Ian Fox is a man with a vision.
A vision where Christchurch is recognised as one of New Zealand’s adventure tourism capitals, rather than a meagre gateway to the rest of the South Island.
“I’m just about to turn 50 and I love Christchurch, but let’s face it, it’s f***ing boring,” said Fox.
The whitewater enthusiast and his friend, local surfer Nick Mooney, have submitted a proposal to Regenerate Christchurch that he believes can put us on the map.
He’s hoping their plans for a multi-million dollar water park in the Dallington red zone will get the green light.
Consisting of three parts: A whitewater course for rafters, kayakers, canoeists and “basically anything that floats”, a surf park that generates perfect artificial waves and a wakeboard cable park.
Fox told me the numbers for this project aren’t final but, based on overseas experience, if it’s approved in its entirety they’re looking at a cost of about 60 to 70 million dollars to cover an area of approximately 25 hectares.
He believes up to half of the overall space would be consumed by native planting, car parks,and amenity buildings.
“It sounds like a lot of money, but if you consider the footy stadium is going to cost 500 million. This could probably just be that project’s overrun,” joked Fox.
Mooney and Fox would like to see the water park nestled in amongst a serene forest setting, fitting in on the edge of Regenerate Christchurch’s forest and wetland park proposal.
Ideally somewhere near Burwood Park.
They’re optimistic the required funds can be raised through a public/private partnership with a key investor who is in it for the long-haul, with a real community vision.
“It’s crucial to us that they get their money back, we’re looking for a hand-up, not a hand-out,” Fox assured me.