Draft City Plan: Dreaming Green

Last updated 10:16 12/08/2011

Christchurch City Council unveiled its draft central city plan yesterday and it's getting rave reviews from many sides.

I'm keen on most of these ideas too, and it must have been fun for Mayor Bob Parker and his team to dream big with $1.95 billion to spend over 20 years.

Want a new central library worth $115 million? Sure! A $200 million convention centre? Absolutely! More than $400 million for light rail transit between the CBD and Canterbury University? Think bigger! How about a $4 billion city-wide light rail network!

The proposal that really excites me - and is achievable within a few years - is a expanded park alongside the Avon River. The draft plan calls for a ''a pedestrian, cycle and recreation friendly river park'' in the central city.

Done properly, this sinuous park would follow the Avon all the way to the estuary and link into the vast residential red zone in east.

Thousands of homes along the river are to be abandoned, because the land is low and wet and prone to liquefaction.

Turn that land into park divvying up parcels for every recreation need while creating wetland corridors for nature's benefit and make east Christchurch fantastic.

Everybody has their favorite project and the Avon River is mine. But it's shared. The Avon River Park Facebook group has 1500 ''likes''  based on this notion: ''Imagine a park running the length of the red zone, with river walks, bird sanctuaries, BMX and horse-riding tracks, sports fields, picnic grounds, natural swamps and marshes ... estuarine near the Estuary, with changing native flora as it goes further inland and the geography changes. A park that returns a bit of Christchurch to what it was like, and what it can be.''

Yes please!

- The Press

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