms. Although the average rainfall for Cromwell is only 400mm,short duration, high intensity rainfall can occur in summer.
In all 6km of trunk stormwater pipeline was installed varying from 275 to 1,500mm in diameter, and costing about $1.3 million. Three outfalls into Lake Dunstan were required, including one which cuts across the Cromwell Golf Course. Special contractual arrangements were required for this section to avoid closing the course. Landscape restoration on the course involved the importation of 1,600m2 of 'ready' lawn from Dunedin.
Development of an 80ha area of flat rural land into a housing neighbourhood of 635 sections in a short time involved many interested parties. These included the MWD, CBC, Housing Corporation, electricity supply and telephone authorities, town planners, architects, surveyors, engineers and landscape architects. Numerous discussions and meetings were held between all the parties involved.
The discussions led to the production of a set of agreed guidelines and requirements for the subdivision of land and the facilities to be provided by the subdivider. An Administration and Financial Agreement between the Borough Council and the Crown (A&F Agreement) was signed which set out responsibilities for design, construction, finance, ownership, operation and maintenance of services, facilities and amenities for the expanded town.
Consensus design was achieved to meet the objectives of engineers (sections able to be served economically), architects (space available for berms and greenways; irrigation for plant and grass growth), planners (section numbers sufficient; walkways focused on centrally places such as schools) and local supply authorities (transformers, cabinets and cabling able to be sited). The local community, including commercial interests, were represented through the Borough Council. Construction was undertaken from 1977 to 1984 by contractors under MWD supervision. Development of the neighbourhood was split up into seven stages of about 100 sections of around $400,000 value, with the total cost for the whole neighbourhood being about $5 million.
Another 'spurt' of activity has occurred recently with subdivisions of land at 'Mitchell's Orchard', Printers Bay, and Pisa Moorings. The Cromwell Community Board has also commenced the subdivision in the area known as the 'Gair Avenue' 17ha block with some 47 sections to be developed in 2005-06.
Two markedly different development concepts are evident in Cromwell: The standard grid pattern of Neighbourhood One, and the combination of greenways and cul-de-sacs in Neighbourhood Two. Within Neighbourhood Two there are four basic land uses. Roads and developed section make up 61ha, undeveloped sections 4ha (quickly being used up at present), greenways and open space 10.8ha and the primary school and kindergarten 2.6ha. Landscape planning and construction concentrated on two major components of the neighbourhoods: streets and greenways.
- A particularly important aspect of the subdivision was the formation of a definite hierarchy of streets. There are three basic types: arterial, collector and cul-de-sac.
- Arterial: one street which encompasses the whole neighbourhood - Waenga Drive.
- Collector: loop streets off the arterial with cul-de-sacs off them to form the lowest tier
i.e. Antimony Crescent and Wishart Crescent.
- Cul-de-sacs: footpaths on one side only. Open ended to link with the greenway system.
Areas within the neighbourhood are identified by the type of street development. This is reinforced by the surface treatment (chipseal, asphalt or in one case interlocking pavers) and landscape treatment. Landscape treatment for streets recognised a separate design be developed for each street in an effort to strengthen individuality of each housing group.
Two relatively innovative landscape features of the streets involved widespread use of ground cover and trickle irrigation in the berms. Ground cover such as slow growing junipers and natives were used extensively where it was considered street linearity required breaking; where maintenance such as mowing could be a problem, and where pedestrian conflicts occurred with street traffic. Trickle irrigation is a necessity because of the town's low rainfall. This involved the laying of 13km of pipe and installation of 50 control cubicles during the subdivision development contracts.
A concerted effort was made to develop greenways in advance of the housing to hasten establishment and maturity of plantings. Major components of the greenways are the pathways, planting and irrigation system.
The pathway system basically links all major use centres such as the primary school, kindergarten and dairy with the housing areas via open ended cul-de-sacs heads resembling a tree and its branches. The 'trunk' links the primary school to the Cromwell College-Anderson Park-town centre complexes. Within the neighbourhood there are 4.4km of pathways which ultimately link to the major Anderson Park collector path. Constructed of asphalt they are extensively used by both pedestrians and cyclists. Lighting is provided by four-metre-high concrete poles at 40 to 50m spacing.
Planting of the greenways serves to provide shelter from wind and sun; screening of structures such as fences, garages and backyards; channelling of the pathway system by providing a visual corridor for cyclists and pedestrians, and botanical interest. Existing pine trees were few and far between and this called for a major tree planting programme following installation of greenway irrigation, trunk services, pathways and topsoiling.
The irrigation system developed for the 10.8ha of greenways comprises automatic controllers, underground pipework, solenoid valves and pop-up sprinklers. In all 200 sprinklers and five control cubicles are required to service the neighbourhood system. Watering is carried out at night to take advantage of reduced wind and evaporation and higher water pressure.
The 1975 Joint Planning Committee presented guidelines and recommendations for detailed design of housing for Cromwell expansion. To illustrate these general principles, a proposed layout of 30 dwellings in Neighbourhood One was promulgated. It features careful groupings of dwellings, specially designed ancillaries such as garages, walls and fences and comprehensive landscape design.
This development emerged as Stage One of the Cromwell Expansion housing programme and, when finished in 1977, was awarded a special commendation from the Otago Division of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. Thus Stage One was the training ground for future building of 450 houses in Neighbourhood Two.
Some innovations such as solar heating disappeared as the cost did not match the performance, however the basic form and standard of housing was carried through to the new subdivisional area. Housing design and contract administration (about 77 contracts) was undertaken by Housing Corporation, on behalf of the MWD.
Design features were applied to particular houses so that strategically placed groups set them apart from others, while maintaining a degree of intended commonality as a whole. Examples include use of hipped roofs and partial brick cladding against full cladding. House styles, roof pitches and materials and cladding, including Oamaru stone, all played a part in establishing identity.
As homes later transferred to private ownership, individual colour choices and alterations to exteriors added new character to the area. A measure of the degree of acceptance of the housing quality is the high number of MWD tenants who purchased their rental homes when they were made available following the project completion.
aerial view of Cromwell Mall
As a result of hydro development, the old retail and commercial area of Cromwell was inundated by Lake Dunstan. Provision was made by the CBC in its district scheme for anew town centre, outlining basic shapes and objectives required. A town centre committee was appointed to plan and co-ordinate the centre's development.
The primary objective in planning for the centre was a high level of design quality,both in appearance and functional layout. The aim was to achieve an attractive focal point with optimum trading potential for both townspeople and tourists. Basically the centre is arranged in an inward-facing square surrounded by access roads. There is parking and access on the outside and a landscaped pedestrian court within. The inner mall is narrowed and lengthened, divided into four main arms and forms the pedestrian shopping street.
The complex was built for an estimated $12 million and includes 40 retail shops, 3 service stations, medical centre and dentist, professional offices, public toilets, information centre, borough offices, museum and library. Site development work was started in 1982 and The Mall was officially opened by the Minister of Works and Development in February 1985.
The landscape concept for the exterior or surrounds of The Mall was undertaken with six basic criteria in mind.
- to provide a pleasant attractive environment for shoppers, tourists and staff,
- to provide a foil for the large mass of buildings;
- to visually break up expanses of carparks;
- to screen less attractive commercial sites;
- to provide shelter from Cromwell's winds;
- to keep maintenance to a minimum.
In all about 300 trees, 3,800 shrubs and 11,000 ground cover plants were planted. Landscape development involved shaping, topsoiling of lawn and shrub areas, installation of both trickle and pop-up sprinkler systems, grassing down and planting semi-mature tree stock and shrubs.
Building Architecture and Concepts
Most town centres are fragmented and to a degree disorganised because of the impossibility of overall control of all stages from concept to construction. This control was available for the Cromwell development. The Council's objective was to create, through the use of local materials, careful colour selection and modem architectural styling, a town centre that was both in harmony with the local environment and exciting in concept. To achieve the desired character, building controls were incorporated in the district scheme in the form or ordinances.
- typical roof configurations and heights;
- schedule of allowable building materials for roofs, shop fronts and other exterior walls;
- provision of verandahs;
- controls over signs to prevent them being too visually dominant.
The Mall interior is roughly cross-shaped with an enlarged central open space. Within it the location of various shops has been deliberately set so that each is exposed to the maximum foot traffic while contained within concentrated channels and relatively short travel distances.
Provision of an attractive shopping environment is the key to keeping the customer interested and seeking to discover the whole complex. This interest is maintained by features of the mall, which include verandahs to all shop frontages, an ornamental stream, paving, planting and landscape furniture. Total cost of the interior mall development was $512,000.
The stream provides a symbolic version of the Clutha River as well as providing interest, movement and sound to the mall. It is 150 metres long and begins as a spring from a stack of schist boulders. The stream meanders past various shops into the central open space over a small waterfall and continues to a widened pool at the end point.
The stream edge comprises hardwood edging, stone cobbles, large schist rock and timber beams. The stream varies in width and depth but is generally about half a metre wide between banks 1.5 to 2m apart.
The mall comprises some 4,200 square metres (210,000 units) of interlocking concrete pavers. The pavers extend throughout The Mall, under verandahs and over the six bridges which span the stream. Two colours have been used: mid brown and grey. Lighter colours had potential for staining. The pattern resembles bold arrowheads, each pointing to the central open space and thereby drawing shoppers into The Mall.
Planter beds varying in height from 150 to 700mm have been used to soften the mall landscape. They are either bordered by hardwood as a nib or constructed from schist rock as a facing and capping. Native shrubs were used throughout the mall in an effort to display the range of local plant material to tourists and locals - these were later replaced in 1996 at the request of the shop owners. Semi-mature Platanus (plane) trees, some 4¬5m in height, were used to create an 'instant' landscape effect. Irrigation to shrub beds and trees is through a concealed trickle system.
aerial view of Anderson Park
An extensive sporting complex was been developed in the area between the two Cromwell neighbourhoods. Known as Anderson Park it involved a large landscape design and construction input. Completed at a cost of $1.3 million (not including the cost of the swimming pool), the park was designed to service the needs of both the town and surrounding areas.
Anderson Park includes a college gymnasium and auditorium (which are both available for community use), sports changing sheds, nine tennis courts, eight netball courts (two with artificial lighting), four college sports fields (one with lighting) and two multipurpose fields (cricket/rugby/athletics), one with lighting suitable for night practice rugby.
Other features of the park include the $2 million indoor swimming pools, formal garden/arboretum/rest area, sports club lounge facility and children's playground.
Anderson Park has a total area of 14.7 hectares with the college playing fields adding another 4ha. The park features pedestrian/vehicular separation with provision of numerous cycleways/walkways which link the park with housing areas. The sports fields were constructed to specific design criteria, including a complex underground automatically controlled irrigation system and a large scale tree-shrub planting programme including about 1,800 semi-mature trees, 2,700 shrubs and 500 ground cover plants. Carparking is provided by 160 sealed and grassed parks as well as substantial on-street parking.
Construction of the playing fields involved the stripping of existing topsoil and installation of irrigation pipework and services (electric cables sewer and stormwater drains) The operation involved the moving of about 80 000 cubic metres of material by relatively heavy machines Special care and methods were required to avoid over-compaction.
In June 1997 the artificial sand surfaced 'Central Otago Sports Turf' was established on Anderson Park adjacent to the Cromwell Swim Centre Cost of the facility was about $900 000 Full lighting capacity was installed to the turf in February 1998 and the existing rugby fields relocated Lighting of one rugby field was also upgraded to allow for night games.
Providing accommodation for the majority of the workforce associated with the Clutha Valley Development at Cromwell offered both a great challenge and a unique opportunity for a small town such as Cromwell The challenge was to accommodate a fourfold population increase in a manner that would not result in a segregation between the old and new parts of the town The opportunity was one not given to many towns - of being able to upgrade and improve facilities and services many of which had not advanced much past those of a pioneering era.
Historically the layout of Cromwell followed the traditional grid pattern. Fortunately running north south through the then entire town were two unformed streets or paper roads The availability of these open spaces enabled in what for development purposes was termed 'Neighbourhood One' to be established a street hierarchy not dissimilar from that being built in what was then called 'Neighbourhood Two'.
By closing these unformed streets completely and developing them as greenways empathy with the concepts of development being pursued in the new areas was clearly established Furthermore these closures allowed the creation of many cul-de-sacs in the established town. Again these newly created cul-de-sacs projected a visible relationship with the development being undertaken in the new residential areas.
The end result has been a functional town layout which although the parts have been established to different parameters provide an overall environment of pleasing greenways walkways and tree lined street verges interspersed through the total street system While such a regime has substantial ongoing costs in greenway maintenance the quality of the environment created justifies this expenditure.
The upgrading of the trunk services in the established town were works of major importance A massive much-needed upgrading was carried out thereby ensuring a better service in all these areas of the total population The opportunity was taken to underground power services in most of the town and the development allowed for the first time in the town's history for a complete 'as built' record of services to be documented.
Cromwell has benefited enormously from the expansion programme The tranquility of life in Cromwell has been greatly enhanced and nothing has been done that would in any way change the statement of the well known southern writer Mr FWG Miller who wrote "Cromwell is not just a place but a state of mind ".