Tuesday, July 16, 2024

New walking track steps out in Christchurch

Four kilometres of new walking track in Christchurch City Council’s award-winning Hoon Hay stormwater basin will open to the public on Friday.

The stormwater basin is part of a 109-hectare network of basins and wetlands which the Council has been working on in the upper catchment of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River. The facility as a whole has been named Te Kuru and includes the Eastman Wetlands.

The Council is investing more than $50 million in the project and last month picked up a national award for it.

Council Head of Three Waters, Helen Beaumont says this section of the project – which features 4km of walking track and large wetland and native planting areas – is now complete and ready for the public to use.

It will eventually link to three other stormwater storage and filtration basins that will collectively be able to store more than one million cubic metres of flood water in big rain events, reducing the risk of flooding downstream, said Ms Beaumont.

In total, the area will provide around 14 kilometres of walking tracks, cycle tracks and bridges as well as large swathes of native plantings.

“Improving our floodplain and stormwater management was obviously the catalyst for this project but a lot of effort has gone into ensuring this area also delivers long-term ecological and recreational benefits for the city,’’ Ms Beaumont says.

“When the stormwater basins aren’t being used to store flood water, we want people to be able to enjoy this area and for it to be habitat for birds and other wildlife, including lizards.

“Friday’s opening of Te Kuru is a taste of what is in store for the rest of this area. When the other stormwater basins are completed, this entire area will become a recreational and ecological asset for the city.”

About 110,000 trees and 600,000 native plants will be planted as part of the revegetation effort.

The name Te Kuru ‘the blow with the fist’ was recommended to the Council by Ngāi Tūāhuriri. Mana whenua have historically used it to reference the area.

A public opening event is being held at Te Kuru on Friday 18 November between 10.30am and 12.30pm.

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