Green CBD falls short - environmentalists
The greening of the future central Christchurch is a good start but appears not to go far enough, environmental advocates say.
The blueprint released on Monday envisages a central city cradled between the Avon River and a green "frame" on the eastern and southern sides of the city.
Green Party MP Eugenie Sage said the plan's green corridor along the banks of the Avon did not fully meet the expressed desires of thousands of Christchurch residents.
"I broadly welcome the concept of the frame to the east and south," she said.
"A more compact central city makes sense, and the UDS [Urban Development Strategy] encourages more intensive residential development within the central city to help prevent urban sprawl.
"Where they have identified that public land along the Avon it is much smaller and narrower than the Otakaro-Avon Park proposal that 18,000 people voted for."
It did not appear to extend to the sea as had been proposed, Sage said. "But that might just be because the [residential] red-zone land issue is not settled yet."
A covered sports stadium was "way, way, way down the list as a priority, and only if we can afford it".
"The public need to have a say in the scale and design of these big buildings."
Forest & Bird Canterbury-West Coast field officer Jen Miller said: "The idea of that open green core and the Avon-Otakaro walkway development, I think, will provide a wonderful opportunity to bring a unique natural heritage into the city and mark the specialness of this place.
"We've always referenced that English heritage here, but maybe now we need to reference our New Zealand heritage.
"But I would be keen for this Government and Cera [Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority] to make some suggestions around red-zone land and the biodiversity corridor around the Avon, from the city right through to the sea."
She agreed with moves to make changes to the course of the Avon.
"The river is already very confined and unnatural. Widening it gives some better opportunity for habitat, and that's a good thing," she said.
Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs said an Avon River park from the city to the sea was still on the cards.
"That's something we will look at as we get under way with the central city Avon River precinct, but it certainly would be great if it could be achieved."
Environment Canterbury chief commissioner Dame Margaret Bazley applauded the concept for the Avon and the frame.
"I think it is the best part of the whole plan and I hope there are trees everywhere."
Of particular interest were the plans for the new central-city bus interchange, she said.
“Every modern city has an efficient public transport system which provides easy access to the city and its amenities. We are really pleased to see a new interchange located centrally," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should Christchurch build a 35,000-seater covered stadium?Related story: Key backs covered stadium