Indoor market could revive CBD
Heidi Herbert wants Christchurch to follow in the footsteps of great European cities and build a covered fresh-food market in the centre of the city.
The Austrian grandmother, who moved to New Zealand six years ago and now runs a small vineyard on Banks Peninsula, believes such a market could hold the key to reviving Christchurch's city centre and is urging the city council to make it happen.
"Christchurch needs one more special attraction. What I propose is a permanent covered market open daily, all year round. Fresh food, eateries and retail space. Imagine a bakery, charcuterie, meat and fish, and wine bar - breakfast, lunch and dinner sorted," Herbert said.
All the big cities of the world had covered fresh-food markets and they were often the first port of call for tourists. Most small towns in Europe also had such markets and everyone flocked to them. "I've lived in many towns and cities in Europe and we always go to the market. It is a natural thing. You meet your friends there, you meet your neighbours there," said 73-year-old Herbert.
When she moved to Christchurch she was disappointed to discover there was no year-round covered market in the city centre where people could buy fresh, locally produced food despite the city being at the centre of a rich agricultural region.
"Christchurch is a market town for Canterbury and already has a number of open markets which are very successful but when the weather is not so good, [they are] not so inviting.
"How much better would it be if there was a covered, specially designed indoor space to attract people?" Herbert said.
"I want a market like in Europe that is literally open every day. Such a development would soon pay for itself."
Herbert outlined her idea for a covered market to city councillors during last week's Annual Plan hearings and won enthusiastic support from Mayor Lianne Dalziel. "It is a great idea," she told Herbert.
Cr Jamie Gough, chairman of the council's strategy and planning committee, also loves the idea and is keen for the council to facilitate it. Gough said his two favourite markets were the Riccarton and Lyttelton farmers' markets, and it would be great to have something similar in the central city.
A covered market would help "activate" the city centre and give it a point of difference.