Kiwi returning to Christchurch, wetland reserves filtering the city’s storm water and a marine reserve off the entrance to the Estuary.
These are just three exciting possibilities the public can explore at an all-day “Projects Forum” hosted by the Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON)..
They will also hear about new state-of-the-art cycling facilities, a flat-water sports hub and other plans for reinventing the residential red zone.
“AvON members have so many great ideas for Avon-Otakaro River Park, and now it’s time to start building support and working out how to make them happen,” says AvON co-chair Evan Smith.
“That’s why we’re holding this forum on March 16 — so those who are promoting plans can connect with supporters and really start making things happen.”
A planned eco-sanctuary to rival Wellington’s Zealandia is the brainchild of Landcare Research ecologist Dr Colin Meurk.
“Christchurch is the only major population centre that doesn’t have easy access to its unique and threatened wildlife,” he says. “We have under-played and under-valued our natural history and eco-tourism potential.”
An eco-sanctuary in the Avon-Otakaro River Park could see kiwi, weka, takahe, tui, saddlebacks, tuatara, geckoes and even kakapo return to Christchurch.
“Just as kaka have recently ventured out from Zealandia to nest in other parts of Wellington, so an eco-sanctuary could be the catalyst for the return of rare native birds to wider Christchurch,” Dr Meurk says.
Ecologist Ann Kennedy will present on how wetlands could restore wildlife habitat, and at the same time filter storm water — helping to clean up the Avon River. And film-maker Kathleen Gallagher is proposing a marine reserve outside the Estuary to improve biodiversity.
“We want people who are enthusiastic about these or any other plans to come along, throw their support behind their favoured project and help to make it happen,” says Evan Smith.
“If we all work together on the things that enthuse us as individuals, we can really reinvent the red zone, and turn it into something all of Christchurch can be proud of.”
WHAT: Avon-Otakaro Network Projects Forum
WHY: To connect people and ideas to reinvent the red zone
WHEN: Saturday, 16 March, 9:30am-4pm
WHERE: Christchurch City Council function room, Worcester Boulevard
Dr Colin Meurk is available for interview about his eco-sanctuary proposal. Contact him on (03) 321 9740, 027 702 8325 or email MeurkC@landcareresearch.co.nz.
For further information see attached flyer, or contact Evan Smith, ph 029 739 9796, email EvanS@qegroup.ac.nz.
Notes for editors
AvON is a not-for-profit group. Its vision is to “establish a community-driven science-informed living memorial to rejuvenate and nurture the long-term environmental, economic, community and spiritual wellbeing of the eastern suburbs and of those living throughout greater Christchurch. Our aim is to turn a tragedy into an opportunity, a polluted drain into a vibrant river system, and exhaustion and despair into hope and inspiration.”
www.avon.org.nz www.facebook.com/avonriverpark www.twitter.com/Avon_Otakaro