City's walking tracks reopen

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 02/01/2013

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Walkers have welcomed the reopening of several popular Christchurch tracks, with more expected to be cleared of earthquake hazards this year.

Many Port Hills tracks were closed after the quake in February 2011, mainly because of rockfall risk.

Quake victims Ian Foldesi and Owen Wright were killed by falling rocks that afternoon while on walking tracks near Lyttelton.

Christchurch City Council contractors had moved dangerous rocks to ensure tracks could open this summer and more were expected to reopen this year.

Pilgrims Way (the Godley Head to Taylors Mistake walkway) and Major Hornbrook Track were scheduled to open next month.

Walker Cushla Shearer said yesterday it was great the tracks were starting to open up because the community really enjoyed them.

Friend and fellow walker Denise Templeton, who used to live in Christchurch but now lives in Central Otago, said Pilgrims Way was a fantastic track. The tracks were well used and it was vital their reopening was made a "top priority".

The self-confessed Port Hills fan planned to spend part of her Christchurch holiday walking the various tracks, including a visit to the Sign of the Takahe today.

Council acting unit manager transport and greenspace Sally Davis said the council was repairing and opening tracks with minor damage first.

Once this work was completed, the focus would shift to other tracks, including the link between Rapaki Rock and Mt Cavendish, one of the only sections of the Crater Rim walkway still closed.

That section of the track required significant remedial work before it could be reopened to the public, Davis said. The council was investigating the extent of remediation required for the Bridle Path. Work was under way on the Urumau Reserve, Eastenders Track and the top section of the Captain Thomas Track in Greenwood Park and Scarborough Bluffs Track.

Walkers were being urged to obey closure signs, but The Press saw several walkers on fenced-off tracks yesterday. Templeton said several people climbed over the fence as there was no obvious hazard. However, the council advised people the dangers were not always immediately obvious.

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- The Press

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