Petition to turn Avon River red zone into reserve
A new group is lobbying local and national politicians to create a reserve and park on the Avon River red zone land once the owners have left.
And it has launched a petition asking Parliament to “work with the people and local authorities of Christchurch to achieve this”.
The Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON) formed after a public meeting in July of people who want the Avon River red zone to be saved for nature and leisure, rather than left fallow until it is remediated and rebuilt on.
Its members include red zone residents, scientists, local body politicians and more.
Spokeswoman Dr Suzanne Vallance said public feedback to the Share an Idea campaign showed very high levels of support for greening the city, continuous parklands and reserves along the banks of the Avon River to the sea, and cycle and walkways along the river.
“As well, more than 95% of those answering a question on Facebook said they wanted the land retained for a park and reserve; Ngai Tahu have indicated they want the land’s ecological value restored; and several of the speakers at the Christchurch City Council’s international speaker series said an Avon River park from city to sea was a ‘no brainer’.”
Dr Vallance said the group saw the reserve as unique opportunity to improve the ecology of the city, improve the water quality of the Avon and estuary, and create a tribute to those who died in the February 22 quake and those who lost their homes. There were also good economic arguments for the reserve, as such amenities were important in attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.
As well as running the petition, with signatures to be collected over the next three months, AvON will help collect evidence on the scientific and economic realities of the land around the Avon River.
The wording of the petition is: “We respectfully ask the House of Representatives 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.”
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 .
Members will also gather signatures outside shopping malls and other busy places around Christchurch over the next three months.
For an email copy of the petition form, more information or to help to gather signatures email AvonOtakaro@gmail.com .