On August 23, 2019, Regenerate Christchurch welcomed a decision by the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, which approved their
Regeneration Plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor. Severely damaged by the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, this 602 hectares (1503 acres) area—referred to as the “red zone”—previously contained over five thousand homes.
Regenerate Christchurch Chief Executive Ivan Iafeta says it is a significant milestone for Christchurch, with the plan not only reflecting the
important history and heritage of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor but also setting out a bold aspirational vision for its future.
He said, “Extensive community engagement informed development of the vision of the river connecting us together – with each other, with nature and with new possibilities which are genuinely exciting. The Green Spine will connect the central city to New Brighton with a mix of recreational, commercial and community uses. And the opportunity to create an exemplar of climate change response that will benefit people and countries around the world will further enhance
Christchurch’s national and international point of difference.”
While the vision will continue to guide and influence decision-making long into the future, a sound, transparent governance structure will be important to ensure stewardship of the area, championing of the vision and attraction of the private investment that will be required over-and-above the public investment, Iafeta claimed.
Iafeta stated, “Since delivering the Regeneration Plan for the Minister’s decision-making, Regenerate Christchurch has provided advice to the Crown and Council on leadership and governance of the area. We believe an independent entity is required to provide strong governance and independence, and we welcome the inclusion of a governance entity in the Christchurch City Council’s Global Settlement Agreement with the Crown.”
“As for the Regeneration Plan itself, it is a plan that boldly champions environmental leadership whilst also providing flexibility to accommodate changing community views and technological advancements that might emerge over the course of the coming decades,” he concluded.
The Minister’s approval of the plan means changes will be made to the Christchurch District Plan to enable the land uses identified in the plan. Those changes will be based on the significant technical work that informed Regenerate Christchurch’s development of the plan, and research findings that demonstrated the community’s strong interest in protecting and enhancing the area’s natural environment.
Iafeta explained that the plan identifies land uses that are best for achieving the vision but does not explicitly rule out other potential land uses: “It is a plan that anticipates and accommodates the potential for change over time. This, I believe, will prove to be one of its greatest strengths.”
All images are courtesy of Regenerate Christchurch.