Business owners in fear

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 16/03/2011

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Christchurch business owners fear more inner-city buildings will be demolished without their knowledge.

City Centre Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale said no effort was being made by officials to get crucial information to business owners.

"I have had email after email from owners asking when they will get access to their buildings and when more information will come through, but there is no co-ordinated information coming through."

Owners feared their buildings would be demolished without notification, he said.

"Fortuna Books [in Hereford St] was demoed without notification, and that is the fear a lot of people have," he said.

Anxious owners are calling for information from officials.

Kurt Langer, who owns a photography studio in the City Mall, said he felt "robbed and ruined" by authorities denying him access to his building.

It holds more than $800,000 worth of property, including his wedding albums.

He said he had begged at the earthquake headquarters for access every day since the February 22 quake.

"I feel like Christchurch is in a police state and I believe we are living under a communist rule.

"I know it sounds extreme, but they are demolishing businesses without giving information. They are ruining lives, and in a democracy this should not be allowed," he said.

Mary Fraser, who owns Care Consultants in the Link Centre in Hereford St, said she was "absolutely devastated" by the lack of information from the officials. "We are not being told anything," she said. "I am worried sick."

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