Planned coastal pathway would cost $26m

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 02/02/2013
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A proposed 6.5-kilometre coastal pathway between Ferrymead and Scarborough that could attract more than a million users is likely to cost about $26 million.

The figure is from Wellington landscape architects Wraight and Associates, which were commissioned by the Christchurch City Council and the Christchurch Coastal Pathway Group to produce a concept plan.

Under the plan the path would be four metres wide and snake along the Avon-Heathcote Estuary beside tidal mudflats, through a reinstated beach in Redcliffs, along boardwalks on Moncks Bay's frontages and across the beaches at Sumner.

It would be for pedestrians and cyclists and provide access to areas of the coastline previously off-limits.

The pathway is a long-held ambition of the Mt Pleasant, Redcliffs and Sumner communities, but until now there has not been a unified vision for it.

In a report to be presented to the Hagley Ferrymead Community Board next week, Wraight and Associates said the pathway had the potential to become a key attraction in Christchurch - "a necklace of jewels connecting communities" - with more than a million users a year.

"The proposed cycleway and pedestrian path could be more than a route between suburbs," the firm said.

"It could provide new amenity, new recreation facilities and new access. It could enhance ecology, tourism and community facilities and it could celebrate the natural and cultural qualities of some of the areas worst affected by the 2010-11 earthquakes."

It estimated the cost at $26m, but suggested it could be done in six stages.

City council senior planner Mark Rushworth said no commitment had been made by any party to the funding or construction of the pathway.

Before the council made any funding commitment, it needed to analyse the costs in more detail.

"The concept plan provides a basis for considering the implications and benefits of a coastal pathway. It also provides a vehicle for the Coastal Pathway Group to seek external funding, including sources such as the prime minister's Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Fund," Rushworth said.

Group chairwoman Linda Rutland said it was not expecting the council to be the sole funder of the pathway as it hoped to raise several million dollars in external funding.

As soon as the draft concept plan was approved by the council, the group would begin putting in funding applications and approaching potential benefactors.

"The concept plan is still very much in its infancy stage but we are just so pleased to be able to move forward with a new vision for the area. This is the single most important project to get this area back on track," Rutland said.

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"This pathway is for the whole of Christchurch. It will bring people in from all over."

The draft concept plan cost $50,000 to produce.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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