A $3.6 million redevelopment of Christchurch's Lancaster Park into a green space and sports fields has begun.
It is likely that sports games can be played there from early next year.
This first stage of the redevelopment is expected to take around nine months to complete.
It includes cleaning up and levelling the site and removing the foundations of the demolished Lancaster Park stadium.
Christchurch City Council head of parks Andrew Rutledge said it is a significant milestone following the loss of the stadium.
"Lancaster Park has long held a special place in many Cantabrians' hearts. After a proud 130-year history of hosting sporting events of all levels before the stadium came down, it's fitting that this park will now get a new lease of life as a community sports and recreation area."
Rutledge said a spatial plan, which was developed in response to community need for more recreational areas and sports grounds in the area, is being used as a guide for the redevelopment work.
Further development signalled in the spatial plan released in September 2019 will occur as funding becomes available, he said.
Significant funding is proposed in the Draft Long Term Plan 2021–31, which will be signed off by the Christchurch City Council in June this year, for the development of more community amenities on the park, such as a playground.
"There is a commitment to working with the community and the Waikura/Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board as we continue to develop the park."
The Lancaster Park Memorial Gates on Stevens St, which were built to commemorate the sacrifice of Canterbury athletes during World War I, will be protected during the redevelopment work.
Monitors will be installed on the memorial gates to check for any movement while the stadium foundations are removed.
Further investigations to finalise the design for repair and restoration of the memorial gates is under way, with work expected to begin in spring this year.
"The intent remains that we will have fully restored memorial gates by the time the park reopens to the public."