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Christchurch's mayor has promised the man who led a campaign to turn red-zone areas into a park that his dream will become a reality.
Evan Smith, of the Avon-Ōtākaro Network, spearheaded a petition asking Parliament to work with Christchurch residents to make sure red-zoned areas along the Ōtākaro Avon River became a park and reserve, rather than being rebuilt on.
More than 18,500 people signed the petition, which was presented to the then MP for Christchurch East Lianne Dalziel on the steps of Parliament on May 2, 2012.
Yesterday a copy of the petition, along with a copy of the select committee report that resulted from it, were given back to AvON representatives by Mayor Dalziel and Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Poto Williams, who is now the Christchurch East MP.
Ill health prevented Mr Smith from attending the ceremony in person, but he watched via video link as his campaign for a riverside park came full circle.
The Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan was approved last year and features a ‘green spine’ that will run either side of the Ōtākaro Avon River from the central city to New Brighton.
It will include walking paths, nature trails, cycleways, community spaces such as playgrounds, picnic spots, and barbecue areas, as well as large areas of ecological restoration and wetlands.
Accepting the petition and Select Committee report on behalf of AvON was Reverend Peter Beck.
“This morning this community-led campaign to have the residential red zone areas along the Ōtākaro Avon River turned into a park … has come full circle," Black said.
"By bringing a copy of the petition back to the community as the Council takes ownership of the former red zone land, it symbolises the beginning of this vision being realised."
“The commitment we can make to you today Evan is that your dream will become a reality," Dalziel said.
Christchurch City Council today takes over the management of the Crown-owned former residential red zone land in the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor, Southshore, South New Brighton and Brooklands.
Management includes maintenance, plant and animal pest management, security, traffic management, land access and permanent land uses.
Land Information New Zealand will continue to manage the Port Hills former residential red zones until May next year.
The council will take over ownership of Southshore, South New Brighton and Brooklands by the end of July, with the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor land being handed to the council in tranches as LINZ configures the thousands of existing land titles into ‘super lots’.