Christchurch perimeter walk has no signs

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 07:36 13/02/2014
Great Perimeter Walkway

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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.

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.

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.

"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.

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.

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- The Press

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