Kaiapoi homes replaced by wide open green space

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 09/01/2013
tim pow
STACEY SQUIRES

STARK CHANGE: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority residential red-zone contracts manager Tim Pow stands in the first completed block clearance of residential sections.

DON SCOTT
DAMAGE ZONE: An aerial view of Courtenay Dr in February 2011. The houses on the left-hand side of this picture are part of the area which has now been cleared.

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One of Canterbury's first residential red-zone areas has been turned into one of the region's first earthquake-related green spaces.

A 25,000 square-metre area in Courtenay Dr in Kaiapoi used to be home to 23 houses, but the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes badly damaged the land and forced their demolition.

The once quiet, suburban street now resembles a giant park.

Courtenay Dr became the face of the September 2010 quake when the street was one of the hardest hit by liquefaction and flooding.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) residential red-zone contracts manager Tim Pow said the demolition was the biggest area of red-zone space to be cleared so far.

The Kaiapoi houses were red-zoned in August 2011, but the last of the 23 houses in the Courtenay Dr strip was not removed until November last year.

In the first week of December, Pow and his team cleared the area for "green-spacing", but kept native trees or clusters of bushes or plants where possible.

By Christmas they had sown the grass and erected fences around the area.

There had been a few surprises, he said, including a trampoline found buried.

Jennifer Wyatt, who lives opposite the new green space, said it was great to have a nice view again.

"It's absolutely wonderful . . . I like what they did with it."

Courtenay Dr resident Peter Jenkins, one of a handful of people who still live in the street, said those who remained loved the new vista.

"It's nice for those people that live opposite it rather than look at the mess we look at."

Pow said Cera was now responsible for keeping the area maintained, including mowing the grass.

The future use of the green space is still to be determined.

The project cost $75,000.

Pow said ultimately there would be about 650 hectares of green space around Canterbury on land freed up by residential red-zone demolitions.

TIMELINE

August 2011: Red zoned.

November 2012: Last house removed.

Early December 2012: Greenspace team move in to start clearing the land.

December 21, 2012: Greenspace team finish sowing the grass.

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