We previously told you about the vision of the Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON) to have a corridor running along the Avon River through parts of the red-zoned Christchurch East for recreational activities, nature reserves and wetlands, and walking/cycling routes. Now that vision has received a bit of a boost with the announcement last week of $15 million of funding from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust, towards projects that will connect the Avon River precinct in town through eastern Christchurch to the sea.
The Avon River is one of the thirteen Major Cycleway Routes planned by the City Council for development over the next five years. It was always a bit unclear however how that would fit in with the community-driven vision of AvON, which had received lots of public support, but little specific public funding (although the City Council had committed $6 million towards the central city Avon corridor to go with CERA’s contribution). So this $15 million clearly provides an opportunity to get the ball rolling, and the AvON group are keen for the community to help determine how it is spent.
In the meantime, there have also been lots of good investigations by various people at both Canterbury and Lincoln Universities to determine how the red-zoned land could be re-used. This includes determining its value for flood management, preservation of ecology, developing walking/cycling routes, and valuing the overall benefits to the community. So there is no shortage of recent material from which to develop some implementation plans.
The Avon River cycleway route is tentatively planned for implementation by Council during 2015-17; I don’t know whether this recent funding announcement means that the timing of some parts may change for the better. Either way, hopefully the end product will allow more people to enjoy one of our jewels in the crown by foot and bike as they go about their business in east Christchurch.