Statement by Avon-Otakaro Network co-chairs
AvON co-chairs urge minister to reconsider residential red zone policy
Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON) is extremely disappointed at the policy forbidding interim use of residential red zone lands, and urges Minister Gerry Brownlee to reconsider.
The policy comes after last week we were told there would be an annual charge of $27 a square metre, plus GST, for using red zone land, making all temporaryprojects for the Avon River red zone unaffordable. Either policy means none of the short- to medium-term projects our member organisations planned can go ahead.
Under the charging regime, a voluntary community garden group would have to pay $18,630 a year, including GST, to establish a garden on a 600sq m section.
AvON has been developing a plan to landscape a site on the corner of Linwood Ave and Woodham Rd, using it as a community billboard to keep Christchurch informed about residential red zone progress. Under the charging regime, it would cost us around $35,000 a year, including GST. We cannot afford it.
Neither policy affects AvON’s long-term goal of creating an ecological and recreational reserve and river park on this land, but they both negate all possible temporary use of the land. These projects would all help to rejuvenate the environment and nearby communities, aiding Christchurch in its recovery.
AvON will continue working on its long-term goal, but urges Minister Brownlee to rethink the ban on any use, and the earlier charges. Mr Brownlee, please support the individuals and groups helping Christchurch, its environment and people recover. Don’t put insurmountable hurdles in their way.
Evan Smith and Mark Gibson
Notes for editors
AvON is a not-for-profit group. Its vision is to “establish a community-driven science-informed living memorial to rejuvenate and nurture the long-term environmental, economic, community and spiritual well-being of the eastern suburbs and of those living throughout greater Christchurch. Our aim is to turn a tragedy into an opportunity, a polluted drain into a vibrant river system, and exhaustion and despair into hope and inspiration.”