Leaner lake and canal proposed for Christchurch red zone
A new design for a proposed flat water facility in Christchurch's red zone features a narrower lake and a canal.
East Lake Trust chairman David Goodman said the new design would give rowers more choice on where they practiced and would protect the lake from wind.
He said the trust always wanted to return the Avon River to its original course around the outside of Porritt Park.
The river was diverted and straightened in 1950 to allow rowing races along Kerr's Reach.
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The proposed canal intersects Porritt Park, which Goodman said would "take pressure off" the bend in the river.
The canal would allow rowers and paddlers to launch into the river as they did now.
"They have the choice between the river or the lake."
Rowing club buildings would stay in the same place, but the land would be reshaped around them, Goodman said.
"The lake absorbs that space in front of the existing rowing sheds."
He said the trust had budgeted "several million" dollars to upgrade the buildings, though that was not a priority.
Two bridges would connect the island car park and sports facilities to the rest of the city.
In the new design, the proposed lake is about 200 metres wide. In previous images it was 400m at its widest point
Goodman said that was partly to save money and partly because it was easier to protect a narrower lake from the wind.
Planting trees along the eastern side of the lake would form a windbreak, preventing waves from forming in the predominant north-easterly wind.
Goodman said the trust wanted to "soften" the area with plantings to make it look more natural.
"We don't want it to look like a rowing lake, as such."
He would not confirm the lake's estimated pricetag, because the trust was in discussions with Regenerate Christchurch to agree on costs.
In May, Regenerate Christchurch released the results of a community engagement survey on the red zone, which found the most-valued theme, with 40 per cent of the vote, was "community connection/participation".
Within that theme, the second-most common idea people suggested – after walkways and cycleways – was water sports facilities and a purpose-built rowing lake.
An "open water course suitable for international water sports events" was the only project specifically encouraged by the Christchurch City Council and the Crown in a letter of expectations to Regenerate Christchurch last year.