Chch plans city-to-sea-road revival

REJUVENATED: An artist's impression of the proposed redevelopment of Ferry Rd, showing the commercial centre of Woolston.
REJUVENATED: An artist's impression of the proposed redevelopment of Ferry Rd, showing the commercial centre of Woolston.

A two-stage project to revamp the main transport corridor and commercial areas between central Christchurch and seaside suburbs is about to be launched by the city council.

The project focuses on the Ferry Rd-Main Rd corridor and is designed to help breathe new life into earthquake-hit areas.

The first stage of the project will cover Ferry Rd from Fitzgerald Ave to the Ferrymead Bridge and will see a draft master plan issued for public comment early next year.

In the interim plan, the council outlines its ideas for:

Enhancing commercial areas along Ferry Rd.

Adding to the vibrancy of public spaces along the route.

Improving pedestrian and cycling connections in the area.

Bus priority measures at key intersections.

Thematic planting along the corridor.

Providing more support for business owners.

The Ferry Rd corridor has played a significant role in the development of Christchurch's economy since the Heathcote River was first used to ferry goods towards the city, but it has changed dramatically since the quakes.

Damaged roads, car parks rutted with potholes, dust and road-repair programmes have affected how people move about the area and have made it less appealing to visit.

An estimated 38 commercial, community or industrial premises along the corridor have been demolished, and with fewer people visiting the area and some key amenities, such as supermarkets, closed, foot traffic in the area has fallen.

That has affected many of the businesses along Ferry Rd. Feedback from a Woolston business owner suggests turnover has dropped by 40 per cent and that turnover has dropped in general by 20 per cent for other businesses.

Along the Ferry Rd corridor through to Ferrymead, resident populations have not changed significantly since the quakes but in areas east of Ferrymead through to Sumner the average population has decreased by just over 10 per cent, council estimates show.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, in the foreword for the interim master plan, said the council was determined to ensure the Ferry Rd corridor remained a vital lifeline for the city and an asset for local communities. "The area's rich history will be reflected and celebrated in the design of buildings and landscapes, and shopping centres will be exciting, welcoming places to visit. The recreational potential of the Opawaho-Heathcote River and the Ihutai-Avon-Heathcote Estuary will be enhanced through improved cycle and walkways, heritage trails, landscaping and more places to stop and rest," he said.

Hagley-Ferrymead Communi ty Board chairman Bob Todd said that in discussing the recovery and rebuild of the commercial centres along the Ferry Rd-Main Rd corridor, the board had been adamant that the length of the corridor, despite its size, needed to be dealt with as a whole.

"Board members firmly believe that decisions around the recovery and rebuild of one area has a direct impact on the next, and that a unified and consistent approach to master planning will have long-term benefits for the corridor as a whole," Todd said.

To make the project manageable, the project had been divided into two phases - beginning with the area between the city (Fitzgerald Ave) and the Ferrymead Bridge.

Todd said it was important that people had their say on the interim master plan. It is due to be approved by the board today before going to the full council next month. Subject to the council's approval, it will be made available to the public in January.

The Press