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Major Milestone For 'Green Edge' Concept

Major Milestone For 'Green Edge' Concept

A major milestone has been taken that marks a significant development for Christchurch.

This was the lodging of applications for consents concerned with discharges from the Christchurch City Council's wastewater treatment plant. The Council will seek six consents, including the discharge of treated wastewater into the Estuary and odours and gases into the air, from Environment Canterbury.

The City Council's own Environmental Services Unit will consider three applications for consents for changes to land use. The chairman of the City Services Committee, Cr. Denis O'Rourke, says this milestone follows widespread public consultation that brought a 77 per cent support for the Council's plans.

The support was given to the continued discharge into the Estuary rather than such alternatives as a long-ocean pipeline. The Council intends to treat the wastewater to a high standard as a top priority.


The lodging of the consent applications will come after more than four years investigations by the Council, along with public input, that concern the improvement in the quality of wastewater to recreational standards and to continue to discharge to the Estuary for another 15 years.

A key component of the Council's 15-year wastewater upgrade package includes the creation of a Green Edge along the western margins of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary, including the sites of Linwood Paddocks, Bexley Reserve, and the oxidation ponds.

GREEN EDGE CONCEPT 'STUNNING'

Over 15 years the Christchurch City Council will be spending more than $60 million at the wastewater treatment plant.

It will complete its $33.7 million upgrade of the treatment plant and, at a further $30 million, carry out further improvements at the plant and develop what has been called "the visionary Green Edge project." These costs represent the largest financial commitment the City Council has made and, says the chairman of the City Services Committee, Cr. Denis O'Rourke, indicates the importance of producing clean water from the treatment plant. He says Councillors are enthusiastic about the Green Edge plans. These will include an extensive ecological reserve, increasing planting of native plants, more wetlands, improved recreational access, and the experimental natural treatment of wastewater in new wetlands. Cr. O'Rourke says the result will be stunning and the Green Edge concept could become an ecological wonder unparalleled anywhere. "Already our plans are stirring up international interest and are likely to be a key focus of the prestigious International Ecological Engineering Conference to be held in Christchurch in November," he says. The concept includes the creation of a Green Edge along the western margins of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary, including the Linwood Paddocks, Bexley reserve and the oxidation ponds. This has the potential to not only protect and enhance existing remnant habitats but also to create new natural environments and open spaces, which will enrich the ecological, recreational, heritage, educational, landscape and open-space values already in the area. The Green Edge will link existing and newly developed ecological areas and parks creating a continuous corridor on the eastern edge of the city. The Estuary is unparalleled among New Zealand estuaries in supporting such a large and varied wildlife population. But the adjacent land has for many years suffered degradation with the natural coastal marshlands, forests, dunes, and wetlands being lost to development. The Council now wants to turn that around with the Green Edge concept.


LANDMARK CONSENT APPLICATIONS INVITATION

News media representatives are invited to attend a function to mark the lodging of applications for consents concerned with discharges from the Christchurch City Council's wastewater treatment plant.

The applications have been lodged with Environment Canterbury and they mark a significant milestone in the development of the city.

The chairman of Environment Canterbury, Richard Johnson, will attend and the chairman of the City Services Committee, Cr. Denis O'Rourke, will speak about the applications and their significance and implications for the city at the offices of Environment Canterbury, Kilmore Street, at 10.35am on Wednesday 4 April.


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