Christchurch's Victoria Square closed for a year for earthquake restoration

Christchurch's Victoria Square will be upgraded over the next year.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

Christchurch's Victoria Square will be upgraded over the next year.

Victoria Square in central Christchurch has closed for a year for a restoration project.

Fences erected on Monday completely block access to the square, including along the Avon River and from the former Crowne Plaza hotel site at Durham and Kilmore streets. 

Work is scheduled to finish in the "first quarter of 2018", a sign states.

For "safety reasons", it will "not be possible to walk through or use the square while work is happening".  

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Otakaro Ltd, which is undertaking the project, planned to announce the closure on Tuesday.

It is understood plans for the restoration were unchanged from those released in July 2016.

Barricades around Victoria Square.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

Barricades around Victoria Square.

The $6 million plan retains heritage monuments, including the Queen Victoria and Captain Cook statues and the floral clock. The Bowker Fountain will be restored.

Existing paving will be replaced because it was damaged in the earthquakes or was old.

Many of those pavers may be recycled as a diagonal pathway through the former Crowne Plaza site, now occupied by Gap Filler and affiliated transitional groups.

The pathway will run under the tall wooden arches, known as the Arcades, that march across the Gap Filler site.

"We are very dependent on finding a corporate sponsor to build this," said Anne Cunningham, co-director of Te Putahi, the transitional group that installed the Arcades. 

The general layout of Victoria Square will be retained, according to the July restoration document. 

Victoria Square in central Christchurch has closed for a year for earthquake repairs
WILL HARVIE/FAIRFAX NZ

Victoria Square in central Christchurch has closed for a year for earthquake repairs

Some trees planted since the earthquakes will be relocated within the square because they were in the wrong place.  

A new 3D integrated artwork paying tribute to the Ngai Tahu signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi will be added to the square. It will be at the scale of the Queen Victoria statue. 

The Queen Victoria and Captain Cook statues and Floral Clock will be untouched, while the Hamish Hay Bridge will be repaired and the Bowker Fountain restored.

Work will include building a new punt stop in Victoria Square opposite the Town Hall.
SUPPLIED/OTAKARO LIMITED

Work will include building a new punt stop in Victoria Square opposite the Town Hall.

That diagonal right of way through the Gap Filler site will be permanent, another development not previously announced.

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The right of way was a road before it was blocked by the hotel. City council owns the land, and there are no known plans for the two triangular parcels of land either side of the right of way.   
Anne Cunningham, co-director of Te Putahi, hopes to pave under the wooden arches using pavers recycled from Victoria Square.
WILL HARVIE/FAIRFAX NZ

Anne Cunningham, co-director of Te Putahi, hopes to pave under the wooden arches using pavers recycled from Victoria Square.

 - Stuff

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