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Fire-ravaged Christchurch Adventure Park 'not going to be a quick fix' (Video)

The Christchurch Adventure Park suffered more damage than initially thought in February's Port Hills fires.

Christchurch Adventure Park's 18 trails now wind through a black forest, interspersed by newly-cleared fire breaks.

A first look at the multimillion-dollar facility since it was ravaged by February's Port Hills fire shows many of the pine trees are blackened sticks, some shrivelled with orange-brown needles.

The forest gives off a sweet, earthy smell of burnt pine, and in the fields green blades of fresh grass make a contrast against the black ground they grew out of.

Tree fall hazard assessment is beginning in the Christchurch Adventure Park, but it's expected most affected trees will have to be logged.

Burnt logs rest precariously on the hill above the base of the chairlift, causing a hazard for anyone trying to access the building.

Damage assessment, rebuild plans begin at Christchurch Adventure Park after Port Hills fire
Christchurch Adventure Park committed to Christchurch
Fire heads down the valley to the Christchurch Adventure Park
Two fires rage on the Port Hills as one enters the Christchurch Adventure Park 

Communication manager Anne Newman concedes it's "not going to be a quick fix".


Rockfall hazards have been cleared in the Christchurch Adventure Park, allowing other types of damage assessment to start.

Adventure park staff were allowed in to certain areas last Friday, under strict safety conditions.

They cannot go in the forests, or anywhere near a hill where rocks or trees might fall.

Cars have to be parked facing down the road out of the park, in case a quick exit is required.

Staff are unable to access park infrastructure because of rockfall and tree hazards.

"There's significant damage in the park, and in fact it's actually a lot worse than we originally thought," Newman said.

There was no way to know yet how extensive the damage was to the chairlift, ziplines, and the mountain bike trails themselves, she said.

The coming weeks would be about making the park safe so staff and insurance companies could access and inspect the infrastructure.

Access is blocked to forested areas of the adventure park until dangerous trees can be cleared.

"We know that there is significant damage to the chair," Newman said.

The company expects to have to replace the 36-tonne haul rope, which has to be shipped in from Austria.

It will likely have to replace two of the ziplines that hung over some of the fire's most intense spots.

Firefighting crews managed to keep the fire clear of the park's village.

"We're not going to take shortcuts just to get the park open."

Newman said there is no estimated date for reopening the park.

Christchurch Adventure Park is in discussions about removing rockfall hazards, but dangerous trees will most likely be removed by the landowner's insurance company.

Newman said it took eight months to build the park the first time, and this time they were not starting from scratch.

Once the company knew how long the park would be closed for, it would "come up with some options" for the 1500 season pass-holders.

The company laid off 30 staff after the fire, many of whom were on fixed-term seasonal contracts.

Newman said the company tried to keep as many staff as possible because they would be needed to help reopen the park.




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