A "once in a lifetime" makeover of earthquake-ravaged eastern Christchurch has been approved by Government today.
The long-awaited blueprint will redevelop the massive 602ha area which once housed 5000 properties devastated in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.
The 30-year Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor Regeneration Plan was confirmed by the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Megan Woods this morning.
"How often does a city have the opportunity to consider the development of an area of 602ha so close to its centre? This is a once in a lifetime chance," Woods said.
The plan will see the red zone divided into four areas and include a 345ha "green spine" running from central Christchurch to the beach suburb of New Brighton and three Reaches - the Ōtākaro Loop Reach, Horseshoe Lake Reach and the Eastern Reaches.
It has space for recreation projects, including the widening of the Avon River for water sports, environmental restoration projects, the planting of 200,000 trees, 80ha of wetlands, adaptable housing trial areas, four footbridges, and visitor attractions.
Woods described it as an "inter-generational project – our chance to leave a legacy for the future".
Developed by Regenerate Christchurch, the plan supports the regeneration of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor, providing a vision and objectives for short, medium and long-term future land uses and opportunities for the area in east Christchurch.
"This area is special for many reasons but mostly because it was once home to more than 5000 households," Woods said.
"It's so important that the future use of this land reflects its value and is a fitting tribute to what Christchurch has been through."
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) welcomed the "milestone moment" for the people of Christchurch.
"Eight years since the Canterbury earthquakes left this land red-zoned due to significant damage, the approval of this plan provides certainty for the community about how this taonga will be used in the future," Linz's new chief executive Gaye Searancke said.
"We look forward to continuing to look after the residential red zone as we work with the Christchurch City Council to protect it for the benefit of Cantabrians, New Zealanders and visitors, both now and for generations to come."
The plan can be viewed on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's website here.