What should be done with the red zone?

16:00, Feb 20 2014

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has indicated 2014 is the year the future of Christchurch's residential red zone will be decided. NICOLE MATHEWSON spoke to community leaders about their hopes for the area.

Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch Mayor

''Christchurch could be the home to the largest natural wetlands within a city boundary based on Travis Wetlands and stretching into the red zone. Think of the eco-tourism potential that could provide, as well as the potential for learning experiences for children, with interpretation centres explaining the history of the wetlands, its native plants and the birdlife it already attracts.

''Think of the network of wetlands -  Styx Mill, Travis, Bexley, Charlesworth, and South Brighton and what that would mean in our city - and the potential to connect them through walkways and cycleways. What an incredible asset that would be.''

Ashley Campbell, Avon River Park Facebook page founder


''For as much of that land as is humanly possible to be turned back to natural habitats to bring native birds back to the city.

"I'd like to see kereru and tui and bellbirds and grey warblers and the whole like to be common place in the city.

''I'd like to see it be a place where people can go and walk and run and cycle and canoe and really get close to the land and to nature, so we no longer feel this division between city and nature.''

Poto Williams, Christchurch East MP

''When you're in the red zone you know that people didn't choose to leave.

"They left behind some really treasured memories and spaces.

''What I'd like is . . . for the initial stage to include reminders of the people who lived there.

"Let's retain these fruit trees and flowers people had planted . . . then we could move on to new and bright and shiny things.''

Paul Zaanen, New Brighton Business Association manager

''We want to see a wave garden on Owles Terrace - a community surfing venture, artificial surfing, right by the Avon River.

''We are also really passionate about the linkage of the CBD back to the sea.

"We want to connect the coast back to the city.''


Evan Smith, Avon-Otakaro Network co-chairman

''We want to turn the red zone green with the restoration of natural habitat, which includes enhancing biodiversity and enhancing waterways.

"We want a multipurpose park with cycleways and walkways and flat-water sports facilities.

"We want to improve the economic prosperity of the area by boosting tourism and hospitality.

"Basically we want to see it become the playground for the city.''

Leanne Curtis, Canterbury Communities' Earthquake Recovery Network spokeswoman

''It needs to be acknowledged that people lived there, that there were communities with houses there. That's about . . . making sure the red zoners who were there have an opportunity to talk about that kind of thing if they want to.

"[The ideas] will be different for every community and it should be different.

''I hope it's clean and it's healthy and it's life-giving, that it's a restful place. It's been such an ugly, traumatic place; it needs to be a place that brings healing.''

Andrea Cummings, Burwood-Pegasus Community Board chairwoman

''I want to see open, transparent consultation. [The red zone has] been something that the population around her have had no say in. It would be nice to give the community that, rather than just having a plan presented to them.

"I think it would be useful land for . . . flood minimisation, and if possible could be combined with a rowing lake.

"Most of all I want the land to be open and available for the public to use. I don't want to see it all partitioned off or gated off to private ventures.''

Deon Swiggs, Rebuild Christchurch founder

''That land has dropped - in some cases up to 600mm - so we need to identify the flooding risks that are out there . . . and then actually work out what ideas and visions the community have for that area.

''A rowing lake would actually help mitigate some of the flood risks out there; that would give the east an aquatic area which we can build industry around, like cafes and tourism. I'd like to see a heritage trail along the river because I think there's a lot of history the area has. We [need to] work with Ngai Tahu to find those places, and the community."

Do you have your own ideas for the future of the red zone? Submit them here

The Press