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The Green Spine is proposed for the centre of the Otakaro Avon River Corridor, incorporating walking paths and cycle ways, playgrounds and picnic spots, and large areas of ecological restoration and wetlands

High public support for Otakaro Avon River Corridor land uses

Regenerate Christchurch has published the results of independent research by Nielsen which has identified an overwhelmingly positive response to the refined shortlist of land uses for the Otakaro Avon River Corridor regeneration area that was presented during a recent exhibition and public engagement.


The Otakaro Avon River Corridor runs from central Christchurch to New Brighton on the coast and includes an area of around 600 ha – more than three times the size of Hagley Park. The Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 caused unprecedented and widespread damage along the corridor, which includes the residential red zone, and since then much of the land has been acquired and cleared by the Crown.

The future of the corridor and the contribution the area could make to the regeneration of greater Christchurch is an important issue for the people and communities of the region.

In 2017, Regenerate Christchurch conducted a research, visioning and design phase before reducing 10 possible combinations of land uses into a refined shortlist that includes a ‘Green Spine’ running the length of the Otakaro Avon River from the city to the sea, and three distinct areas or ‘reaches’. During May and June this year, the public was able to provide feedback on this shortlist.

The report from Nielsen, released in August, summarises the results of this feedback and a representative survey which shows that 89% of greater Christchurch residents are positive about the land uses, with 91% rating the 11 km Green Spine positively.

Green Spine

The Green Spine is proposed to be the central corridor, up to 150 m wide on each side of the Otakaro Avon River, connecting the city to New Brighton. It will incorporate walking paths, nature trails, cycle ways, community spaces such as playgrounds, picnic spots, barbeque areas, coffee stops, large areas of ecological restoration and wetlands to improve stormwater management, and will support better access to the river.

The research has found that protection of native plants and wildlife, ecological restoration and habitat renewal, opportunities for recreation and sports, accessibility for all and the area’s multifunctional uses are the most preferred elements of the shortlist.

The elements that surveyed respondents were unsure about or did not like were commercial activities (10%), the inclusion of housing (9%), excessive motorised noise (6%), absence of a flatwater facility (6%), a gondola (5%), cost (5%) and negative impacts on current wildlife and plants (5%).

Despite a petition organised by proponents of a flatwater facility, only 6% of respondents in the representative survey were unsure of or did not like the absence of a flatwater facility from the shortlist.

Draft plan to be developed

Regenerate Christchurch chief executive Ivan Iafeta says the findings of the representative survey and feedback on the Red Zone Futures exhibition, which ran from 26 May to 30 June, will inform the development of the draft regeneration plan for the Otakaro Avon River Corridor, which will be provided to the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration for consideration.

The views of the Christchurch City Council, Environment Canterbury, Otakaro, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu will also inform development of the draft plan before it is publicly notified.

The report on the findings by Nielsen is available on the Regenerate Christchurch Engage website.  

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