New project aims to save Christchurch's Avon River

  • 04/02/2014

Christchurch's Avon River is getting a makeover, saving it from an almost certain death.

The Government will spend just under $100 million on the central city river, bringing it back to life below and above the water.

"The Avon River is dying and we want to bring it back to life," says aquatic scientist Shelley McMurtrie.

The river has always been the life of the city but has in recent years become choked in sand and silt, even more so after the earthquakes.

"Currently we have removed 400 tonnes of sediment from the Avon River and [are] cleaning the bottom of it," says site manager Brent Cations.

The Avon River Precinct is the first of the Government's major anchor projects since the quakes. It will include a promenade with more walkways for pedestrians and cycle-ways for cyclists.

A boardwalk will even be created under bridges, bringing people back into the central city.

"We want to see a world-class waterfront for our city, one that isn't like Melbourne but is as good as Melbourne, not like London but as good as London waterfront," says Christchurch Central Development Unit development director Rob Kerr.

The project will cost just under $100 million and will be the largest river restoration project in New Zealand.

But cleaning up the dirty water way is the first priority.

"There is E. coli in the river. You can't eat anything out of the river. You can't safely recreate in the river. So it's polluted," says Mark Gibson of the Avon-Otakaro Network.

The project should be completed by autumn next year.

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source: newshub archive