The March on Sunday through Cashel St brought out a large number of Cantabrians concerned about the East Lake’s removal from the red zone plan.
The young, the older and families highlighted the cross section of the community supporting this fantastic opportunity for Christchurch.
As I said on Sunday, the lake will provide an amazing opportunity to have a world class, multi-use facility in the eastern neighbourhoods and close to our city centre. It would cater for a wide variety of water sports and allow for local, national and international events. From rowing, kayaking and dragon boating through to paddleboarding and junior yacht racing, as well as running, walking and picnicking around the lake’s edge.
This project is not just a post-quake idea. Well before the earthquakes, discussions were underway about where a lake could go. Sites near Halswell and McLeans Island were investigated, but the red zone gives us the chance to move the lake even closer to our neighbourhoods and the city centre.
So it is no surprise that people are concerned by the project’s removal from draft plans for the red zone. The explanation for removal given by Regenerate Christchurch has been questioned and I remain unconvinced by the answers given.
I am realistic enough to accept when something is not going to work, but we must fully investigate this opportunity before letting it be shelved.
As I wrote a month ago, the red zone is our generation’s Hagley Park – the opportunity to provide a green heart for future generations. So we want to make sure we do not forego any opportunity without compelling reasons to do so.
We must continue to lobby Regenerate Christchurch to put the lake back into the draft plan and allow a better assessment of its viability to be undertaken.
We are a city of opportunity, and we must take every opportunity we are given.
•Wagner is a National list MP for Christchurch Central and spokeswoman for Greater Christchurch Regeneration