Post-quake recreational opportunities in the Avon River and the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai
Thesis DisciplineWater Resource Management
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Water Resource Management
The Avon River and the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai are features of the urban environment of Christchurch City and are popular for recreational and tourist activities. These include punting, rowing, organized yachting, water skiing, shoreline walking, bird watching, recreational fishing and aesthetic appreciation. The Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 significantly affected the estuarine and river environments, affecting both the valued urban recreation resources and infrastructure. The aim of the research is to evaluate recreational opportunities using a questionnaire, assess levels of public participation in recreation between winter 2014 and summer 2014-2015 and evaluate the quality of recreational resources. The objective is to determine the main factors influencing recreational uses before and after the February 2011 earthquake and to identify future options for promoting recreational activities. Resource evaluation includes water quality, wildlife values, habitats, riparian strip and the availability of facilities and infrastructure. High levels of recreational participation usually occurred at locations that provided many facilities along with their suitability for family activities, scenic beauty, relaxation, amenities and their proximity to residences. Some locations included more land-based activities, while some included more water-based activities. There were greater opportunities for recreation in summer compared to winter. Activities that were negatively affected by the earthquake such as rowing, kayaking and sailing have resumed. But activities at some places may be limited due to the lack of proper tracks, jetty, public toilets and other facilities and infrastructure. Also, some locations had high levels of bacterial pollution, excessive growth of aquatic plants and a low number of amenity values. These problems need to be solved to facilitate recreational uses. In recovering from the earthquake, the enhancement of recreation in the river and the Estuary will lead to a better quality of life and the improved well-being and psychological health of Christchurch residents. It was concluded that the Avon River and the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai continue to provide various opportunities of recreation for users.