Ōtākaro Limited has now completed work on the Worcester East Terrace and Worcester Bridge punt stop.
The two sites flanking the bridge are the newest additions to Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct. They make it easy for everyone to get down to the water’s edge to get a look at the wildlife, with wheelchair ramps incorporated into the river bank for the first time.
“The completion of the Worcester East Terrace and Punt Stop builds on the appeal and accessibility improvements provided by the Terraces, near the Bridge of Remembrance. These sites will allow people of all ages to enjoy these waterside spaces and the hospitality and retail offerings nearby,” says Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive Albert Brantley.
Eel habitats in the terrace and punt stop are also ready for occupation.
Two years ago almost 1600 fish, including over 900 eels, were relocated upstream while thousands of tonnes of liquefaction sand and silt were removed from this section of the Avon River. Now the fish can return to a cavity included in the Worcester East Terrace that eels can access through pipes laid into the concrete below the waterline.
Principal scientist at EOS Ecology Shelley McMurtrie says it is heart-warming to see design features benefitting our freshwater fish.
“Vertical smooth edges along our rivers are usually detrimental to aquatic life, but by building in these 'tuna townhouses' we have been able to turn it into much-needed habitat for our precious longfin eels and other native fish,” says Miss McMurtrie.
People can also get a bit of rest on the new mōkihi benches recently installed along the grassy western side of the river. The benches have been designed to resemble the simple flax vessels used to cross lakes and rivers.
The Avon River Precinct will be tied together by 50,000m of paved shared space that will form a lighted city promenade along the Oxford Terrace side of the river from the hospital to the Margaret Mahy Family Playground.