A multimillion-dollar floodplain management project in the upper catchment of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River has earned Christchurch City Council a national award for Environmental Sustainability.
The award, from Water NZ, is recognition of the work the Council and its contractors have done to prioritise sustainable resource use and the needs of the wider environment when constructing the new Eastman wetland and storage basin in the Cashmere/Hoon Hay/Halswell area.
The Council is investing in excess of $50 million into the project, which has involved:
“At every point in the project we have asked ‘how can we deliver sustainable and long-term cultural, ecological, recreational, landscape and heritage benefits along with the core stormwater and flood management function?’’ says Christchurch City Council Head of Three Waters Helen Beaumont.
“These have not been seen as ‘nice to haves’, but rather as the project’s legacy. While the need to reduce the flood risk for people living along the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River has been the catalyst for this project, sustainability through ecological enhancement and restoration has been maximised at every opportunity.
“We are delighted that Water NZ has acknowledged our efforts through this award but the most important thing to us is that this project is going to have lasting benefits for Christchurch and particularly for the people who live near the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River,’’ Ms Beaumont says.
The first section of the facility will be open for public access from next month, with access from 600 Cashmere Road.