From dream to reality: Navigating capacity needs for Coastal Pathway
The Christchurch Coastal Pathway, launched in 2012, is a 6.5km walking and cycling track which connects communities and offers a unique way to experience the stunning coastal environment. The pathway stretches from Ferrymead to Scarborough Beach via Redcliffs and Sumner. The final stages of the project were recently approved, which will connect Shag Rock to Sumner Surf Club. Rātā spoke to the project’s Group Funding Co-ordinator Kirsty Rueppell about navigating capacity needs, and the role leadership has played in successfully carrying out the project.
The Christchurch Coastal Pathway was a huge project - what sort of leadership was required to get it finished?
The initial project was bought about by a number of strong leaders who had the same vision in creating this lifelong asset. They have worked together tirelessly and collaborated with the Christchurch City Council to ensure the vision didn’t alter. The skill set was a key prerequisite in ensuring a project like this comes to fruition. The Coastal Pathway Group has been lucky enough to have the support of people who have excellent networks and connections both locally and within the Christchurch catchment. Great work ethic and a willingness to give your time in a voluntary capacity is essential and maintaining the initial vision. The leadership has come from a hardworking committee who have a multitude of expertise in a number of areas who never deviate from the initial concept but compromise when necessary.
What are some of the issues you encountered around capacity needs for the project? What are were the solutions to those issues?
Working with the Christchurch City Council has ensured the project has become a reality but this also means good things take time! Fundraising is a key issue which requires constant applications and networking. Forming relationships when working towards the same goal is essential. Due to the location of the pathway we have had to work with DoC, ECan and archaeologists as well as having geotechnical issues and earthquake-related issues. The cultural narrative is important to the Coastal Pathway Group and this has taken time to get the right advice/funding to ensure this is correct. I heard Joseph Hullen speaking at the WORD festival and was so impressed by him I tracked him down through the Matapopore Trust. They are going to work with the council to ensure the cultural narrative of this area is told. Time is always an issue when people leading the charge are volunteers. I think people need to remember that projects like this take a lot of planning, funding and collaboration. To build a 6.5 km coastal pathway post a significant natural disaster is a huge undertaking and we are incredibly proud to see this coming to fruition.
In terms of capacity needs for the project - did you engage any mentors/experts to assist?
When I came on board as the funding coordinator I was fortunate enough to engage Amy Carter as a mentor. From there we set up an advisory group who have assisted in numerous ways to help us get where we need to be!
What have you learnt from this project that could be shared with other communities?
Never give up! When one door closes, find another one to open. Our city is full of people who are willing to help, advise, give time and support you on whatever journey you are on. Engage the community, form relationships with your local council, pick up the phone to funders, chat. Be professional and always follow through with what you say you are going to do. Be accountable, open minded and laugh… a lot!