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Connecting Chch to the sea project a potential attraction

Connecting Christchurch to the sea project a potential attraction for residents and tourists

October 8, 2013

Connecting Christchurch to the sea project is a potential attraction for residents and tourists, a University of Canterbury (UC) community expert says.

Education lecturer Dr Billy O’Steen says the city of San Antonio, Texas, took a very narrow and shallow river and focused cultural and entertainment developments on it a few years ago and it's now a major draw card for conventions and tourism.

``One possibility will be a learning and living corridor whereby UC staff and students could assist in the development of the city to sea trail by studying different disciplinary aspects of it - marine biology, geology, sociology, sport and recreation -  and working on specific projects.’’

The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust has granted $15 million of appeal funds towards great community projects that make a positive difference to the future of the eastern suburbs, with access and benefit to everyone who lives in or visits Christchurch.

The $15 million will fund future projects that help connect the city to the sea from Te Papa Otakaro/Avon River Precinct at Fitzgerald Avenue through eastern Christchurch.

Connecting the City to the Sea projects could include such things as permanently restoring environmental, recreation and sporting features, wetlands, walkways, cycleways, public performance spaces, community spaces and play areas. 

Dr O’Steen is a board member of the Volunteer Student Army Foundation and believes UC could potentially adopt either parts of or the whole trail.

Empowering students to better their community is a core value of UC's ChCh101 course, which is an
introduction to community engagement in tertiary studies.

``A lot of students have seen the Student Volunteer Army in action, or been involved themselves. They will have seen Gap Filler projects. They also will have seen opportunities to do other things.

``We would love our staff and students to take a lead role in the City to Sea project. UC is pivotal to the city and it really has an opportunity to capitalise and become better members of the community. UC can focus on engagement and it is an opportunity now to set itself apart from other universities in New Zealand.

``UC can really capture the imagination and spirit through their students as the recovery takes hold. For students coming to UC next year, the fact that the University is involving its students and staff in work in the community and being part of the rebuild process is exciting.

``Students should take advantage of this situation to engage themselves beyond regular volunteerism, and really think about the issues that under-gird some of the things that are happening in the recovery. They can explore opportunities for themselves professionally, which will really help them find employment later,’’ Dr O’Steen says.

ENDS

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