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Government buys CTV site

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 12:08 17/07/2013

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The Government has bought the empty site where 115 people died when the Canterbury Television building collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority said today that the Madras St site had been bought by the Crown as part of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.

The CTV site will form part of the east frame, a mainly residential area with green space that would border the condensed central business district.

The Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) has written to the families of the victims to advise them of the purchase.

CCDU director Warwick Isaacs said those involved in the project were aware of the sensitivities surrounding the site, and any decisions on its long-term future would reflect the tragedy that happened there.

''That is why we have been in contact with those affected families we have contact details for - to let them know about the change in ownership and to reassure them that access to the site will not change in the near future,'' he said.

Dr Maan Alkaisi, whose wife, Dr Maysoon Abbas, died in the CTV building collapse, said he hoped the site would be a place to ''respect and honour'' those who lost their lives there.

''We would like that site to be special,'' he said.

''I want that place to reflect that there were people working there to the last minute. They were giving to the community, they were giving to the city.''

Alkaisi is part of a committee discussing an official earthquake memorial for the city and said it was expected to be finished by 2016, but a site was still being determined.

''The CTV [site] could be one of the sites, but it's not decided yet,'' he said.

The Crown is also negotiating to buy the Pyne Gould Corporation site in Cambridge Tce where 18 people died in the February 2011 quake and others were seriously injured.

Isaacs said the talks were well advanced.

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