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Work begins to improve user safety on Avon River

6 June 2007

Work begins next week on the Avon River to provide a safer environment for non-powered water craft users.

A portion of the river embankment at Kerrs Reach is to be excavated to provide a larger area for launching canoes and rowing skiffs and pontoons installed to provide for easier river access during low and high tides.

The work is part of an $875,000 project by the Christchurch City Council to improve safety for all Avon River users. It also includes the installation of a pontoon at Owles Terrace and new signage along the river to educate users of the "rules" that apply to this area of water.

Council Recreation and Sports Manager John Filsell says the number of non-powered craft users on this section of the Avon has increased significantly in recent years.

"This has resulted in a number of incidents and near misses relating to the launching of craft, river access and river use.

"With competing use for access and river use by rowers, kayakers, canoeists and dragon boaters, the Council recognised there was an urgent need to provide some safety measures to minimise the risks."

He says by providing a longer launch area at Kerrs Reach and installing pontoons, users will be provided with quicker and safer access to the river for launching and taking out their craft.

"This is the first step to helping improve safety. In summer, Council will undertake an education programme to ensure all river users are made aware of passing lanes and the rules for using the river safely."

Work at Kerrs Reach is expected to take about three months to complete and Mr Filsell says Council apologises for any noise and/or dust pollution that may result for neighbouring residents as a result of the embankment excavation and pontoon installation.

At Owles Terrace, improvements to the launching area and installation of a pontoon for waka craft will provide an alternative entry point to the river for casual users and dragon boaters, helping to ease pressure on the Kerrs reach section of the river. Work at this site is expected to begin in September and take two weeks.

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