The $5.5 million redevelopment of Avon Park in the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor will begin soon.

Citycare has been awarded the contract, which involves the creation of the long-term stopbanks and removal of the temporary stopbanks, along with an upgrade of the park’s recreational facilities, removal of contaminated material, planting and a portion of the City to Sea Pathway.  

Red Zone Manager Dave Little says the redevelopment improves the community’s recreational assets and local ecology, while increasing the river’s flood capacity. 

“Restoration of the river’s delta environment is a core objective of the Regeneration Plan and one that we’ve been working closely with our Treaty partner Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri on, via the Corridor’s Co-Governance Establishment Committee and collaboration with the University of Canterbury Ngai Tahu Research Centre. 

“We’re really pleased to see this project get underway, particularly as it is the first in the OARC to embrace the ‘living on a river delta’ aspect of the Regeneration Plan and the underpinning Framework for the Corridor developed by Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri and the Establishment Committee.  

“This philosophy sees us working with the river, rather than attempting to constrain it to accommodate our plans. This is important as the future impacts of sea level rise and more extreme weather make inundation of low-lying areas more likely, and increasingly expensive to prevent.” 

The park’s upgraded recreational facilities will include a nature-based play space, pump track, exploratory trails, a basketball court, mini football field, and barbecue area.  The City to Sea Pathway will go through the park, providing a safer option for cyclists accessing the Kerr’s Reach Flatwater sport clubs as well as the general public. 

Mr Little says Council looks forward to returning the upgraded facilities to residents, who have supported the plans for the new park and its community amenities.  

In line with the Regeneration Plan and previous Council decision, the park’s redevelopment includes closure of the western section of Avonside Drive bordering Avon Park.  

Approximately 80,000 mostly native trees and shrubs will be planted as part of the project.  

Construction work is expected to start next week. It will be done in multiple phases, and is expected to be completed in November 2025.  

Mr Little acknowledged the generous support of the Christchurch Earthquake Appeals Trust (CEAT) in funding the upper terrace portion of the project.

Start work notices will be issued to affected residents in the area before construction gets underway.