1 May 2017

Red-zone kayak cafe pegged for Avon land lease

10:01 am on 1 May 2017

A cafe and kayak hire could be set up in Christchurch's red-zoned land as part of a community garden project in Richmond.

(From left) Julie Crook, Hayley Guglietta and Ashley Crook checking out the red zone land which will become part of the Richmond Communty Garden.

(From left) Julie Crook, Hayley Guglietta and Ashley Crook checking out the red zone land which will become part of the Richmond Communty Garden. Photo: RNZ / Rachel Graham

Land Information NZ, which now manages the earthquake-damaged red zone, has granted the Richmond Community Garden group a lease for just over an acre of land along the banks of the Avon River.

It is the largest area Land Information NZ (LINZ) has ever leased to a community group.

The Richmond Garden Group currently has a small community garden between Avebury House, a council owned community house, and the Avon River.

Hayley Guglietta said the group had outgrown its current space and, as they were surrounded by redzone land, they approached LINZ to see if they could make use of some of the neighbouring land.

The Richmond Communty Garden is about to grow by a hectare with the addition of neighbouring redzone land.

The Richmond Community Garden is about to grow by a hectare with the addition of neighbouring redzone land. Photo: RNZ / Rachel Graham

The group now has a two-year lease on the redzone land, but it hoped that it will become permanent.

The immediate plans were to construct kitchen gardens, enhance a well-established area of native trees, and get the beginnings of a heritage fruit forest under way.

They will also have display gardens showing off different techniques for improving soil health, such as a lasagne garden (layers of different materials) or a Hugelkultur bed (a raised bed filled with rotting wood).

Ms Guglietta said long term they have big plans for a non-profit cafe, a bike and kayak hire and educational facilities, with the aim of making the venture self-funding.

"We see ourselves as the gateway to the planned walkway [and] cycleway through the red zone at Swanns Road. So people can hire a bike or a kayak, get a coffee when they are done, and get involved in the walkway. We're hoping that would then help us to fund the work to keep the place looking good."

At the moment the group only has seven permanent members, but they are hoping to grow their volunteer base and casual visitors.

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