Greening the CBD
The seeds are being sown for the transformation of several empty central-city sites.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has begun "greening" work on five large sites within the north and east frames, to be transformed into open public spaces within the next month.
The sites will be covered with top soil and seeded with grass, with some areas providing more central city car parking.
Seeding work began yesterday on the corner of Manchester St and Cambridge Tce. Work on the next site, the corner of Madras and Armagh streets, will start today.
Part of the largest site, bordered by Gloucester, Manchester, Worcester streets and Latimer Sq, will provide 150 car parks for New Regent St shoppers. The parks will be free for 120 minutes, and are being introduced because of a lack of parking compared to other retail areas in the city.
A low fence will be constructed to restrict vehicles around each of the sites as they are completed.
Christchurch Central Development Unit development director Rob Kerr said this would be the "first taster" of the part- residential, part open space planned for the north and east frames.
"The grassed areas are interim measures as the area is prepared for the housing component of the frame, which is essentially an urban park development," he said.
The next stage would call for expressions of interest from developers in the coming weeks. Construction on the residential parts of the frame should be "well under way" next year, Kerr said.