11 Apr 2024

Regenerating the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor should be fast-tracked as part of the Government’s new Bill, Christchurch City Council says.

The Council approved its submission on the Fast-Track Approvals Bill which would enable a fast-track decision-making process for infrastructure and development projects that are considered to have significant national or regional benefits.

In its submission, the Council put forward its programme of work in the former red zone, the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan, to be included as part of the Bill.

The plan supports the vision and objectives for short, medium and long term future land uses in the 602ha area.

It includes more than 30 stop bank and three waters projects and other parks projects including the City to Sea Pathway, redeveloping Avon Park, the Waitaki Street stormwater basin and Bexley estuarine wetland.

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger was encouraged to see the Council support the submission unanimously and said implementing this Plan is a crucial part of the regeneration of the city following the earthquakes.

“The Plan supports the regeneration of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor, providing a vision and objectives for short, medium and long-term future land uses and opportunities for the 602-hectare area in east Christchurch,” he said.

“However – things don’t always go smoothly here in Christchurch. There are huge delays, costs and inefficiencies in getting the consents and approvals needed for that network infrastructure.”

“Each aspect of the plan requires multiple consents and approvals. The Fast-track Bill, and approval of the OARC network infrastructure projects within it, would be a great leap in delivering this nationally significant regeneration plan,” Mayor Mauger said.

“This has been supported by Ngāi Tūāhuriri and by the co- Chairs of the Council’s OARC Establishment Committee. So we would like to get the ball rolling on this as soon as possible and putting an application in now for the project to be included in the Bill is an opportunity to do this.”

As part of its submission, the Council also raised concerns with some aspects of the Bill.

The Council’s submission seeks improvements to the Bill so that the process  requires more robust evaluation of proposals and ensures that significant detrimental impacts to the wider environment are managed better.

Read the draft submission here.