A Forest Park Vision for the Christchurch Red Zone
Our vision is to transform Christchurch’s Red Zone into a vibrant, city-to-sea native forest park along the Avon-Otakaro River.
We believe this land should be returned to nature, creating a ribbon of green from the town centre to New Brighton. The Avon Otakaro Forest Park plan would provide a setting for multi-use sensitive recreation within an ecological paradise for native flora and fauna. A clean, green forest park to be enjoyed by all.
A forest park and wetlands for the Christchurch Red Zone would not only be a huge benefit from a recreational perspective. It would also benefit the city in many other areas such as native biodiversity, pollution, contaminant removal, carbon storage, flood management, stormwater resilience, and mental and physical health. It would see the return of our native flora and fauna, be a fantastic tourist attraction and a catalyst for struggling communities in the east. It would create a recreational green connection from the city to Brighton, drawing people back to the area helping to recreate Brighton as a destination again. It would also provide a financial return for the city both directly and indirectly through a number of different revenue streams, based on existing park revenue models.
The proposed native forest park and wetlands masterplan is based on a sensitive, low cost and high return philosophy that would be accessible and open to the whole community and visitors to Christchurch. The proposal would include a network of footpaths, bike tracks, community parks with natural play areas, high ropes courses, and forest campground with camping pods and tree houses. A multi-use revenue generating visitor centre with education, cafe, function, and hire facilities is also proposed.
The above plan is our masterplan for Avon Otakaro Forest Park, by Landscape Architect Mark Huxtable, released in 2015.
We are happy to have had support from fellow red zone campaigners Greening the Red Zone who helped us to promote our plan.
Below are some of of the many low cost, high benefit and environmentally sensitive recreation ideas we support. Our philosophy is to work with nature to integrate recreation throughout the Forest park proposal. We believe any proposals in the red zone should be open and accessible and be of benefit to all people from all walks of life in our community. We believe that the red zone can become a wonderful recreational conduit to draw people from the city to New Brighton. We also support New Brighton as a candidate to host a major recreational attraction for East Christchurch in order to provide a catalyst for badly needed urban regeneration.
We believe there should be a place for everyone in the Red Zone, that's why we're advocating for community gardens which are led and driven by and for the local community. Community gardens could be close to existing communities on the fringes of the red zone, where they could provide opportunities for activities like play, picnic areas, food growing, art, etc.
As well as direct revenue generation, the forest park will also provide numerous benefits which are either indirectly generate revenue or represent an eco-system service which will save the community and christchurch city council money by performing a certain function eg: urban regeneration, flood protection, sea level rise resiliance, smog removal (reduced health costs from respiritory illness), mental health benefits from having access to nature, carbon sequestration, water cleansing etc. Local community stewardship and a volunteer workforce will be able to play a large part in the upkeep of a majority or all of the park. Our group already works with volunteers in the local community to maintain and plant at a number of different sites in the Red Zone and we are keen to expand that to the whole proposal with the support of the local community and government.
BENEFITS & COST SAVINGS
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CONNECTIVITY
REDUCED HEALTH COSTS
Above: The three pillars of the Avon-Otakaro forest park concept: The health of our green and blue ecosystems and the community. Each in turn benefits the other to create a stronger, healthier, vibrant and more resilient city for the future.
Above we have listed just some of the many opportunities for direct revenue generation, which could help to sustain a forest park. There is a wide range of existing proven park revenue models. Depending on what type of funding was available, the type of direct revenue could be tailored to suit a number of different scenarios.
NATIONAL FUNDING STREAMS
GLOBAL FUNDING STREAMS