Greens throw their support behind greening the red zone
The Green Party has thrown its support behind a campaign to turn the Avon River red zone into a reserve and river park, with MPs and candidates signing a petition seeking just that.
On the banks of the Avon River, by the munted Medway Bridge, Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, Christchurch-based list MP Kennedy Graham, MP Gareth Hughes and candidates Joseph Burston (Port Hills) and David Moorhouse (Christchurch Central) yesterday (Monday) added their signatures to the Avon-Otakaro Network petition.
The petition asks Parliament “to work with the people and local authorities of Christchurch to turn the Avon River red zone into a reserve and river park when the home owners have to leave the area”.
Dr Norman said it was an easy call for the Green Party to back a solution for the red zone land that would add enormous value to the people and city of Christchurch.
“If we honour this land, letting it be what nature wants it to be, while also creating a place of beauty and joy for all of Christchurch, we also honour those who have lost their homes. We take sadness, and from it create joy.
“And we allow Christchurch to reap the many economic benefits that will come from bringing nature back into the city, for generations to come.”
Dr Graham said the people of Christchurch did not want to fight nature in the city’s rebuild. They wanted to work with it to create a sustainable city of the future.
“From this time of enormous stress and sadness we can grab the opportunity to create something enduring for future generations.
“Creating Avon-Otakaro Park, from city to sea, would leave and enduring legacy of which we could be proud.”
AvON spokesman Evan Smith said the Avon-Otakaro Park had wide and general support, across the political spectrum.
“AvON is thrilled the Green Party has got behind this cause and is backing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Christchurch and its people. We’d like to challenge other politicians to do the same.”
AvON has set up a website including the group’s charter, contacts for those who want to help with the petition, and links to supporting information and groups: www.avonotakaronetwork.co.nz .
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 wellbeing 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.”
Founding members are:
• Avon River Park Facebook Group (www.facebook.com\AvonRiverPark)
• River of Life
• Campaign for a Memorial Reserve Covenant
Committee members are:
Dr Suzanne Vallance — AvON Spokesperson. Lecturer in the Faculty of Environment, Society and Design at Lincoln University. Research interests include urban resilience and civil society.
Rev. Mark Gibson — AvON Chairperson. Co-ordinating Minister of New Brighton Union Church, Chairperson of The New Brighton Project, and leader of the River of Life initiative.
Evan Smith — Convenor, Riverside Community Group; founding member of Canterbury Communities Earthquake Recovery Network (CanCERN) and Wider Earthquake Communities Action Network (WeCan); council member, One Voice Te Reo Kotahi (NGO Sector); author, Charter of Community Engagement Principles.
Mary Tingey — AvON secretary; Richmond resident; Delta Trust Community Garden co-ordinator; teacher for A Place of Learning.
Pam Guest — Resource management planner with background in water management policy.
Grant Lyon – Modern, science-based organic advisor; Bioremediation. Soil specialist in ecological restoration.
Karen Whitla — child advocate
Mary McCammon — children’s writer; musician and performer with Natural Magic.