Two good-news items this week. Christchurch’s Central City has been cleared to rebuild upon, and the Red Zone is to be lifted in April 2012 (except for a few “drop zones” around key buildings). With the final draft Central City Plan set to be adopted by the CCC tomorrow, and presented to the Minister for Earthquake Recovery on 21 December, the way is now paved for the city to begin to recover and rebuild. It won’t happen over night, not everyone will be 100 percent pleased with every aspect, and there will undoubtedly be a few bumps along the way, but I am optimistic that 2012 will be a great year and a lot of progress will be made, perhaps with a few surprises thrown in.
“no areas within the CBD or adjacent commercial areas were identified as having ground conditions that would preclude rebuilding on those sites” – Geological Interpretative Report
It’s a good change from the often pessimistic scare-mongering and rumours that have been going on. Interestingly, CERA head Roger Sutton seems to favour a cohesive approach to rebuilding in the Central City, rather than a piecemeal one. How that might be achieved will be a challenge, but will have obvious benefits and it is good to see such a ‘can-do’ attitude from those in charge. Sutton also calls the Council’s Central City document a “sparkling great plan”. A nice endorsement. According to Sutton, the construction of new buildings will be no more expensive than in other New Zealand cities, with costs expected to be about the same as earthquake prone Wellington.
Mayor Bob Parker said that the report notes that Christchurch is not unique in being located on soils susceptible to liquefaction within a seismically active region, and that a number of cities and large urban centres around the world, including Wellington, have a level of seismic hazard similar or greater than that in Christchurch.