Honour for key man in city blueprint

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 07:18 02/06/2014
Don Miskell
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
DESIGN FOR THE FUTURES: Don Miskell has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work in landscape architecture, including his involvement in the Avon River Precinct.

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One of the developers of Christchurch's blueprint and a key figure in the Avon River Precinct has been made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in today's Queen's Birthday Honours list.

» Queen's Birthday Honours list

Don Miskell, previously of Boffa Miskell, was awarded the honour for his services in landscape architecture.

Miskell is now the general manager of planning and design for the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU).

After studying at Massey University, Miskell did a landscape architecture programme at Lincoln University which he said "was just a dream course for me". It ignited a passion for landscape architecture.

He was hired by Boffa Jackman – eventually renamed Boffa Miskell – after graduating, and spent 36 years there until resigning in 2013 to take up the CCDU role.

He said it was the "amazing mission" that attracted him to the new job.

"To work with others to help shape this new city and make it better than it was. You spend a lot of time at work, so it's really important that we actually love what we do," he said. "It was always very easy to get up in the morning and go to work because of the exciting jobs we got to do."

The Christchurch City Council's "Share an Idea" campaign gave a "launching pad" for the CCDU to work from, he said. Several cornerstone ideas had come from that, including a compact and accessible city that was "easy and safe to get around for people of all ages and all abilities".

By 2041 the aim was to have 20,000 people living in the central city. At last year's census about 5000 people were living there, "so we've got a long way to go".

Another theme from the Share an Idea was a "greener" city, which Miskell said was being included in the Avon River Precinct. By building in aspects such as "rain gardens", water will be filtered "before it hits the river".

When he looks back at the end of his career, he hopes to see "all the spaces in Christchurch full of people".

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- The Press

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