Slicing up the red zoneby Sally Blundell
A first tentative step has been taken to address the future of Christchurch’s vast residential red zone.
Regenerate Christchurch, set up earlier this year as a partnership between the Crown and Christchurch City Council, announced in late September that the area would be broken up into three bite-sized chunks for which it will develop individual plans. An outline for the first area, running along the Avon River close to the inner city, will be developed between now and the end of the year. If that outline is approved by Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee, a draft regeneration plan will be developed.
“The draft outline will set out a pathway for decisions on the future use of this land and will also create the foundation for how we will involve communities,” Regenerate chief executive Ivan Iafeta said in a statement.
While any progress, even a plan for a plan for a plan, is seen as a step forward, Greening the Red Zone says there should be more and earlier consultation and less of a piecemeal approach to the Avon River red zone.
Read more: The future of a 630ha corridor of land in Christchurch’s red zone hangs in the balance (April, 2016)
“Time and again, the public have said a return to nature and the Eastern Cycle and Walkway Network are their most popular proposals for the red zone,” says co-chair Ashley Campbell. “Both of these are city-to-sea concepts and need to be implemented across the entire red zone.”
In preparation for the next slice of the red zone, a longer swathe of river corridor encompassing the suburbs of Avonside, Dallington, Wainoni and Avondale, Regenerate will investigate land capability, infrastructure requirements and the feasibility of a proposed international water course.
Funding for such projects has not yet been identified, but Brownlee says Crown company Otakaro Ltd would represent the Crown's interests in the residential red zones, “and ensure some opportunities for financial return are considered, alongside other future uses”. The Government spent about $1.5 billion buying up red zone land.
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