“It is great that at last there is some forward traction on future use of the Avon River residential red zone lands, it is time we started to heal the wound that runs right through the east,” says Evan Smith Co-Chair of Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON).
This follows today’s announcement by the Prime Minister of a process to include the community in decisions regarding the future use of the lands. AvON is the organisation hoping to turn the Avon River red zone into a city-to-sea ecological reserve and recreational river park.
“I am guardedly optimistic that the Government has recognised the need to involve the community in these decisions – lets hope that that engagement has some real influence,“ says Mark Gibson the other AvON Co-Chair.
In 2012 after the red zone decisions, AvON submitted a petition with over eighteen and a half thousand signatures requesting that the House of Representatives “work with the people and local authorities of Christchurch to ensure that the Avon River red zone becomes a reserve and river park when the home owners have to leave.”
“Our vision is very popular because it includes extensive habitat restoration to create a stunning natural asset and a multipurpose park - the future playground of the city!” says Gibson.
Smith adds, “We note that CERA and CCC will be considering infrastructure in the red zone lands we hope this will include the use of wetlands to clean up storm water before it is discharged into the river.“
“Leaving our red zone homes and communities has been very painful for many of us and those of us left behind in the adjoining lands are still experiencing great difficulties. Anything we can do to heal the river and riverside lands will greatly improve the wellbeing of everyone involved.”