‘More than a board­walk’

Christchurch Mail - - FRONT PAGE - ANNA PRICE

A tim­ber board­walk along a soli­tary 180-me­tre es­tu­ary strip at South Brighton where only the cries of gulls pierce the air will re­store a path­way through na­ture, back­ers say.

The orig­i­nal board­walk, from the end of Caspian St to South Brighton do­main, was crip­pled by the earth­quakes and fin­ished off by a run of storms.

The $180,000 Christchurch City Coun­cil project went ahead at the in­sis­tence of the Coastal Burwood Com­mu­nity Board which feared the board­walk would be lost.

Board mem­ber Tim Sintes said news of its progress had brought hun­dreds of great com­ments.

‘‘It’s more than just a board­walk. It’s a vote of con­fi­dence for the com­mu­nity that we are re­tain­ing some of our won­der­ful as­sets.

‘‘Peo­ple can walk in si­lence and seren­ity, far from roads and traf­fic, with only the birds and stun­ning views of the moun­tains and es­tu­ary.’’

Con­trac­tor Bush­nell Builders project fore­man Scott Tree said the tim­ber was re­cy­cled from a board­walk in Hal­swell.

‘‘We’ve adopted a re­pair strat­egy that will make it stronger than the orig­i­nal. The earth­quake pushed it around but the storms fin­ished it off,’’ he said.

‘‘This one will be able to with­stand be­ing sub­merged.

‘‘It’s a job worth a lot of heart and soul. It’s a path­way through na­ture for every­body to en­joy. Lots of fam­i­lies raised their chil- dren on that board­walk. They learned to walk, to ride a bike on it. It means a lot to a lot of peo­ple.’’

The job had been weather and tide-de­pen­dent.

‘‘We worked in souther­lies, east­er­lies and waders to try to push through to fin­ish the job,’’ Tree said.

Boul­ders were be­ing brought in to sup­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing rocks to pro­tect the board­walk and al­low water into the es­tu­ary where the tidal flat un­der the board walk sup­ported the ecosys­tem.

Board mem­ber Linda Ste­wart said, his­tor­i­cally, the board­walk was an at­trac­tion to vis­i­tors from across the city as well as lo­cal res­i­dents, adding a ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ en­joy­ment to a cir­cuit walk.

Vis­i­tors would park on Bridge St and walk the es­tu­ary track past the jetty to the board­walk bridge. There, they would drink in the wide, open as­pect and view the birdlife be­fore re­turn­ing past the ra­dio tower to com­plete a loop walk.

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