Project updated: 04/09/2017
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Te Papa Ōtākaro / Avon River Precinct
A new city waterfront is being created along the Ōtākaro/Avon River in the central city to make it easier to access the river surrounds.
A key feature will be a new City Promenade extending 2.8 kilometres through the heart of the precinct on the eastern side of the river, replacing Oxford Terrace. The western side of the river will be a green space with walking and cycling paths.
The ‘Share an Idea’ public consultation process highlighted the importance of the Ōtākaro/Avon River to the people of Christchurch. The Central Christchurch Recovery Plan identified the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct as a significant Anchor Project that will improve people’s connections with the river.
- The restoration of the habitat of the Ōtākaro/Avon River waterway: completed 2014
- The first improvements to the riverside landscape, with the Watermark project, near the Antigua Boatsheds: completed 2013
- Downstream, beyond the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial is the restored and enhanced Bridge of Remembrance: completed 2016
- The Terraces: between Cashel Mall and Hereford Street: completed in June 2016. The next phase of the Terraces, either side of Worcester Street, including a new punt stop, was completed in December 2016
- The City Promenade: a broad paved area on the eastern side of the river between Christchurch Hospital and Manchester Street, started in early 2017
- Landscape art pieces are being installed adjacent to the river through the central city
- Victoria Square was completed in March 2018
- Further downstream, the North Frame work will continue until late 2018. A key element, the PGC building site landscaping, was completed in December 2016
- Margaret Mahy Family Playground: was completed in 2015
Who else is involved?
Christchurch City Council and Matapopore Charitable Trust have been key partners in the project.
40 stakeholder groups were consulted during the development of the design.
The Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct development is largely being funded by the Crown.
Ngāi Tahu Grand Narrative
This Grand Narrative (18M file) documents the Ngāi Tahu values, customs and traditions relevant to the central Christchurch public realm, including the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct area.
Healthy River and Landscape
Fish are thriving, the water is flowing faster and the riverbed is cleaner in the Ōtākaro/Avon River following this extensive cleaning and rehabilitation work. The clean-up, which included the removal of 10,000 tonnes of silt, has re-established habitats for animals living in and on the river in the central city. Deepening the riverbed in some areas has also allowed Christchurch’s iconic punts to extend their river route.
Restoring the landscape
Intensive landscape enhancement is being undertaken along the Ōtākaro/Avon River. This began with an assessment of about 750 trees in conjunction with Christchurch City Council, to determine their health and likely lifespan. The existing canopy of trees along the Avon River will be retained, with new exotic and native trees and shrubs introduced to add to its distinctive character. The planting and management of indigenous and exotic plants will be combined in the uniquely Christchurch Garden City style – enhancing its natural character by weaving Māori and Pākehā values together into the landscape.
The Watermark project set out to enhance the river environment between Antigua Boatsheds and Montreal Street and improve access to this section of the river.
It was the first project of the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct to be completed and provided an indication of how other river precinct elements would look. Watermark began to deliver on the community's aspirations for a 'green city' and aligned with the broad design principles of the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct:
- promoting a healthy river
- a fully accessible environment
- an integrated cultural narrative
- good economic potential.
The construction of Watermark on the northern bank involved a slight narrowing of the river, with landscaping and re-contouring to shape the new space. There is now improved seating, new boardwalks and street furniture, and better lighting.
Bridge of Remembrance
Strengthening work on the Triumphal Arch and the Bridge of Remembrance foundation structure was completed at the end of September 2015. New paving was then installed on the bridge, along with a ramp to improve accessibility, and lighting to highlight the Triumphal Arch. Two Ngā Whāriki Manaaki stone weaving patterns were also installed.
Once primarily for vehicles, Oxford Terrace, on the east side of the river is becoming a broad, paved area. Whether people are walking, biking, driving, taking the tram or enjoying café-style seating, this space is shared by all. Speed will be restricted to 10kmh along the City Promenade with pedestrians and cyclists taking priority.
Once completed, the promenade will extend more than two kilometres from Christchurch Hospital to Manchester Street.
Together with the City Promenade, The Terraces are transforming the waterfront into an area for leisure and entertainment. The flights of broad steps leading down to the river make the most of the waterside location. People can get close to the water, go for a walk, or enjoy a meal or a drink in the outdoors.
The aim is to make a place for gathering and hospitality – a sunny, sheltered area during the day and an appealing area for entertainment at night. The first section of the Terraces and the City Promenade, between Cashel Street and Hereford Street, was completed in June 2016.
There will be literary, sculptural and environmental art pieces, in a range of forms: integrated landscape elements, relocated pieces and artwork infrastructure. This includes bespoke landscape works – designs that have a functional purpose but are led by an artist.
Many of the surfaces and structures in Victoria Square were damaged during the Canterbury earthquakes and were already close to the end of their life. This project restored the square and made it more accessible. The restoration design created new links with nearby features like the Promenade and included new elements that better reflect shared Māori and European heritage and the Treaty relationship. The historic Bowker Fountain, which hasn't worked properly for many years, has been fully restored, and a new punt stop has been added opposite the Town Hall. You can read more about the restoration in the Fact Sheet.
The North Frame will be a mix of residential and public space spanning both sides of the river between Colombo and Madras Streets. The Promenade on the Oxford Terrace side of the river will continue through to Manchester Street, while a cycle path will complement grassed areas on the northern bank.
Key features include:
- landscaping on the PGC site in consultation with bereaved families
- residential development on the eastern side of Manchester Street (as part of the East Frame residential precinct)
- a Community Garden and orchard reflecting the principle of healthy mahinga kai The Community Garden is the first project to get underway. The land has been made available to the Food Resilience Network for a community garden and food hub that will be known as Ōtākaro Orchard.
Margaret Mahy Family Playground
The Margaret Mahy Family Playground is Christchurch's popular new central city play area. With separate activity zones for different ages, it's one of the largest playgrounds in the Southern Hemisphere.
Opened in December 2015, the playground was designed with accessibility in mind. The objective was that children could interact side by side, rather than singling out an area or specific equipment for children with disabilites. All the slopes and surfacing have been designed to meet accessibility standards – a 1:12 maximum gradient – for children or adults in wheelchairs.
Ownership of the playground has been transferred to Christchurch City Council.
The Avon Loop area, between Madras Street and Fitzgerald Avenue, will be the final section of the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct. Access to the river will be improved and the riverside environment will be enhanced.
The effects of the earthquake remain evident in the Avon Loop area, with slumped banks and changes in the river’s profile. The proposed design will embrace these changes, with a corridor of indigenous plants that will create a natural habitat based on the pre-settlement landscape. Historic and cultural sites along the Avon Loop area will also be enhance by the work.
Promenade Work Notice - Colombo to Manchester Sts
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Cambridge Terrace from Colombo Street
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Promenade Work Notice: Antigua St to Worcester St
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Colombo Street - December 2017
1.9 MB Uploaded 28/11/2017 4:54pm
Colombo Street/Armagh Street intersection - January 2018
406 KB Uploaded 22/01/2018 8:51am
Victoria Square - Night Works - February 2018
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Victoria Square - Intersection Night Works - January 2018
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Victoria Square - Colombo and Armagh Streets road works - March 2018
1 MB Uploaded 19/03/2018 1:22pm
Oxford Terrace - power shut down - 6 May 2018
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Oxford Terrace - early morning works - May 2018
545 KB Uploaded 25/05/2018 11:57am
Colombo Street - night works - May 2018
1.1 MB Uploaded 31/05/2018 3:46pm
Colombo Street - night works - June 2018
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Time capsule placed in Victoria Square
Students from The Cathedral Grammar School in Christchurch have helped place a time capsule in Victoria Square to mark the recently completed restoration work.Read More
Victoria Square market this weekend
A one-off artisan market will be held this weekend in Victoria Square to celebrate the reopening and recognise its history as a trading place.Read More
Victoria Square restoration work complete
Australasia’s first illuminated electric fountain, the Bowker Fountain, is back to its colourful best with the restoration of Victoria Square now complete.Read More
One block of Colombo Street temporarily one lane from next Wednesday
Colombo Street will temporarily be one-way, north-bound only, from Armagh Street to Kilmore Street from Wednesday 6 December 2017.Read More
Avonside Girls create Whāriki artworks
Avonside Girls' High School recently learnt about Nga whāriki manaaki, the mats of welcome along the Avon River. Students created their own artworks to express their school story.Read More
Next section of Avon River Precinct works starting soon
Work on the next stage of Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct will begin on 12 June along the section of Oxford Terrace between Hereford and Worcester Streets.Read More
Watch - Victoria Square restoration FAQs
Answers to some common questions about the Victoria Square restoration.Read More
Watch - Victoria Square restoration underway
More than 150,000 new pavers will be laid in the square and many of the old ones will be reused in The Commons on the corner of Kilmore and Durham Streets.Read More
PGC Site Completed
Landscaping work is now complete on the former site of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, creating a new green public space in the North Frame.Read More
Request for Proposal for North Frame Pedestrian Bridge underway
Ōtākaro Limited has issued a Request for Proposal to design the North Frame Pedestrian Bridge in Christchurch’s central city.Read More
New Barbeque Area and Play Equipment for Margaret Mahy Family Playground
The new community barbeque area at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground will be ready for family use this weekend thanks to the generosity of ANZCO Foods.Read More
Documents & Downloads
Avon River Precinct fact sheet - Autumn 2017
5.4 MB Uploaded 17/02/2017 1:21pm
Victoria Square Restoration Fact Sheet - January 2017
9.7 MB Uploaded 18/01/2017 10:34am
Avon River Precinct Teaching Resource
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Hospital Corner Traffic Network Change
5.2 MB Uploaded 18/07/2017 11:59am
Hospital Corner Feedback Form
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