Redcliffs residents win pathway fight

COASTAL PATHWAY: Redcliffs looking toward Pegasus Bay.
COASTAL PATHWAY: Redcliffs looking toward Pegasus Bay.

Redcliffs residents with prime waterfront properties have won a battle to get a proposed multimillion-dollar coastal pathway routed away from their homes.

It was proposed to snake a four-metre-wide coastal pathway for pedestrians and cyclists along the Avon-Heathcote Estuary beside tidal mudflats, through a reinstated beach in Redcliffs, along boardwalks in Moncks Bay and across the beaches at Sumner.

But councillors voted today to amend the proposed route of the pathway after hearing the concerns of a group of Redcliffs residents with properties abutting the Estuary.

Speaking on behalf of the residents, Grant Hargrove told councillors that while residents supported the concept of a coastal pathway they were opposed to it being routed in front of their properties as it would impede their views and compromise their access to the water.

Hargrove said the route proposed by Wellington landscape architects Wraight and Associates would also divert the public away from the Redcliffs commercial area and destroy the concept of waterfront properties in Christchurch.

He suggested to councillors that rather than face years of legal wrangling they should amend the route to take the pathway through the Redcliffs village.

Michael Sleigh, from the Christchurch Coastal Pathways Group, told councillors he accepted that the residents held genuine concerns and the group would be willing to amend the route if they could get 100 per cent community support for the project and avoid any more delays.

"It will be a 90 per cent coastal pathway but we can live with that. The most important thing is that we get it started,'' he said.

Earlier, Sleigh had told councillors the coastal pathway could attract about a million people annually and turn around the fortunes of coastal suburbs badly hit by the earthquakes.

"This could be a very significant asset for Christchurch overall,'' he said.

The pathway could be built in stages and done in conjunction with the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team's (Scirt) road repairs in the area.

"Let's make this thing happen,'' he said.

Councillors voted unanimously to put the concept plan out for public consultation but amended it to exclude the option of the pathway being routed in front of waterfront properties.

They also requested council staff prepare a detailed report on the exact costs of the project, its timing and how it could fit in with Scirt's work programme.

"Out of the earthquakes we have been given some opportunities,'' Cr Tim Carter said.

"This coastal pathway is one of the huge positive opportunities we have to add an asset to this city."

The council has still to decide whether it will contribute funding towards the construction of the pathway.

That decision will be made as part of its budgetary process.

The Press