New plan offers few changes to Victoria Square, after earlier revamp rubbished

Few changes will be made to Christchurch's Victoria Square.
DEAN KOZANIC/FAIRFAX NZ

Few changes will be made to Christchurch's Victoria Square.

Few changes will be made to Christchurch's Victoria Square after a proposed $7 million makeover of the site drew the ire of the public.

Crown-owned company Otakaro Limited on Tuesday released its developed design plans for the square.

It comes after Christchurch residents rubbished a multimillion-dollar revamp. Most submissions made in mid-2015 rejected the Crown's plan to modify the square's layout, relocate historical landmarks and remove trees.

A new punt stop will be installed in Victoria Square, opposite the Town Hall.
SUPPLIED/OTAKARO LIMITED

A new punt stop will be installed in Victoria Square, opposite the Town Hall.

Otakaro's plan retains heritage monuments, including the Queen Victoria and Captain Cook statues and the floral clock. The Bowker Fountain will be restored.

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The plan will be cheaper than the rejected design, with Otakaro confirming the Crown would pay the $6 million restoration cost.

Work will start in spring and finish by mid-2017.

Removing paths and lights in planted areas would discourage "anti-social behaviour". A new punt stop would go opposite the Town Hall.

Otakaro said it would provide shade on the Avon River's edge to support fish.

"People will still be able to enjoy the sense of space within Victoria Square and access the Avon River, while benefiting from enhancements to this important civic asset that will make it safer and more accessible," Otakaro chief executive Albert Brantley said.

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An artwork would pay tribute to Ngai Tahu's Treaty of Waitangi signatories.

The wall behind the Queen Victoria statue would include artwork.

Paved surfaces in Victoria Square were in a poor condition, with uneven ground creating trip hazards and water pooling.

Otakaro said that was because of their their age, the materials used and earthquake damage.

The design team looked at drawings produced in the 1980s. It would reinstate what was currently there, with an additional layer. 

An independent reference group considered feedback on the proposed designs, including the latest plan. 

The group was made up of heritage, local business, tourism, accessibility and youth organisations alongside Ngai Tuahuriri and representatives from the team that developed the square during the 1980s.

Chairwoman Sara Templeton said consultation showed a desire for the square to remain largely as is. 

"We're looking forward to enjoying Victoria Square again, Vanilla Ice in hand, once the work is completed," she said.

 - Stuff

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