December 2016 Newsletter from Avon-Ōtākaro Network
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Founded in 2011, Avon-Ōtākaro Network (AvON) has been developing a community-driven science-informed vision for the future of the Avon-Ōtākaro red zone to turn it into a multipurpose city-to-sea River Park that meets diverse community needs and the maximum possible restoration of native ecosystems, to enhance water quality, biodiversity and mahinga kai values.
Ready Steady Go! 
We’re underway at last...

With the publication last Friday of the Draft Outline for the Ōtākaro/Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan,  Regenerate Christchurch signalled the start of what we have been waiting for since the first red zone decisions in mid-2011: a process for determining what will become of these lands.
The previous homelands of almost six thousand households, the backyard of many eastern neighbourhoods and suburbs, the flood plain of our iconic river – 535 hectares of vacated cleared land and we must not forget the current home of a handful of homeowners left behind.
Over the past five years we have watched the war zone of munted houses on damaged land cleared away and replaced with grassed expanses in which trees and shrubs from old gardens have been retained (after some strong community advocacy).  So that parts now resemble Hagley Park and others more like Travis Wetland – but all bursting with potential and promise of what could be.
Yes the just released Outline is a draft plan for a draft plan, but it is a start and as such should be celebrated - we are underway at last!
This means that 2017 promises to be a significant year for communities to have the strongest possible voice in what happens to these lands.  Regenerate Christchurch has committed themselves to multiple opportunities for effective engagement with the public that is inclusive, responsive, influential and empowering. 
We have to hold them to that commitment.
We have been waiting so long to have a say and have been pretty much locked out of much of the recovery decision-making to date, it’s going to be really important we make the most of our opportunities to be fully engaged in what happens out east – make sure your voice is heard!
You can make a start by giving your feedback on the Draft Outline
The Outline indicates a six month period from approval of the Outline to the creation of the draft Regeneration Plan – this is an extremely ambitious target to do the development of the plan. 
It is likely to be far too short a time frame bearing in mind the amount of research that will be required, the engagement required and the iterative nature of the process.  There are complex interdependencies and variables to be worked through that will need multiple feedback loops as the planning is developed if engagement is to be truly participatory. 
We've only got one chance to get this right let’s not rush it and get it wrong.
“A single Regeneration Plan is proposed to be developed for the whole of the Ōtākaro/Avon River Corridor residential red zone.”   We strongly advocated for this change from the initial approach proposed, although we still see some value in starting the more detailed work on a smaller area such as the Avon Loop to hone the processes.
The agency has also committed to: “consider the work already undertaken by community and interest groups, strategic partners and others on the future use of the Area.” 
So the network of proposal and vision advocates we have been developing and working with for so long will be able to contribute in significant ways.  However funding this work remains a challenge.
Next year is going to be exciting, busy and pivotal – make sure you are part of it!
These aren’t just big decisions; they are legacy decisions for future generations.  Rob Kerr, Regenerate Christchurch

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.  Abraham Lincoln

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.  Eleanor Roosevelt
The Million Metres Planting Days - 2,000 more native plants in the ground!
AvON named finalists for NZI Sustainable Business Award and for Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board Award
Kirsty from EOS Ecology talking about the Whaka Inaka project on the Mahinga Kai Sanctuary walk
The Joining the Dots forum for proposal champions for the red zone - this group will reconvene in February for the Lie of the Land forum.
An interim use for the red zone lands - spotted in the Avon Loop red zone
2016 in Pictures
Avon-Ōtākaro Activities in 2016
Southern blue butterfly at Matariki Gardens
Bloom Festival with Flourish and Canterbury Museum - 5th Anniversary
River of Flowers - 5th Anniversary
Red Zone Harvest
The Mother of All Clean Ups: Adopt the Avon!
Whaka Inaka: Coursing Whitebait, led by EOS Ecology, Ngai Tūāhuriri and the Centre for Freshwater Management - Counting Inaka eggs at Lake Kate Sheppard
Thank you to all our enthusiastic volunteers on our many volunteer days at the Mahinga Kai Exemplar.
Matariki in the Zone a wonderful day of weaving, carving, mōkihi building, planting and kids activities!
And don't forget the wonderful kai, yummy!
Schools planting day - part of the July plantings
Many joined our Red Zone Treks as part of the Breeze Walking Festival learning about the experiences and aspirations of local communities
A workshop for recreational users of the Lower Ōtākaro/ Avon River to define and address issues 
A red zone tour organised by AvON for MPs, the Mayor, CCC and ECan Councillors, Community Board members and members of the Board of Regenerate Christchurch
Thank you again to all our wonderful volunteers and supporters from schools, communities,         companies and partners - we couldn't do it without you!

Please make sure your voice is heard in 2017!
We acknowledge the generous support of the following:

Copyright © 2016 Avon-Ōtākaro Network, All rights reserved.

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Avon-Ōtākaro Network · 9 Stable Way · Christchurch, 8051 · New Zealand

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