Avon—Ōtākaro Network Vision for Regeneration of the Avon—Ōtākaro Corridor Red Zone
The 2010/11 earthquakes in Canterbury, New Zealand caused considerable damage to residential development along the Avon—Ōtākaro River Corridor, which is land prone to liquefaction. An area was identified post-quakes by government as uneconomic for immediate redevelopment of housing because of the cost of remediation — what is referred to as the ‘residential red zone’.
The Avon—Ōtākaro Network was formed by members of the greater Christchurch community. Their vision is for an ecological and recreational reserve for the residential red zone land in the Avon—Ōtākaro River Corridor from
the Christchurch central business district to the Avon Heathcote Estuary Ihutai (from the city to the sea). The objective is to create a multi-purpose river park
with a broad continuous corridor of indigenous habitat with specific regard to enhancing water quality and biodiversity. The reserve would incorporate cultural values and provide a network of paths and cycleways with interconnections to the greater Christchurch area. The goal is to create a long-term asset for the Christchurch community.
This paper describes the research projects undertaken over the past five years and still in progress that include: (1) compiling and integrating community project initiatives and seeking feedback on their support; (2) community group and student investigations of the corridor environment and conceptual design of heritage, ecological and recreational elements; (3) commissioned research on the economic value of the ecological and recreational reserve; (4) the Mahinga Kai Exemplar Project in partnership with Ngāi Tahu and government agencies at Lake Kate Sheppard as an example of river corridor restoration for ecological and Māori values; (5) research into the implications of sea level rise for conservation planning in the corridor; and (6) the opportunities for improved water quality management of stormwater and sewage overflows, and improved flood plain management that could be incorporated in a reforested corridor.
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