A planned multimillion-dollar earthquake memorial should not take precedence over Christchurch people still living in horror conditions, some victims' families say.
One widow said a memorial honouring the dead "definitely has to be built", but not before raw sewage stopped "squirting up out of the plughole".
Julie Caldwell lost her 47-year-old husband Ian in the February 2011 earthquake and said she would like to see a tribute built on behalf of the 185 victims, but she had serious concerns over the millions of dollars expected to go towards a memorial when people were "still suffering".
Every time she drained the bath, raw faeces would come up the plughole, and Caldwell said she had been waiting more than a month to get the sewerage system in her New Brighton home fixed.
She believed many others were facing similar "nightmares".
"People need help, and the number one priority should be their standard of living. It would be lovely to have a big super-duper memorial, it's a very nice idea. But I don't think it should take precedence over people," she said.
"It's been almost two years, and there's a lot of people in Christchurch who just want to get back into a normal house and get their lives back in order."
The Christchurch Central Development Unit blueprint, unveiled three weeks ago, included plans for an earthquake memorial, but no details on what, where or how much it might cost.
But a Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokeswoman confirmed it would be a multimillion-dollar project, and last year the Christchurch City Council included plans for an $8 million earthquake memorial in its central city draft plan, a figure a number of victims' families labelled "excessive".
Earthquake widow Marie Malone said she could not understand the "extreme cost" for the memorial. "I have heard people talking millions for the memorial. Have they gone mad? What an absolute waste of money, clearly they need to get a reality check," she said.
Malone lost her husband Ian Foldesi in the quake, and said he would not have wanted to be included in such a costly memorial when "people are still living in garages and cars and going without power and water in the city".
She thought a communal site to share grief would be "wonderful", and said she was only objecting to the estimated cost, not the idea.
Rather than spending "outrageous" amounts of money, Malone suggested a rose garden designed by a local artist as a less expensive and respectful alternative.
All families who lost loved ones in the earthquake have been invited to take part in the memorial project, an offer Malone said she would take up.
Development unit director Warwick Isaacs said the project would involve local, national and international consultation and was expected to take about two years, with the finished product unveiled on February 22, 2016.
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