Canal Boat Concepts Floated for Kaiapoi

Published: 01-Apr-2019

A river with canal or house boats may be an unfamiliar sight to many Kiwis, however it could become a reality as various groups show interest in developing concepts for use on the Kaiapoi River.

The recently adopted Kaiapoi Town Centre Plan - 2028 and Beyond listed investigating the viability of Canal or House boats on the Kaiapoi River as one of 26 key projects.

On Monday, Council staff presented the Board with three different ideas that are currently under development.

The first of these is a ‘Canal/House Boat’ project that has been developed by staff at Ara Institute of Canterbury. This project proposes an innovative floating structure of up to 120m² for private residential living and would largely be self-contained.

The second project is that of a cruise boat known as the ‘River Queen’. The vessel had been previously been operating in Marlborough, however in late 2018 it was purchased and relocated to Kaiapoi by a local developer. The developer proposes to upgrade the vessel and operate river cruises from it once the Council has completed work on the Kaiapoi River pontoons in mid-2019. The vessel is currently stored at the Smith Street development site awaiting upgrades and repairs.

The third known proposal for the Kaiapoi River is known as ‘Homes on the River’ and is being led by a Christchurch based real estate agent. It proposed constructing private residential developments of 70m² or larger that float upon foundations on the river. It is understood that the project owner would like to pilot one of these homes on the river, and then use this model to develop and sell similar homes.

Board Chair, Jackie Watson said they were generally supportive of investigating canal or house boats, however it was important to ensure any project was unobtrusive and enhanced the river. “These concepts provide some exciting possibilities for Kaiapoi, but we do need to make sure they are located appropriately and complement the existing river activities.  We also need to consider the implications of a permanent home as compared to a temporary mooring.”  

The Board endorsed staff publishing Approvals and Process Guides that would provide information and assistance to the projects as they developed further.

Waimakariri District Council is only one of a number of organisations that would be involved in discussions with various project owners. Others stakeholders could include Environment Canterbury, the Crown (via Land Information New Zealand), New Zealand Transport Agency, local iwi, and existing river users.

Earlier in the meeting the Board approved a discretionary grant of $500 to support the Kaiapoi Art Expo and Schools’ Art Expo. Now entering its 14th year, more than 3,500 people are expected to attend the two day event.

The next Kaiapoi-Tuahiwi Community Board meeting will take place on April 15, 4pm in Meeting Room One at the Ruataniwha Kaiapoi Civic Centre.