Regenerate Christchurch welcomes approval of the
Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan
23 August 2019
Regenerate Christchurch welcomes the decision by the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration to approve the Regeneration Plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor. You can read the plan by clicking here.
Chief Executive Ivan Iafeta says it is a significant milestone for Christchurch, with the plan not only reflecting the important history and heritage of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor but also setting out a bold aspirational vision for its future.
“Extensive community engagement informed development of the vision of the river connecting us together - with each other, with nature and with new possibilities which are genuinely exciting. The Green Spine will connect the central city to New Brighton with a mix of recreational, commercial and community uses. And the opportunity to create an exemplar of climate change response that will benefit people and countries around the world will further enhance Christchurch’s national and international point of difference.”
Mr Iafeta says, while the vision will continue to guide and influence decision-making long into the future, a sound, transparent governance structure will be important to ensure stewardship of the area, championing of the vision and attraction of the private investment that will be required over-and-above the public investment.
“Since delivering the Regeneration Plan for the Minister’s decision-making, Regenerate Christchurch has provided advice to the Crown and Council on leadership and governance of the area. We believe an independent entity is required to provide strong governance and independence, and we welcome the inclusion of a governance entity in the Christchurch City Council’s Global Settlement Agreement with the Crown.
“As for the Regeneration Plan itself, it is a plan that boldly champions environmental leadership whilst also providing flexibility to accommodate changing community views and technological advancements that might emerge over the course of the coming decades.”
The Minister’s approval of the plan means changes will be made to the Christchurch District Plan to enable the land uses identified in the plan. Those changes will be based on the significant technical work that informed Regenerate Christchurch’s development of the plan, and research findings that demonstrated the community’s strong interest in protecting and enhancing the area’s natural environment.
Mr Iafeta says the plan identifies land uses that are best for achieving the vision but does not explicitly rule out other potential land uses.
“It is a plan that anticipates and accommodates the potential for change over time. This, I believe, will prove to be one of its greatest strengths.”
The draft Regeneration Plan for the
Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor is currently with the
Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration
19 December 2018
The public notification period for the Draft Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan has concluded and we are no longer accepting written comments. Thanks for your feedback. You can still read the Draft Plan by clicking here
Draft Regeneration Plan a bold commitment for Christchurch
14 November 2018
A draft regeneration plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor is being publicly notified today, with Regenerate Christchurch inviting written comments up to and including 19 December. It will conclude 14 weeks of formal public engagement on the project since October last year.
Regenerate Christchurch Chair Sue Sheldon says extensive community engagement has identified a strong preference for environmental leadership. She says the draft regeneration plan delivers this and its implementation would see the river corridor emerge as a leading example of 21st-century urban environmental management.
“The draft plan demonstrates a bold commitment for Christchurch to a holistic approach to improve water quality in the area, better protect communities from flooding, ensure future generations can experience mahinga kai and create a restored natural environment open to all, that connects people, the river and the land. The draft plan is also practical, flexible and, over time, affordable.”
Ms Sheldon says if the draft plan is approved by the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, achieving the vision will require long-term investment and commitment from multiple parties.
“The Crown and the Christchurch City Council, as owners of about 98 percent of the land in the river corridor, will decide who will govern and have accountability for realising the vision; future ownership of the land; and how and when funding commitments will be made.
“As these decisions are made, the community will have greater certainty about when it can expect to see development begin and the scale of that development.”
Ms Sheldon says the draft plan provides a strong vision and sets out a plan for how the land could be used in the future and the steps required to transform the area over the coming decades.
Because regeneration of the river corridor area will be inter-generational, the draft plan allows for changes in community needs and priorities, and potential land uses and activities which may emerge, over the course of the next 30 years.
It is also proposed in the draft plan that the vision and objectives that have informed its development be the touchstone for considering any new ideas for the area in the future.
The vision and objectives were developed in consultation with the community, which put forward 5,000 ideas for regenerating the area, and drew on the findings of a community needs survey conducted by Nielsen.
The survey found for the regeneration area that 83 percent of people surveyed prioritised groundwater quality and 72 percent prioritised water quality in rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands.
Ms Sheldon says a 2.2 kilometre out-of-river flatwater facility is not shown in the draft plan because extensive technical analysis and independent research has determined that its formation would be inconsistent with the required area for stormwater treatment and desire to protect groundwater resources; its environmental impact would be inconsistent with the vision and objectives; and Regenerate Christchurch’s assessment shows that the possible benefits would not outweigh the potential risks and likely impacts.
“The amount of aquifer water needed every year to keep a 2.2 kilometre out-of-river flatwater facility free of algal bloom would equate to about 10 Belfast water bottling plants.
“Further, Christchurch’s aquifer water supply is fully allocated in this location and changes to the Land and Water Regional Plan would likely be needed to enable the significant water take required.”
Ms Sheldon says, however, that the draft plan does acknowledge the demand for more space for flatwater sports in Christchurch - particularly for training purposes - and allows for the widening and deepening of the river in some locations - including the creation of a 1,000 metre local regatta course by widening Kerrs Reach.
The draft Regeneration Plan is available on the Regenerate Christchurch website. Hard copies are available for reading at Regenerate Christchurch (Level 1, Building 2, 181 High Street, Christchurch), as well as Waimakariri District Council, Selwyn District Council and Christchurch City Council offices, service centres and libraries. The public can provide written comment to Regenerate Christchurch online and via email or post up to and including 19 December.
Once written comments have been received and considered, Regenerate Christchurch will finalise the draft Regeneration Plan before seeking consent from Ōtākaro Limited to submit it to the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration.
Public notification of Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Draft Regeneration Plan
9 November 2018
Regenerate Christchurch will publicly notify the draft Regeneration Plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor (OARC) from 14 November and will accept written comments up to and including 19 December. It will be the last public engagement required under the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act ahead of the draft plan being finalised.
Chief Executive Ivan Iafeta says: “We appreciate that the end of the year is a busy time, and we want community groups and organisations that might be interested in providing comment to know this is coming up, so they are organised when the draft plan is notified.”
From 14 November, the draft Regeneration Plan will be available on the Regenerate Christchurch website. Hard copies will be available for reading at Regenerate Christchurch (Level 1, Building 2, 181 High Street, Christchurch), as well as Waimakariri District Council, Selwyn District Council and Christchurch City Council offices, service centres and libraries. The public will be able to provide written comment to Regenerate Christchurch online and via email or post.
At the same time, Regenerate Christchurch will invite written comment on proposals to exclude the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor regeneration area from the Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP) and the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (CCRP), through a partial revocation process.
If approved, this would enable the Regeneration Plan to be the sole Regeneration/Recovery Plan applying to the OARC. The LURP and CCRP would continue to apply everywhere other than the OARC area, where relevant.
Mr Iafeta says Regenerate Christchurch had originally anticipated a six-week period for the public to provide written comment on the draft plan.
“We considered whether it was reasonable to expect people to provide comment during the Christmas/New Year holiday period or extend the notification process into 2019.
“We know the community has appreciated the extensive amount of consultation to date and we are confident this period will provide sufficient time for people to provide comment.”
Mr Iafeta says once written comments have been received, Regenerate Christchurch will consider those and finalise the Regeneration Plan before seeking consent from Ōtākaro Limited to submit it to the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration.
Once all comments are received, Regenerate Christchurch will know how long it will take to finalise the plan and it is committed to submitting it to the Minister as soon as possible.
Legislation requires Regenerate Christchurch to obtain the views of the parties listed in Section 29 of the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act (Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Ōtākaro Limited) before publicly notifying the draft plan. That process has been completed and a concise statement of the views of those parties will be provided with public notification of the plan (in accordance with the Act).
“We saw an opportunity to accelerate the process by seeking their views in parallel with completing the draft plan. We have greatly appreciated all parties’ support for this approach which has been developed to support completion of the public notification period before Christmas,” Mr Iafeta says.
BACKGROUND TO THE ŌTĀKARO AVON RIVER CORRIDOR REGENERATION PLAN PROCESS
Regenerate Christchurch, which was established in April 2016, is responsible for developing the Regeneration Plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor and has considered more than 5,000 ideas submitted by the community, as well as surveys, technical reports and studies.
After the publication in October 2017 of 10 possible combinations of land uses for the area, public feedback identified strong common preferences which informed the development of a refined shortlist that featured in a public exhibition earlier this year.
During the five-week exhibition period in May and June, Regenerate Christchurch recorded more than 23,000 engagements with members of the public. This included more than 9,800 face-to-face interactions, approximately 3,700 completed surveys, and more than 10,000 visits to its online exhibition and engagement pages.
Feedback on the exhibition and independent research by Nielsen - a leading global information and measurement company - identified an overwhelmingly positive public response to the refined shortlist, with 89 percent of Greater Christchurch residents positive about the land uses and 91 percent rating the 11-kilometre “Green Spine” central corridor positively.
The Green Spine will be up to 150 metres wide on each side of the Ōtākaro Avon River, connecting the city to New Brighton. It will incorporate walking paths, nature trails, cycle ways, community spaces such as playgrounds, picnic spots, barbecue areas, coffee stops, large areas of ecological restoration, wetlands to improve stormwater management, and will support better access to the river.
Red Zone Futures feedback report now available
7 September 2018
A report on the findings of Regenerate Christchurch’s public engagement on the shortlist of land use options for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Area is now available. You can read the report here.
View our Red Zone Futures exhibition online
Although feedback on the Red Zone Futures exhibition has closed, but you can still view the exhibition online at our Engagement hub.
Regenerate Christchurch announces public exhibition
Regenerate Christchurch has confirmed details of its public exhibition of the refined shortlist of potential land uses for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Area. This includes the area previously known as the residential red zone.
The “Red Zone Futures” exhibition will run from Saturday 26 May to Saturday 30 June 2018 at 99 Cashel St in Cashel Mall. There will also be an online exhibition and mobile exhibitions at public spaces around Greater Christchurch.
“We’ve listened to the significant feedback received so far,” says Regenerate Christchurch Chief Executive Ivan Iafeta. “We’ve considered the findings of Nielsen’s community needs assessment completed last year, and the technical analysis and expert advice. We’re now preparing to show Christchurch and New Zealand the opportunities within the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor.”
“The Regeneration Area is one of the largest geographical features in Christchurch and that’s what makes its transformation so exciting,” Mr Iafeta says.
“I encourage everyone to visit the physical or online versions of the exhibition to see how strong common preferences that came through in the public feedback have created a vision for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Area.
“We have an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a legacy that will deliver benefits for Christchurch and New Zealand’s future generations. The online component of the exhibition will allow people from Christchurch and all around New Zealand to have their say, which will inform the development of the draft regeneration plan for the area.”
The exhibition will show how an 11-kilometre “Green Spine” from the city to New Brighton, that features walkways, biking tracks and wetland developments, will be complemented by other potential public and private uses.
Regenerate Christchurch is responsible for developing the regeneration plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor and has considered more than 5,000 ideas submitted by the community, as well as surveys, technical reports and studies.
Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor announcement
In its selection of the refined shortlist of land use options for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Area, Regenerate Christchurch has announced that a position of bold environmental leadership underpins its planning for the future use of the land, which includes the area previously known as the residential red zone.
Water quality and public access to the natural environment are identified as priorities with a mix of naturally-occurring and new activities.
The Chair of Regenerate Christchurch, Sue Sheldon, says an 11-kilometre “Green Spine” from the city to New Brighton, walkways and biking tracks, wetlands developments and a variety of other potential public and private land uses will provide a range of opportunities for private, not-for-profit and community investment and attract up to 1 million unique visitors annually.
“Water quality in the area - which is nearly twice the size of New York’s Central Park and four times the size of London’s Hyde Park - has been a particularly strong consideration, with 83 percent of people surveyed by Nielsen in 2017 prioritising groundwater quality in the area and 72 percent prioritising water quality in its rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands,” Ms Sheldon says.
Regenerate Christchurch is responsible for developing the regeneration plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor and has considered more than 5,000 ideas submitted by the community, as well as surveys, technical reports and studies. Since the publication in October 2017 of 10 possible combinations of uses for the area, public feedback has identified strong common preferences, which have informed the development of a refined shortlist that will feature in an upcoming public exhibition.
Chief Executive Ivan Iafeta says extensive analysis has identified how improvements to water quality and the environment could be achieved, creating genuine long-term social, cultural, environmental, educational, health and economic benefits for Christchurch and New Zealand.
The Green Spine will be up to 150 metres wide on each side of the river with large areas of ecological restoration, wetlands, community spaces such as barbecue areas and coffee stops, and will support access to the river. Elsewhere, there are three significant areas suitable for a variety of potential public and private land uses reflecting themes of Food and Culture; Experiencing Nature; and Activity and Play.
“These will create opportunities for school children and researchers to learn about the natural environment to better understand the challenges and opportunities within a truly living laboratory. Ecological, food, cultural and recreational experiences, sustainable agriculture and adaptable housing will be part of a unique urban environment,” Mr Iafeta says.
One 31-hectare wetland area between Horseshoe Lake and New Brighton Road will treat stormwater run-off from as many as 10,000 properties and improve water quality in the Ōtākaro Avon River and Horseshoe Lake, which is culturally significant to Ngāi Tūāhuriri. A further 49 hectares of wetlands elsewhere in the corridor area will treat stormwater run-off from another 15,000 properties.
“Implementation of the plan is likely to be the beginning of a 30-year intergenerational programme of work. But the decisions that public institutions, private entities and the wider community make today, will create the world that future generations will judge us on,” Ms Sheldon says.
“In deciding the land uses for the refined shortlist we have determined that three potential uses previously considered will not be progressed any further. They are large-scale housing, a land-swap to enable the establishment of a golf course within the corridor area and a flatwater facility.”
Regenerate Christchurch was required to assess the feasibility of constructing an open water course suitable for international events. Last year, three possible options were included in the 10 possible combinations of land uses: a 1.1-kilometre out-of-river flatwater facility, a 2.2-kilometre in-river flatwater facility and a 2.2-kilometre out-of-river flatwater facility.
Mr Iafeta says extensive expert analysis determined that an in-river option would be subject to frequent algal blooms, and an out-of-river flatwater option would prevent the provision of stormwater treatment that would significantly improve the water quality in Horseshoe Lake.
“In addition, expert analysis found that keeping a 2.2-kilometre out-of-river flatwater facility free of algal bloom would require 43 million litres of water to be extracted from Christchurch’s deep-water aquifers every day. That is about a third of the average amount currently used in the city every day for drinking water.
“The water would need to go into the flatwater facility from the aquifers and then be flushed out into the Ōtākaro Avon River, increasing the flow of the river by about a third and causing greater flood risk and affecting the river’s banks and existing ecology.”
Information about the refined shortlist of potential land uses will be released for public comment as part of a wider engagement programme, which will begin with a public exhibition. An announcement on the timing and venue will be made shortly.