MP Gerry Brownlee makes sporting declaration

Last updated 05:00 02/12/2013
Opinion poll

What do you think of Gerry Brownlee's idea for a large water sports park in the red zone?

Great, this is exactly what's needed.

It won't make a difference. The eastern suburbs are stuffed.

This is just Brownlee grandstanding.

Vote Result

Related Links

Rower guns for new facility

Relevant offers

The Rebuild

EQC close to announcing increased liquefaction risk policy Office space 'outpacing' tenant demand Quake journey over for group of elderly neighbours SCIRT under investigation for worker injury but maintains safe record TEDx ChCh: Top five speakers and moments Central city apartments flooding market post-quake Livestream: TEDx 2015 Christchurch Hospo in Christchurch 2015: Nothing is easy, nothing impossible Convention centre delays force major medical conference to Auckland Editorial: Christchurch's rebuild is driving the national economy

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee wants to use the vacant residential red zone to make Christchurch the "sporting capital of New Zealand".

Brownlee said yesterday that the large amount of land in the city's east could become home to a large recreational water course - and solve the area's flooding problem at the same time. Combined with the stadium planned for the central city, Christchurch could achieve "sporting capital" status, he said.

The comments come as demolition is accelerated in the residential red zone, with all flatland residential areas due to be cleared by the end of next year.

Brownlee said he had previously been reluctant to speak about what could be done with the vacant land while residents were still making decisions about their future.

However, 6500 people had now shifted out.

Christchurch was a sporting city and could be recognised for that in the future, he said.

The red-zoned east could become an addition to the city's sporting facilities, with a water course "unique in the Southern Hemisphere".

The park could service rowing, triathlon and open water swimming.

"You can't leave the shingle stopbanks there forever."

Brownlee said he had "taken a couple of hours out" to speak to people involved in building internationally-acclaimed Dorney Lake, near Windsor, while he was in London for Margaret Thatcher's funeral.

He understood the Olympic rowing lake had a drying impact on the surrounding land.

Brownlee said the water park plan would need to involve the Christchurch City Council, but there was nothing formalised yet.

"It's a discussion that needs to be had. It would be a massive asset to the city.

"I'm happy to be held to it if it's a very long timeline."

Canterbury Rowing regional manager John Wylie was unaware Brownlee was looking at the water park concept.

He said the organisation had been advocating such a plan for years, and hoped Brownlee's comments were "an indication there is an ability to do it".

An earlier plan for a water park between Sparks and Cashmere roads was shelved after the earthquakes.

Wylie hoped a watercourse could be "piggybacked" with drainage work in the eastern suburbs. The quakes had narrowed the Avon River and rowers based at Kerrs Reach could not go beyond the Avondale Bridge.

High-performance and senior rowers had been training on the Waimakariri and Selwyn rivers in the interim.

Wylie said the capacity for water sports to grow was there.

Ad Feedback

- The Press


Special offers
Opinion poll

Is it worth spending extra to repair heritage buildings?

Yes, Christchurch needs to invest in its heritage buildings

No, we should embrace modern design if it is cheaper and quicker

Only some heritage buildings are worth the money

Vote Result

Related story: Landmark church nearly $1m short

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content