Posts Tagged ‘Avon Loop’

‘Putahi; tributaries feeding tributaries’ is the title of a new exhibition by Otautahi Korerotia.

Three talented young artists have created works which depict the many social, material, and ecological streams that flow around our community cottage.  Liv Worsnop, a Plant Gangster, led a group who have cared for the green space all over the Avon Loop.

Seeds from the community

Mikaela Marshall observed the various traffics in the area and depicted them within a lightbox.  Phoebe Hinchcliff asked locals to fill in a questionnaire about what community means.  She transferrred the answers into haunting music which plays within the exhibition.

The whole experience is delightful.  The exhibition will be open again on Wednesday evening, May 3rd, between 5 and 8pm, and is well worth a visit.

“These artists took a different view
to show the Loop to me and you.”

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Continual rain overnight (thanks to Cyclone Cook) meant that our patio was flooded when we got up this morning.

Patio Pond

We’ve not seen it like this before.  There was 40mm of rain overnight, and the ground underneath must still be saturated from the previous week’s rain.  Luckily it’s draining now the rain has eased.  The river was also high, and was over its banks in several places.

Avon/Otakaro near Barbadoes Street Bridge

It’s flowed onto Fitzgerald Avenue near the Kilmore Street intersection.  We’ve been spared the high winds that have caused problems in the North Island, and a fine afternoon is forecast.

“I’ll stay inside, the river’s high
and I want to keep warm and dry.’


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“How old is your cottage?” is a question we’re often asked.  It’s difficult to answer accurately, because the City Council’s building records don’t go back far enough.  The land on which the cottage stands was originally part of Town Reserve 21 and designated to become the Botanic Gardens.  When it was decided the gardens should be in Hagley Park the designation was changed to Reserve 63.  The first title for our small piece of land was issued in 1872 to Arthur Appleby, who also had many rural sections.  In 1877 he sold it to George Levitt Binning, a City Council Labourer, who we believe was the builder of this colonial cottage.  At first it would have consisted of just two rooms, and was probably constructed from a kitset, selected from a catalogue, and shipped from Australia.  It’s likely that it was erected by 1878, and we’ve recently put up a sign saying “Est. 1878” so that passersby can have an answer to their question.  Since the earthquakes there aren’t many cottages of this age left in the local area.

“Our cottage is extremely old
almost one-forty years we’re told.”


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It was inspiring to hear Professor Simon Kingham talk on this subject at the 2016 Rod Donald Memorial Lecture.

He quoted statistics from Charles Montgomery’s “Happy City” which show that personal connections and trust can make you happy and healthy.  Having one friend or family member to confide in has the same effect on life satisfaction as a tripling of income.

Wellbeing is higher if you use active or public transport rather than driving.  Simon emphasised that if you have to get in your car, it’s not local.  This shift from local is something many of us in Christchurch experienced when local facilities, e.g. shops and jobs, disappeared after the earthquakes and we needed to drive when we’d been used to walking.

Simon stressed the value of ‘bumping spaces’ such as riverside seats or a book fridge, as well as ‘gathering spaces’ such as a community cottage, shops, and cafes.  Green (and blue) spaces are essential.

Our Community Cottage

Our Community Cottage

Simon installed a basketball hoop on the street frontage of his home to encourage people to “bump” there.  I live beside an empty grassed section where a group of youths regularly play cricket.

After the earthquakes the Christchurch City Council had some great plans for re-creating our communities, but CERA changed many of these.  An obstacle to creating sustainable urban communities is the fact that Government departments often don’t share information or values, e.g. the Department of Education appears not to recognise the importance of schools as community hubs.

If you’d like to hear this lecture it will shortly be available as a podcast from PlainsFM.

“We have the opportunity
to rebuild our community.”

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To see horses crossing Barbadoes Street is unusual.  I grabbed my camera and followed them along the river.


These horses usually live in Marshland Road, and had come into town to give some children a ride.  They were now being offered a chance to cool off in the river.  I did wonder whether pollution in the water might  be harmful to them.

The horses’ owner was called Richie, and I think he’s Richard Hayden, who has previously seen in town with horses.  Certainly the ponies and dog look the same.

“A horse is not a common sight
to have them near was a delight.”


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A knock on the door proved to be a reporter and photographer from RNZ National.  This morning’s ‘Press’ told us that Regenerate Christchurch expect to have a draft plan for the Avon Loop area by the end of this year.  RNZ wanted comment from a local, had been told that my landline was dead, so they came calling.  We walked round to the beginning of the red zone where they interviewed me (as Chairperson of the Avon Loop Planning Association), and took a photo.  I asked when it might be broadcast and was told it would be on ‘Checkpoint’ this evening.

Later I contacted our Association Secretary to alert her to the possibility of Checkpoint, and she told me I had featured on the 1pm News.  It hadn’t occurred to me to listen, but I did catch the 3pm News, and heard my name mentioned.  I was also briefly on ‘Checkpoint’, and people have told me they heard it.  We now just await some word from Regenerate Christchurch.

“They say a plan there soon will be
let’s hope they consult you and me.”


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Fiona Farrell, author of “The Villa at the Edge of the Empire” was the guest speaker yesterday at the AGM of the Avon Loop Planning Association.

Fiona Farrell

Fiona Farrell

I chair this association, and was pleased that so many members came on such a wintry day.  We enjoyed hearing Fiona talk about how she wrote the book, especially as our area features so prominently in it.  The Avon Loop community has struggled since two-thirds of our residents were forced out by CERA’s red-zoning.  Many of the members who came yesterday live near the Loop, not actually in it, and some are new members.  They appreciate the events held in our community cottage, and care about the area.  Fiona and Juliet Nicholas have also produced a booklet with photos and interviews from six households who were forced to leave the Loop.



This is being published by CEISMIC and will shortly be available as a free e-book.

“It’s good to have our stories told
as new developments unfold.”


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Lovely to see young people paddle-boarding along the river.



I presume they know how polluted it is.  If they fall in they’ll need to hurry home and shower.

“It’s good to have the river used
and sad that it’s been so abused.”

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CERA’s Garden

Red-zoned houses now all green
their families displaced.
Memories grassed over,
one lone bloom defies its fate

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After nearly four years CERA have put up signs pointing out hazards in our area.  Apparently there are holes in the road surface, the surface is slippery when wet, and there are tripping hazards.  Did they think we hadn’t already noticed these?

The grass on the riverbank is freshly mowed (except where the ground is too uneven), and in-river works are underway to improve water quality so the Otakaro/Avon River can support a more diverse natural habitat.  In the red zone, vegetation has been removed and the land levelled.  Grass has been sown, and there are sprinklers to keep the dust down and water the grass seed.  Fence posts are in and fences should be up by Christmas.  The slide show gives you an idea of current progress.

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“The Loop has drastically changed
with red zone land now re-arranged.”

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