New Christchurch aims to be earthquake- proof
CHRISTCHURCH’S picturesque town centre crumbled in a violent February quake but the CBD that replaces it could be the most shakeproof in the world.
Mayor Bob Parker made the promise as the New Zealand government unveiled a massive recovery project to restore the South Island centre to its former glory.
The five-year operation has a huge job ahead . The 6.3-magnitude quake struck at lunchtime on February 22, killing an unconfirmed 182 people and virtually flattening the CBD.
Dozens of delicate historic buildings, many in the gothic style celebrated by tourists and locals alike, were destroyed in the disaster. The most famous of them, the cathedral, lost its spire and will take years to restore.
The city’s 380,000 residents have suffered blow after blow since the disaster.
There has been a constant stream of job losses as hardhit businesses struggle to stay a float and ongoi ng issues with sewerage and water are the cause of great expense and inconvenience.
Residents had hoped the opportunity to help host this year’s Rugby World Cup in September would provide a much-needed financial and emotional boost for the town.
But it wasn’t to be. The rights were stripped when a report on the city’s stadium showed major damage that could not be repaired in the tight time frame.
The announcement yesterday of a single stand-alone body, the Canterbury Earth- quake Recovery Authority, to lead the recovery effort has buoyed many who were frustrated with the lack of progress so far.
But Mr Parker warned that a transformation of the devastated CBD would be far from immediate.
‘‘ Our ultimate goal is to build the most earthquakesafe city in the world,’’ he said.