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Red zone regeneration plan gets the thumbs up

Ursula Keay
Red zone leaders
(From left to right) Gaye Searancke, Ivan Iafeta, Megan Woods, Lianne Dalziel and Eugenie Sage  Ursula Keay

The regeneration plan for the red zone gets full support from local leaders

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says nothing could make her happier than the approval of the red zone regeneration plan. 

''It's enormous, it's an emotional day for me personally,'' said Dalziel, who used to live in the residential red zone.  

The mayor wasn't the only one who endorsed the recently released plan. 

Regenerate Christchurch chief executive Ivan Iafeta said the plan was an effort to create an exemplar of how to combat climate change. 

The Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Honourable Doctor Megan Woods proudly approved the plan on Friday, giving comfort to the people who occupied 5000 displaced homes. 

''This is a real silver lining that has come out of a really troubled time for Christchurch,'' she said.

It was a significant moment for Christchurch and it was crucial time was spent to get it right.

"[It's] not often you get an opportunity to decide what to do with 600 hectares,'' Woods said. 

She was not concerned about the estimated 30-year time frame, emphasising that it was an 'inter-generational plan' that would take stages. Work on the green spine would start immediately.

The new plan is designed to connect communities and nature and will involve an 11km "green spine", which will be a mix of recreational and community activities such as walking and biking trails, nature playgrounds, BBQ areas, community gardens, and a water-based adventure park. 

This is a transformation for the 'wide-spread and unprecedented' damage on one of the worst affected areas following the 2011 earthquake, according to Land Information New Zealand chief executive Gaye Searancke. 

She said LINZ had facilitated 160 transitional uses of the land since 2016. There would be more opportunities for 'edge housing' on the spine, however intensive residential development, intensive farming and industrial activities would not be 'considered suitable'. 

Christchurch City Councillor Yani Johanson said it was nice to see the land retained for the community. 

''For so many years it was horrible to see the destruction, but to see life coming back to the area is just a really wonderful thing. It's great to see nature and the environment protected going forward.''

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage was equally optimistic about the role nature plays in well being.

''The greenprint recognises the vital role of nature and rivers in our cities. Urban space is invaluable for allowing people to connect with nature and human well being. Some of the activities that will happen in the green spine can inspire other cities''.