Water  |  23 Dec 2022

Another portion of the Te Kuru stormwater facility in the upper catchment of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River has been completed in time for summer.

Walking and cycling tracks around the Sutherlands Basin section of Te Kuru are now open to the public. This adds 3km to the 4km of tracks opened to the public in November.

Christchurch City Council Head of Three Waters Helen Beaumont says that people will now be able to walk or cycle between Cashmere and Sutherlands Roads, entirely within the Te Kuru wetlands. Residents in the new subdivision on Sutherlands Road will also now have easy access to the area.

“This is a great milestone for the project and I know a lot of people will make the most of the summer weather to get out and explore the area,” says Ms Beaumont.

The Sutherlands Basin is part of a 109-hectare network of basins and wetlands that the Council has designed to improve the city’s floodplain and stormwater management. Altogether the stormwater storage and filtration basins will be able to hold more than one million cubic metres of flood water in a big rain event, reducing the risk of flooding downstream.

“While our focus for the project has been future-proofing the area against flooding, we’ve also considered how to make the most of the area and provide ecological and recreational benefits to the city,” says Ms Beaumont.

The Council says work will continue on the $50 million project, with contractors adding a number of bridges and paths to expand the network of walking and cycling tracks already open to the public throughout 2023.

More native planting will also take place. Once complete, around 110,000 trees and 600,000 native plants will be planted throughout the facility. The wetlands will provide habitat for birds, lizards and other wildlife.

“We do ask that people please keep dogs on leads when visiting Te Kuru, so they don’t disturb the wildlife,” says Ms Beaumont.

“There are already pied stilts, pheasants and different duck species in the wetlands. Long term we are also hoping to see critically endangered and threatened species like the white heron, Australasian bittern and black fronted terns in the area.”

The next section of Te Kuru is expected to be opened to the public at the end of 2023.

Check out all the walking tracks around Christchurch here.