Cera expands quake tour business
The Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) is poised to allow guided tours on foot and bicycles inside the wrecked Christchurch CBD.
Cera hosted possible providers for such tours inside the Red Zone of the Christchurch CBD last week.
The authority wants to enable the public, including tourists, to visit the cordoned-off CBD rebuild zone to "see first-hand the deconstruction and rebuild processes in a safe and controlled environment", it says in a tender to find tour operators.
At the same time it wants to ensure disruption to rebuild activity is minimised.
Since the 6.3 earthquake on February 22, 2011, the CBD has been cordoned off. Cera maintains the cordon, now 4.8km long, and determines who has access to the zone, and on what terms.
It has run a series of bus visits, managed a cathedral walkway from Cashel Mall into Cathedral Sq, and also allows an operator to run bus tours, and punting trips on the Avon River.
However, it is now seeking to extend that to "assist the public to understand the changed nature of Christchurch's CBD".
Local operator Hassle-Free Tours sent a representative along to the Cera briefing, but is not yet sure whether it will take its interest further.
Managing director Mark Gilbert said Cera and his company have similar ideas about looking forward to what the city will look like in the future rather than backwards. However, there are a number of restrictions on tour operators.
Gilbert said if he could add such tours to activities it is already offering it may become involved, otherwise, perhaps not.
Cera said it has had inquiries from more people wanting to operate guided tours into the cordon to see the changing face of the CBD, its tender says.
"It is, however, not wanting to divert its resources away from the deconstruction and rebuild processes and, therefore, is offering the operators the opportunity to meet public demand by providing guided tours into Christchurch's CBD rebuild zone on a commercial basis."
Cera is proposing tours start on Saturday afternoon and Sunday when activity in the zone is reduced. Ongoing services will be subject to the successful tenderers proving themselves safe and reliable operators. Once that is done, the tenderers would be able to offer the tours on other days of the week.
"The CBD rebuild zone contains unique hazards and is not a typical tourism environment. Cera's experience is that people are interested in seeing the CBD and are particularly interested in seeing the deconstruction and rebuild progress," it says.
Cera says it has no criteria regarding the type of tour offered. These could include walking, cycling or passenger vehicle of under 12 seats. Tours must start at least 20 minutes apart at any time and they must operate in daylight.
It is, however, setting client/staff ratios. Walking tours, for instance, will require one guide to every six clients with a maximum 12 clients each tour group. Vehicle tours require one guide to every 11 passengers.
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