An exciting 12 kilometre transitional trail along the banks of the Ōtākaro/Avon River will open in stages from spring. Work to prepare the Avon Trail started last week and Cantabrians will be walking, running or cycling sections of the trail from Barbadoes Street to Pages Road in New Brighton from later this year.
The full trail is expected to open in early 2018. Christchurch City Council contractors will prepare most of the trail at the same time as the upgrade of the temporary stopbanks. The first section of work will start this month from Retreat Road/Avonside Drive through to the Gayhurst Road Bridge.
The top of the stopbanks will be smoothed and a fine gravel surface added that will be suitable for a wide range of uses. Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the trail announcement is great news for the city and will really help promote the regeneration of New Brighton and the surrounding area.
“This will really showcase what’s possible in terms of the journey from the city to the sea. I can see this really taking off.” Avon-Ōtākaro Network is leading this project and community volunteers will help prepare some sections of the trail. Evan Smith, from Avon-Ōtākaro Network describes the trail as “a great transitional initiative to give everyone easy access to the amenity of the lower Avon and surrounding red zone.”
“Now the former red zone land alongside the river has mostly been vacated, cleared and grassed, people are beginning to see the true extent and potential of the river corridor. The more we can offer as many folk as possible the opportunity to explore this, the better.”
Regenerate Christchurch has helped coordinate this work, while the Ministry of Social Development has provided some funding. It is expected the transitional trail will remain in use for at least two years, as the largest regeneration opportunity in New Zealand’s history unfolds around it and opportunities for a permanent connection from the city to the sea are explored, says Regenerate Christchurch Chief Executive Ivan Iafeta.
“The transitional trail will be an enjoyable way for people to reconnect with this land and the river and understand the importance of this area’s regeneration to Christchurch’s future.”
More information is available at engage.regeneratechristchurch.nz/trail