Work on river park to start mid-2013

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 12:38 20/12/2012

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Construction of a "gutsy'' new river park in Christchurch will start in the middle of next year, the government announced today.

Concept design work for the new river precinct and eastern frame in the city centre will start in January and will be completed in 65 days, said Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton.

New Zealand project management firm Opus and British design company BDP were announced as the team appointed to lead the project.

The river park and the eastern frame form a key part of the recovery blueprint for the city centre.

The river park follows the Avon from the hospital to Fitzgerald Ave, while the frame runs down the eastern edge of the CBD and will be a "campus style'' space with buildings surrounded by green space.

Sutton said he wanted the river park to be "gutsy'' like waterfront spaces in Melbourne and Brisbane and would include an "outrageous'' children's playground.

"It will have a really great children's playground near where Centennial Pool is at the moment. We want to draw people back into the city centre with an outrageous playground right in the heart of the city centre,'' he said.

Sutton said he wanted to see tangible rebuild progress in 2013. He said the river park would take about three years to build.

"2011 was the year when the ground was still shaking and the city council bought together the Share an Idea project, this year we have been taking those ideas and putting them into a plan, next year is the year when we really want to start doing things and see some real action happening here in the city,'' he said.

Sutton said the Opus and BDP team was a good mix of local knowledge and international expertise.

"We wanted people that really knew Christchurch, local people and an international consortium of people who have done this before.''

Opus project director Glen Hughes said no specific ideas for the river park had been drawn up yet.

"There are no broad ideas. Our ideas will be formed around the stakeholders,'' he said.

"This is the public realm of the city and we want to make it as good as it can be. We want spaces to relax and have fun.''

The river park will be about three kilometres long and about 60 metres wide. BDP is a large British design firm that has masterplanned large projects like Liverpool waterfront, a large waterfront park in china and Walthamstow town centre in London.

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- The Press

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