July, 2011: Lyttelton Petanque Club

A community space
Inititated by Gap Filler
Gap(s): Corner of London & Canterbury Streets in Lyttelton

July, 2011: Lyttelton Petanque Club

The Lyttelton Petanque Club started as a Gapfiller project which sought to create a public space for Lyttelton residents and visitors. As well as being the location of Lyttelton’s premier petanque pitch, it has also proven to be a popular meeting area for residents and visitors. Such is its popularity that the Christchurch City Council have now bought the land and intend to create a Lyttelton Civic Square on the site. It is located at the corner of London & Canterbury Streets in Lyttelton.

The LPC is a multi-purpose public space with a performance stage, community garden, handmade tables and benches – and the best petanque pitch in all of Lyttelton! It is open to anyone, any time; petanque balls can be borrowed from Portico (two doors down) or the library across the corner.

The LPC was initially created and maintained by Gap Filler,  in collaboration with Volcano Radio, Project Lyttelton and the mad army of volunteers who turned up, and just kept on turning up. In mid-2012, the Christchurch City Council purchased the site with intention of turning it into a civic square for Lyttelton by 2014.  They announced a pool of $70 000 available to local artists/craftspeople/designers/folks to design works and projects for the site. The task was to create artworks / furniture / lighting installations to trial aspects of what will become Civic Square once the land is developed in early 2014. An important requirement is that the pieces can be relocated to other vacant sites around the township in the future. 7 of 14 submissions were selected – a mandala, a sculpture, an audio installation, some landscaped steps, a Hundertwasser style seat with light and small garden, a stall for sharing community produce and some oversize furniture.

The Gap Filler experiment on this site has been interesting, rewarding and at times challenging. We took on the site for one year from the previous owners back in 2011 (July). It was up for sale, they said, but we could use it until it sold. They were thrilled when the council bought it, feeling it was the best outcome for the community. They’d lost so much in Lyttelton and had to leave, but they felt happier this way. The site passed to CCC as the new owners, but the LPC project stayed on site unchanged with the support of the Council.

As of October, 2013 Gap Filler no longer has the licence for the site – it is back in CCC legal control. Gap Filler’s use of the site was over two years – double the duration we intended. These transitional projects will give the site new energy until redevelopment and hopefully provoke responses that will influence how the future Civic Square s developed when the time comes. It’s a good outcome in our view.

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The lifetime members of the LPC (whatever that means):

Carmel Courtney, Trent Hiles, Ciaran Fox, Richard Humphries, Coralie Winn, Courtenay Stickels, Ryan Reynolds, Emilie Sitzia, Bettina Evans, Brent O’Meagher, Camille O’Donoghue, Sarah van der Burch, Ludovic Romany, Dan Johnson, Jeanelle Beltran, Lauren Brunt, Sacha Healey, Chris Watson, Dave Dangerfield, Caro Allison, Simon Parsons, Helen Greenfield, Richard Hiles, Mikky Pyy, Clara, Ihorangi, Lewis, Maxime, Heath, Obie and a few others who snuck away…

Many many thanks to the owners of the land, Helen and Tom, who’ve had a terribly tough time and are still contributing to the community.