The first steps toward reopening of the CBD, and ultimately its rebuilding and revitalisation, will begin shortly with the completion and opening of the Re:START project (should legal action not delay that). Essentially a “pop-up mall” made out of containers on the site of former buildings in Cashel Mall, the (temporary) development will see 27 stores open up in the CBD, including the reopening of Ballentynes. That is not all. Earlier this week the temporary bus interchange dubbed “Central Station” (I am sure someone copied that from a suggestion I made a while ago about naming the proposed underground interchange) opened, an event which improves the public transport system immensely by making transfers much easier and allowing through routing again, and also provides another step in the support for rebuilding and revitalising the CBD.
Undoubtedly this is all good news, and its success would be a great moral booster for what is a broken and shattered CBD, and would be a great lead in to the implementation of the Central City Plan. I do have to ask if the abundance of car parking is completely necessary as it is still probably far easier to drive to a mall, and cheaper – if we can get it so people want to come to the CBD then we don’t necessarily need so many parks , a point many people seem to miss. But these are early days and it could possibly be down to individual property owners, as most of the parking is Wilsons ($1 per hour). The Council also has a car park next to Central Station (I like saying that for some reason) which is first two hours free.
So far I have only heard good things about the new Central Station. There is still a lot to do, and it is only temporary, but it finally brings things to a solid foundation from which to work up from. The actual “station” itself is probably not the most important thing, but rather how its existence positively affects the entire network in metro Christchurch. I have also noticed that an updated Metro site might be about to go up, if the Central Station information site was anything to go by. That can only be good news. Speaking of websites, the Councils public transport page (“buses and trams“) currently seems rather odd in that it says:
“Christchurch is well served by a comprehensive public transport network. As well as the planes, trains and coaches that bring people to and from Christchurch, the city provides a range of bus and tram services for those living in or visiting the city.”
I didn’t know that Christchurch had a range of tram services, or that what we did have was part of the public transport network! Perhaps they are simply preparing for what is to come? We can only hope…