Government agency restricts access to levelled bike park site
A government agency that levelled a children's bike park on Christchurch red zone land has installed signs warning against trespassing on the site.
A group of up to eight youths spent more than three months constructing jumps and berms on a 100 metre stretch of land on Richmond Hill in Sumner. Last week, contractors flattened the boys' work.
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which owns the land acquired after the 2011 earthquake buyouts, said the soil mounds were hindering maintenance of the property.
It has now installed "no trespassing" signs along the boundary.
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LINZ land and property manager Matt Bradley said the signs were replaced earlier this week, as soon as LINZ became aware they were not there.
"Any time that people are wanting to use red zone land they've just got to make sure that they contact LINZ and give us an opportunity to talk to them," he said. "If we're not contacted obviously we can't help."
Parents on Thursday called the latest move "bullish" and "draconian".
Andrew Docking, whose son was one of the track builders, said the signs and a padlock by the gate were "absolutely ridiculous".
"I think it's a continuation of bullish behaviour ... it's just flexing muscles that don't need to be flexed.
"They just need to sit down and say, is there a better way to do this. Maybe they need to run a wire fence down the cliff."
Bradley said there were "a couple" of sites on Wakefield Ave, down the hill, that could be suitable.
"From our point of view, the site that was being used we had some concerns around the proximity of the bike park to the cliff edge.
"Obviously there are other sites in Sumner as well that we suggested might be more suitable."
But Docking, who spoke to LINZ, said so far there had been no discussion of better sites.
"They were saying everything you would expect them to say in their position – they're looking after Crown land and it's their job to make sure people are safe.
"I get all that, I certainly wasn't questioning their role. What I was questioning was how they apply those rules and why didn't they just have a chat with the kids and say there's a better day to deal with this."
Another parent, Erik Ellis, said added signage was "draconian".
"It's unfortunate. There were quite a few people who enjoyed the space," he said.