Media statement from Canterbury Conservator Mike Cuddihy
Along with the rest of Christchurch, the Department of Conservation’s Canterbury operations have been heavily affected by the tragic 22 February earthquake.
Impacts to offices
Our inner-city offices in Hereford Street, Kilmore Street and the visitor centre at the i-SITE in Cathedral Square are not operational and could be out of action for some time. As a short-term solution we are relocating staff to premises outside the city centre. Email is the best method of communication with staff from these offices but please be mindful that many will be dealing with urgent issues relating to the earthquake.
Immediately after the 6.3 earthquake, DOC staff established an emergency coordination centre operating out of Mahaanui Area Office in Sockburn. The main priorities for this operation were to offer the maximum support possible to the earthquake recovery effort and to ensure the welfare of our staff.
Over the coming weeks and months, Mahaanui Area Office will continue to lead a scaled-down DOC earthquake response as required.
Aoraki, Twizel, Raukapuka and Waimakariri area offices are operating as normal.
Assistance to the overall earthquake response
DOC staff are assisting the Fire Service, Police, Civil Defence, Christchurch City Council and others with a range of emergency response activities, including:
- controlling helicopter traffic at Hagley Park;
- assisting with Urban Search and Rescue with thermal imaging;
- providing vehicle support to LandSAR, Red Cross and USAR;
- providing back up to the New Brighton Fire Service;
- filling tanks for fire control and dust suppression for Christchurch City Council;
- helping transport Environment Canterbury staff around the city and also Vodafone to maintain cell phone towers;
- providing GIS and data entry support; and
- undertaking mechanical servicing of equipment and vehicles.
We have been able to draw upon departmental resources from across the nation to assist the operation including engineers, mechanics, GIS experts, fire trucks, tankers, pumps and utility vehicles.
Effects to visitor facilities
Some huts and historic structures near Christchurch, especially on the Port Hills, have suffered damage.
We are endeavouring to open areas that are safe as early as possible but public safety has to be our main priority at this time. The ground remains unstable around some of the steeper sections of track in the Port Hills and may take some time to settle down. In particular, it is extremely important that people keep away from the Lyttelton Reserves (Major Hornbrook, Chalmers and Crater Rim tracks).
Some sites will remain closed until engineers and geotechnical specialists have confirmed their safety. If facilities are signposted as closed and dangerous, please respect this and do not use these areas.
Greater Canterbury area
You are still able to visit public conservation land in the greater Canterbury area as this is unlikely to have been affected by the earthquake. You should take the usual personal care and responsibility these places.
- Banks Peninsula Reserves (Hay Reserve, Ellangowan Reserve, Montgomery Park): Open from 14 March.
- Mt Herbert Walkway: Closed pending a geotechnical survey.
- Sign of the Packhorse Hut: Open from14 March (this includes track sections from Kaituna to Packhorse Hut and Gebbies Pass to Sign of the Packhorse Hut).
- Sign of the Packhorse Hut to Mount Herbert: Closed pending a geotechnical survey.
- Lyttelton Reserves (Major Hornbrook, Chalmers, Crater Rim): Closed due to rock hazards. It is very important that the public to not enter the reserve at any point.
- Godley Head: Godley Head Road is closed. The Coastal Walkway, mountain bike tracks, tunnel track, military tracks and car park are all closed.
- Quail Island: Open from 14 March.
- Ripapa Island: Closed – repairs to fort required
- Ōtūkaikino Reserve: Closed – repairs to boardwalk required.
- Railtrail: Open.
- Adderley Head: Open.