First steps for Christchurch red zones announced, concrete plans yet to be made

A pedestrian on Oxford Terrace in the Avon Loop red zone.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

A pedestrian on Oxford Terrace in the Avon Loop red zone.

New details about the future use of Christchurch's red zone are being hailed as progress, despite no completion date or funds for the project.

Regenerate Christchurch announced on Thursday its first draft outline for a regeneration plan that will include the Avon River corridor from Oxford Tce to Stanmore Rd.

The remaining areas are divided into two zones. One taking in Avonside, Dallington, Wainoni, Burwood and Avondale. The other, Bexley and New Brighton.

Ivan Iafeta has announced the first steps to deciding what will happen with red zones along the Avon River corridor.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Ivan Iafeta has announced the first steps to deciding what will happen with red zones along the Avon River corridor.

Work on the outline will begin next week, but no date has been given for when the plan will be completed.

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The announcement did not contain concrete proposals and made fews references to the ideas developed by interest groups since the February 2011 earthquakes.

Bangor St in the Avon Loop.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

Bangor St in the Avon Loop.

However, community advocates and politicians praised the organisation's efforts to involve the community in the decision making.

Chief executive Ivan Iafeta said starting on the Oxford Tce to Stanmore Rd corridor meant Regenerate could "learn our way" in a less complex area.

Existing proposals there were for a walkway and a network of parks and playgrounds.

Remains of a park bench within the Avon Loop.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

Remains of a park bench within the Avon Loop.

Outlines will include an explanation of what the regeneration plan in the area will achieve, what the area will include, time periods and details of the opportunities for public engagement.

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 "So between next week and the end of the year [we will be] developing an outline for this [Oxford Tce-Stanmore Rd] area," Iafeta said.

There was no "existing pot of funding" held by Government or by council for the outcomes of outlines, he said.

However, potential funding avenues were already being explored for the Oxford Tce-Stanmore Rd section.

"There is funding, which is being held by the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Trust after all of the donations that were collected, of $15 million.

"It does provide an opportunity to consider one funding option for what might actually happen in here . . . I'm meeting with Department of Internal Affairs next week to understand what their criteria is around how that funding could be applied."

Labour's Canterbury spokeswoman Megan Woods said people would have liked to see certainty around the red zone sooner, but it was pleasing to see some progress.

"I think Regenerate Christchurch is to be congratulated on getting to this point and it's good to see something finally happening," she said.

If an outline was approved by Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee, then a draft regeneration plan would be developed.

Brownlee said he was looking forward to receiving the first of several outlines for the red zones.

"I'm confident the locally-led regeneration organisations will put forward plans that take a number of considerations into account, including social, environmental, commercial and financial factors.

"The opportunities presented by the city's residential red zones are unique and, if embraced, have the potential to create a long-lasting legacy for Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region," he said.

Otakaro would represent the Crown's interests in the residential red zones, ensuring opportunities for financial return were considered, alongside other future uses.

The Crown spent about $1.5 billion buying red zone land.

New Brighton Business and Landowners Association chairman Daniel Beker said he was looking forward to some concrete decisions being made about red zone uses over the next six to 18 months.

He was not expecting to see any concrete proposals for the red zones in Thursday's announcement.

"Regen's still in its infancy really, so I wouldn't have expected them to have committed to any firm proposals at this stage," Beker said.

"But I would expect some significant movement to be made in the next two years . . . the timeframes, you've got to be realistic about them."

Avon-Otakaro Network co-chairman Evan Smith said it supported Regenerate's plan of focusing on a "bite-sized" area first.

The announcement "at least" showed the process was starting.

"It's worth spending the time to get it right before embarking on it," he said.

"There's still a lot of communities around New Brighton where there's been a lot of talk and no action . . . people will take some time to be confident the talking will come to something."

Work will also start in the other two zones next week.

Regenerate will investigate land capability, infrastructure requirements and the feasibility of a proposed international water course in the red zone encompassing Avonside, Dallington, Wainoni and Avondale.

In the New Brighton and Bexley red zones, it will assess the influence of upriver decisions and coastal influences on land use options.

 - Stuff

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