Revival gladdens the heart
Since our Water Services Unit started using ecological sensitivity and helping restore water quality, the rivers and streams have been coming back to life.
I first saw this policy in action in my own neighbourhood as the Shirley Stream was transformed from an eyesore into a living, green corridor and an increasingly robust eco- system.
In an exciting trend for a major city, the number of wetland birds is increasing in diversity and health for the first time in years. I am told there are even whitebait spawning in tributary streams for the first time in a long, long time. Our native ducks are returning to the water around the City in increasing numbers.
It is a huge achievement for this City, which is still growing economically.
It is an important building block to provide our residents with a quality of life that pays much more than just lip service to conservation.
This restoration of our waterways is yet another innovative feature of Christchurch that is starting to draw favourable national and international interest and praise. It is also meets our goal of making life in Christchurch sustainable for this and future generations.
One other great feature of the policy of working in harmony with nature is that it will lower the cost of waterway management for the future. Future generations will not have to dip into their pockets to fund replacement of items such as concrete drainpipes and expensive engineering structures.
I am told that the present waterway restorations are also adding value to property prices and a sense of community pride.
As the waterway restorations start to link across the city they will provide us with another drawcard for attracting tourists and permanent migrants.
One of the fastest growing segments of the tourist market is eco-tourism, and a regenerated system of waterways in a major city is sure to attract visitor interest.
It will also strengthen our hand in attracting people to live in Christchurch.