Mayor Bob Parker backs 'great vision' for Avon River red zone
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has given his blessing to the campaign for a reserve and river park on the Avon River red zone, calling it “a great vision”.
His support comes as more than 40 organisations last night (November 29) gathered to co-ordinate their efforts for the campaign, organised by the Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON).
A prior commitment stopped Mr Parker from attending the forum held at the Wainoni Methodist Church.
But he sent a message: “You have my wholehearted support for this great vision.
Please add me to your network.”
AvON spokesman Mark Gibson said the Mayor’s support was “hugely helpful” and showed political support for Avon-Otakaro River Park.
“That the Mayor is among those publicly backing this plan to create something beautiful for Christchurch shows the depth of feeling in this city.”
At last night’s forum organisations ranging from Ngai Tahu to community, sports and recreation groups began formulating a joint strategy and approach. It was chaired by the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, the Very Reverend Peter Beck.
“This proposal is just what we need to breathe new life and hope into the east of Christchurch,” he said.
Mr Gibson said that as AvON had been gathering signatures for its petition, asking the Government to work with the people and local authorities of Christchurch to achieve this vision, it had been moved by the huge amount of support people expressed.
That support crossed political and social lines.
The forum gave the campaign renewed resources to campaign and promote Avon-Otakaro River Park.
“We now have a unique opportunity to rethink east Christchurch, learn from what has happened and create a visionary park/reserve incorporating the flood plain and river,” Mr Gibson said. “We have the opportunity to recreate this part of the city with nature at the heart in a way that will inspire and heal.
“Ensuring this vision becomes a reality requires a significant and sustained effort from its supporters. The campaign is now stepping up a gear, with the backing of the Mayor and a large group of energetic and determined campaigners who will make this happen for Christchurch and its people.”
For an email copy of the petition form, more information or to help gather signatures email AvonOtakaro@gmail.com .