A new riverside trail that takes walkers, runners and cyclists from the city to the sea via the red zone has been completed.
Up to 50 directional signs and maps featuring Te Ara Ōtākaro Avon River Trail’s footprint logo have also been placed alongside the route and on pathways.
In collaboration with the Avon-Ōtākaro Network (AvON) and Regenerate Christchurch, the Christchurch City Council Parks and Land Drainage Teams have developed the 11-kilometre trail.
While the future of the area is still being decided, the new trail offers the opportunity to explore the red zone and highlights the area’s potential.
Council Head of Parks Andrew Rutledge says the transitional trail from the city centre to New Brighton reopens the area to wider use.
“Initially, we were focused on earthquake repairs to the trail, which supports rowing and other paddling sports, as the coaches – particularly from the schools programmes – are required to cycle and have eye contact with boat crews at all times for safety purposes,” Mr Rutledge says.
“This involved replacing the damaged footbridge and re-establishing the trail between Kerr’s Reach and the Avondale Road Bridge. The trail work was integrated into the temporary stop bank upgrade being planned by the Council’s Land Drainage team.
“Once we completed the bridge work and the cycle link through the Kerr’s Reach car park, the public responded immediately, with many walkers and cyclists utilising the new link.”
The timing coincided with Regenerate and AvON approaching the Council to explore the development of the trail.
“The Council has funded the trail work from budgets dedicated to red zone remediation,” Mr Rutledge says. “Where appropriate, it has been incorporated into the temporary stop bank upgrade project, linking to normal and closed roads.
“Our Land Drainage colleagues have been fantastic in accommodating and supporting the initiative. The project would not have succeeded if they hadn’t allowed us to disrupt their project to incorporate the trail.
“The tops of the stop banks have been smoothed, with a fine gravel surface aiding a range of trail uses.
“Four large map boards show the whole route while a series of kilometre markers means users can log their progress throughout the trail.
“The directional signs and small maps help walkers and riders with road crossings, especially when the trail crosses from one side of the river to the other.”
AvON signage – telling the stories of the river, land and communities of the corridor – will also be installed over the next few months.
AvON spokesperson Evan Smith says the trail aims to reconnect communities along the lower Avon River corridor and re-engage the people of Christchurch with the potential of red zone regeneration.
He hopes that the trail will encourage more local residents and visitors to explore the area.
The transitional trail is expected to remain for at least two years while red zone development options are considered and explored.