Christchurch red zone curtain set to fall

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 11:12 27/03/2013
Red zone breakfast
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ

A LITTLE TREAT: Gary May, left, and Scott Johnston serve Dave Southen during the breakfast for red-zone workers.

Norma Stein
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
STANDS OUT: Among the red-zone workers at the breakfast is Norma Stein, who is eight months pregnant.

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The fence that surrounds Christchurch's inner city will be removed on June 28, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) says.

Cera cordon manager Brenden Winder this morning announced four key events for the CBD.

- The long-awaited reopening of New Regent St is set for April 20, and Winder was confident the deadline would be met.

- Colombo St will reopen at the end of this week from Hereford to Lichfield St to allow Avonmore Tertiary Institute students to access their new building at 150 Hereford St. The building, which runs between Hereford and High streets, was a food court before the earthquakes and has been upgraded and refurbished to cater for Avonmore's requirements.

"The reduction of that cordon will also allow people to get to Contemporary Lounge and the front entrance of Ballantynes," Winder said.

- Worcester St was due to reopen at the end of the week to allow access to the Old Government Building that houses The Heritage Hotel.

Winder said this deadline may have to be extended because "there might be slightly more work needed on the building" and Cera was working with Heritage general manager Gary Jarvis.

- The red zone cordon was expected to be removed on June 28 but Winder said this depended "on a few thousand things".

"We have a role to play in that, of course we do, but it's also about the building owners, the Christchurch City Council and the related infrastructure requirements - the roads, street lighting, the power companies and utilities," he said.

Any unsafe buildings would have to be fenced off, which could mean there would be "more fences in the city".

"The big continuous Cera fence that goes around the city will go, but it's likely there will be more fences inside the CBD because unsafe buildings that need to be fenced off will have a knock-on effect for other areas and buildings," he said.

Once the cordon was removed Cera would focus on the anchor projects proposed in the Christchurch Central Development Unit plan.

Cera officials addressed red-zone workers this morning who gathered in Cathedral Square for a cooked breakfast.

New World South City owner-operator Nigel Bond and three of this staff spent the morning giving out sausage sandwiches, hot cross buns and orange juice to about 100 workers.

Bond said he wanted to put the breakfast on to "show appreciation to the unsung heroes".

"The CBD used to have 52,000 workers in it and they were our customers ... but it's changed now," he said.

"We're selling a lot more pies and bottles of V.

"But these workers are doing a tough job every single day and I think it's nice to show them a bit of appreciation and to say thanks."

Among the workers was Norma Stein who, at eight months pregnant, stood out in the crowd.

Stein and her business partner bought MAC Development about 18 months ago and moved from the North Island to Christchurch.

She is due to give birth to her first child on April 21 and planned to carry on "doing a bit of work from home".

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"I'm obviously not on site like my business partner but I do come and go and I take care of all the office side of things," she said.

She hoped to have "a week or so" off before she gave birth.

- The Press

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