Christchurch Adventure Park staff have gathered this morning to mark the one-year anniversary of the devastating Port Hills fires.
The fires, which broke out on 13 February 2017, burned 1600 hectares of land on the Port Hills, claimed the life of firefighter Steve Askin, destroyed eleven homes and tore through the Christchurch Adventure Park, forcing its closure after just eight weeks of being open.
Christchurch Adventure Park General Manager, Anne Newman, said this morning’s breakfast was about acknowledging the stressful time that many staff and the local community have been through, and the hard work that has been put into getting the Park up and running again.
"For those staff who were working at the Park on that day it was obviously a stressful and traumatic experience to go through. Many staff then lost their jobs following the fires, and for those who did remain it was ten months of incredibly hard work to get things prepared for a re-opening.
"The anniversary will no doubt spark some anxious memories for some, so we wanted to take some time together to acknowledge that and also to thank our staff for all that they have done to make it possible for us to re-open. It is awesome how many of our former staff returned to their jobs when we re-opened in December, not to mention the Park users who have returned over the summer. It means a lot to us that they have stuck by us," Ms Newman said.
Sales and Marketing Manager, Sheena Crawford, said that while tracks continue to be repaired and rebuilt, the focus has been on growing the awareness of the Christchurch Adventure Park outside of the core mountain bike market.
"We have thought outside of the box and held a number of events to draw in a new customer base outside of those who are here to ride the trails. We hosted over 1500 people for Christmas functions in December; we have developed packages aimed at families during the school holidays; we hosted an Uphill Walking Event which saw 1,000 people experience part of the Park by foot; we are using the café deck for Yoga classes and will soon be offering Spin classes; and our café has been hosting a variety of events such as Humpday Happy Hour, Quiz Nights and Tapas Friday," Ms Crawford said.
"We have recently re-opened two more of our trails, so in a biking sense we are getting closer and closer to our former capacity and are aiming to quickly grow beyond that. We have had over 40,000 people through the Park in the first two months; 30,000 of those going up the chair and over a thousand enjoying the ziplines. There is no doubt that there are still challenges for us to overcome as we continue to recover, but we are stoked to be back in business and seeing so many people out enjoying what the Park has to offer again."
Image: The Perfect Line