Whitewater and surfing park idea for Christchurch's residential red zone gains traction

Nick Mooney surfing at New Brighton beach.

Nick Mooney surfing at New Brighton beach.

A proposal to build surf and whitewater parks in the Christchurch red zone has gained quick support online.

Ian Fox and Nick Mooney, the minds behind Wai Huka o Waitaha (Whow), launched a Facebook page to promote their ideas earlier this week.

Almost 600 people had liked the page by Friday.

Regenerate Christchurch is asking for ideas to develop the residential red zone.

Regenerate Christchurch is asking for ideas to develop the residential red zone.

Whow proposes building the two parks using private partners rather than ratepayer money.

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The ideas were in the early stages of development, but Fox and Mooney said they were realistic plans.

Fox is a keen kayaker and Mooney loves surfing, so they work together while each researching their own park ideas.

Fox said the red zone was suitable because it was central, available, had access to the water table without impacting drinking water, and was far enough away from the sea to protect machinery from salt water.

The whitewater park would have an "easy" area, and a section designed for advanced competition.

"It's aimed at anyone. If you're capable of sitting on something that floats you can have fun at a whitewater park."

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Whitewater parks normally cost anywhere between $10 million and $50m, but he thought it could cost less in Christchurch because there was "more space to play with". 

"Then it depends on how many bells and whistles you add on."

He said a surf park could cost between $20m and $25m.

Mooney said the first step was to find out if the public would get behind the idea.

"We're not asking for a handout from Regenerate Christchurch or the [Christchurch City] Council. We're looking for a leg up just to help with maybe feasibility or business case studies."

He wanted private companies to invest in the idea.

"We definitely see it in line with the Christchurch Adventure Park."

The surf park would compliment the beach, but provide more consistent opportunities for local surfers, Mooney said.

"If the swell's not here in Christchurch, [surfers] have got to get in their cars and they drive to the West Coast, they drive to Kaikoura, they drive to Dunedin."

 - Stuff


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