Tight deadline for New Regent St

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 10:21 04/09/2012
Extensive repair work in New Regent St is expected to be completed for a projected reopening by Christmas.
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

HARD GRAFT: A Christmas deadline is still on the cards for New Regent St.

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New Regent St will not be open for Christmas unless they start pouring concrete this week, the project manager says.

An engineering dispute has delayed restoration of the historic Christchurch street by about three weeks, but building consent needs to be granted this week for the project to be completed in time for the Christmas shopping rush.

Christchurch City Council staff have raised concerns about seismic strengthening plans for the street.

Project manager Ed Leeson, of Naylor Love, said the company was close to agreement with council engineers.

''We have been waiting for about three weeks, but we are not a million miles off it now,'' he said.

''If we can pour concrete this week I am hoping we can be finished for the first week in December and hand over for the fitout. We will be a week later at the other end if that doesn't come through.

''I find it a very weird way of doing things when the council is involved in the design of the structure, rather than just the consent. I am happy to deal with it and figure it out.''

Council building operations manager Ethan Stetson said the council wanted to make sure the buildings were safe in an earthquake.

''This is a life-risk issue. Some might say we are being a bit pedantic, but if I was going into that building I would want to make sure it was safe,'' he said.

''He knows what the issues are and has not responded. It is holding us up from processing consent documents.'' 

Stetson said project engineer Endel Lust had been tardy in providing additional information requested by council staff.

Lust met officials from the council and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) last Friday.

He said more detailed engineering calculations were submitted to council and Cera officials late last week.

''If we can get back on track this week we should still be on course for Christmas,'' he said.

''We would just like to get the consent so we can get moving on it. We want to pour concrete and get on with things.

''The building consent is there and everything is ready to go. We are just haggling over those last details.

''We want to get moving because we want to be open by Christmas.

''I'm the meat in the sandwich. There is no real point in arguing. I just want to co-operate and get the job done.''

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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