Christchurch perimeter walk has no signs

02:43, Feb 13 2014
Travis Wetlandf
TRAVIS WETLAND: The city's most important freshwater wetland for birds.

A walkway stretching 120 kilometres around Christchurch is missing one thing - signs.

Colin Meurk has spent about 25 years developing and lobbying for funding for a "Great Perimeter Walkway".

The ecologist says the idea is a "no-brainer" as it links predominantly existing walkways.

Riccarton Bush
RARE SIGHT: Riccarton Bush has magnificent 600-year-old kahikatea trees.

It connects the coast, volcanic hills, Christchurch streams, native bush, braided rivers, wetlands and the Waimakariri River. In 2009, the walkway, developed by Meurk through a sub-committee of Sustainable Otautahi Christchurch, won the "top commitment by an organisation" category at the inaugural Golden Foot Awards.

That same year the Christchurch City Council approved funding of $20,000 for the project to create signs and develop a guidebook.

That money was re-allocated after the earthquakes, and has never been given to Meurk.


Crater Rim track
HIGH-WAY: The Crater Rim track along the Port Hills boasts views across the city and Lyttelton harbour.

A council spokeswoman said the project was not budgeted for, but was recognised as a "potential project" for future funding.

Meurk, of Landcare Research, said he should have tried other ways of funding the signs and guidebook.

"The longer it is left, it's another day of lost opportunity," he said.

Colin Meurk
CALL TO ACTION: Colin Meurk says the tracks could become one of NZ's great walks.

"To me it was such a no-brainer. Here's something that will add value to the community at almost no cost, but provide another asset.

"The community needs to be promoting and marketing this as another reason why people can come here and stay here for an extra day or two or several days."

Meurk said everyone talked about creating an eco-city and this was one way of doing so.

Great Perimeter Walkway
GRAND DESIGN: Could this become one of NZ's great walks?

It would provide economic benefits to businesses, cafes and accommodation providers along the route.

The walkway, nicknamed Meurky's walk, complemented the city's existing natural assets, including Riccarton Bush, Travis Wetland Natural Heritage Park and the Port Hills.

He believed it would become one of New Zealand's great walks if developed properly.

The Press