Ecological restoration tops public wish list

19 Dec 2017

Almost half the people who commented on possible land use options for the red zoned land along the Avon River favour using it for ecological restoration.

Earlier this year Regenerate Christchurch released 10 possible combinations of uses for the 602-hectares of red-zoned land that runs along the Avon River and stretches from Barbadoes Street through to Bexley and New Brighotn.

The area is almost four times the size of Hagley Park and 1866 individuals and groups took the opportunity to provide feedback on the options put forward.

That feedback has been released by Regenerate Christchurch today(external link).

Part of the Avon River regeneration corridor.

The future of red zoned land along the Avon River corridor should be known by the end of 2018.

Ecological restoration received the most comments and support, with 906 responses.

“Almost half of the people and groups giving feedback saw ecological restoration as a priority and often supported recreation, visitor attractions and productive uses, as long as they had an ecological focus,’’ said Regenerate Christchurch Chief Executive Ivan Iafeta.

Horseshoe Lake and Bexley were specifically mentioned as having high ecological importance.

More than 300 people and groups voice specific support for an open space corridor or ‘green spine’ along the river. All 10 possible land use combinations featured this corridor of up to 150 metres on either side of the Avon, from Barbadoes Street to Bexley.

The space could potentially include permanent paths, trails, gardens, forest, wetlans and community initiatives, as well as significant areas of ecological restoration.

There was support for flatwater facilities, with 688 people favouring the 2.2km out-of-river lake and 442 supporting the 2.2km in-river lake option, primarily for ecological reasons.

Cycle and walking trails were the next most common recreation themes, as well as support for a whitewater facility.

Ecologically and locally-focused visitor attractions received good support, but feedback on large-scale ticketed attractions was more divided.

Of the 685 people and groups who mentioned residential development, 342 were supportive and 343 unsupportive. Most supportive comments were conditional, saying any future housing must be innovative, sustainable, adaptable to climate change, and limited in size and number.

What happens next?

The next step is for Regenerate Christchurch to refine the options into a shortlist.

The short-listed options could be drawn from the 10 combinations that were published in October or be a mix-and-match of them.

Regenerate Christchurch plan to stage a major exhibition of the short-listed options early next year where people will be able to look at the costs and benefits of each and the likely timeframes.

Following the exhibition Regenerate Christchurch will prepare a preliminary draft Regeneration Plan which will include a preferred land use plan for the area.

The deadline for the draft plan is August 2018. Regenerate Christchurch hopes to have the Regeneration Plan for the area finalised by the end of 2018.

“We are approaching decisions that will shape the future of our city for hundreds of years and influence how people experience life in Christchurch for years to come. We are grateful for the effort people to express their views and we are excited about the exhibition coming up next year,’’ Mr Iafeta said.

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