Civil Defence calls rethink as Christchurch building owners protest

GILES BROWN
Last updated 05:00 18/03/2011
Kurt Langer
DON SCOTT/The Press
ANGRY: City Mall building owner Kurt Langer wants to be able to get items out of his photography shop before an out-of-control system demolishes it.

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The wrecking ball will rest while a new plan to allow business owners into central Christchurch is considered, Civil Defence says.

A Civil Defence spokesman said "urgent clearance and safety work" would continue today and over the weekend.

However, he said it was likely there would be fewer – or no – demolitions as it re-examined the Red Zone access plan.

The news came as 30 business and property owners yesterday protested outside the Civil Defence headquarters at the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Protest organiser Kurt Langer, who owns a photography studio within the zone, said the city had been turned into a "communist state".

He had no information on the state of his studio and no opportunity to retrieve negatives, photos and hard-drives.

"If they demolish it, my whole 15 years of taking photos is gone," he said.

"I blame this new regime that has taken over our city. Let's kick this out."

Antony Gough, whose Hereford St building was demolished without his permission, joined the protesters.

"We've got principles of business ownership and property ownership which have been steamrollered over," he said. "They are not consulting with business owners, they are not consulting with property owners. They are just going ahead and demolishing."

He had been given "an assurance" by the Christchurch City Council there would be no demolitions over the next three days.

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