Park tipped as big boost to tourism

A new $25 million adventure park in Christchurch's Port Hills will attract thousands of extra international and domestic visitors to the city, a tourism leader says.

The 358-hectare park on forest land between Dyers Pass, Worsleys and the Summit roads, had a broad appeal, Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said.

"I think once it gets going it will attract an extra 100,000 visitor nights to Christchurch."

He believed it would encourage those already visiting the city to stay longer and would attract a big contingent of backpackers and young people.

"Having the attraction so close to the city really is going to meet a need that we think is there at the moment."

Canadian developers Select Evolution said it hoped to start construction of the park this year after the project was granted resource consents this week.

The park would be the largest lift-accessed downhill mountain bike park in the southern hemisphere, the company said.

It would include more than 120 kilometres of downhill mountainbike routes, a 1.8km chairlift for people and bikes, 2km of zip lines through the forest, a mountain coaster and a restaurant and bar seating up to 180 people.

The park would also include accommodation for up to 252 people in a combination of five lodges and 14 cottages.

There would be parking for 235 cars, walking trails, a bike school and rock-climbing activities.

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The land is owned by McVicar Holdings and would be leased by Select Evolution for a 50-year term.

The project has received overwhelming support, with 591 people writing submissions in favour and 32 against. While some nearby residents voiced their opposition to the project, the Cracroft Residents' Association supported the project but wanted to see traffic lights installed at the Worsleys and Cashmere Rd intersection.

Chairman Wayne Marriott said he was disappointed changes to the intersection were not included as a condition of the consent.

The association had been lobbying the council for a number of years to change the intersection, which would only become more congested and dangerous once the adventure park was built, Marriott said.

Traffic engineer Grant Smith told the consent hearing the intersection needed traffic lights now because of the amount of traffic.

He did not believe the adventure park contributed significantly to delays at the intersection because its busiest days would be generally on the weekend when traffic volumes on Cashmere Rd were lower.

Marriott said the association would continue lobbying the council to make improvements at the intersection.

People have 15 working days to appeal the commissioners' decision to the Environment Court.

 - The Press

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