Victoria Square reopens as cordon reduced

Walkers allowed in as red-zone cordon shrinks

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 08:25 16/11/2012
Victoria Square
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

READY: Victoria Square reopens to walkers today.

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Victoria Square will today reopen for the first time since the February 2011 earthquake.

A reduction to the red-zone cordon by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) will enable people to walk to the site from mid-morning today.

Two pedestrian pathways to the square are available - one via the Armagh St bridge, and the other via Kilmore St, past the Town Hall.

However, more accessways are likely to open by the end of the month.

Vehicles are not permitted.

The square, which was extensively damaged by the earthquakes, has been restored by city council staff and contractors.

"We recognise the importance of reopening areas like this where our community has a strong sense of identity and place," city council environment group general manager Jane Parfitt said.

Most of the repair work was carried out on the eastern side of Victoria Square.

The area surrounding the amphitheatre remained untouched as decisions were still pending on the town hall and other projects.

Cera chief executive Roger Sutton said the authority were "constantly assessing" opportunities to reduce the cordon but safety was paramount.

"I know this is a place people have been missing and I hope they will take this opportunity to return . . .

"People can be confident when they visit Victoria Square that it is being safely managed."

Sutton said fencing around the site ensured work could continue without disruption in the red zone.

Access hours to Victoria Square are 7am to 9pm.

The limited hours, which are expected to remain in place until February, are for security reasons relating to the red zone.

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