15 Mar 2017

Early assessments of the impact of the Port Hills fire on the Christchurch Adventure Park show the damage is worse than initially thought.

"We've got a long road ahead,'' Christchurch Adventure Park spokeswoman Anne Newman said Wednesday afternoon as a small group of media were allowed into the park for the first time since the fire.

Wet weather and hazards such as unstable rocks and fallen trees had prevented a full assessment of the park but early indications suggested the damage was more significant and more extensive than originally believed.

Ms Newman would not speculate on when the park would be able to re-open to the public but said it would be months, not weeks.

While the village had come through the fires unscathed, the fire had ripped through the areas where the zip lines were. The exact extent of the damage to the ziplines had yet to be determined as it was too dangerous to reach that area at present.  Likewise a full assessment of the chairlift had yet to be carried out. If there was damage to the chairlift, it could take some time to get replacement parts as they would need to be custom-made and shipped over from Austria.

Ms Newman said the park and its insurers were working closely with the land owner, McVicars, and their insurer to assess the damage and to work out what needed to be done to make the area safe. It was already clear a major logging operation would be needed before any work could be done on the park's tracks.

The park would not be taking any shortcuts to speed up the re-opening because safety had to come first.

Charred chairlift seats.

The fire charred chairlift seats but the full extent of the damage to the chairlift has yet to be assessed.

Ms Newman said it was important people understood the dangers of the current conditions in the park and stayed away from the area. 

Ms Newman said the park was closed to the public until further notice and the public were advised that access to the park was strictly prohibited.

“People breaching this warning will stretch our resources and jeopardise the time to assess and ultimately rebuild the park. We take health and safety extremely seriously. As soon as we have more information on the extent of the damage we will be able to schedule the remedial works and only then will we be able to estimate a re-opening date,’’ she said.