Battle grows to reopen Dux

POLL: Taken from on June 1.
POLL: Taken from on June 1.

Pressure is growing on Christchurch Arts Centre bosses to allow the Dux de Lux bar to reopen on the earthquake-damaged site.

A Press website poll yesterday drew overwhelming support for the return of the Dux. Votes are still being collected online today.

Campaign groups have also sprung up online and Christchurch Central MP Brendon Burns has backed the bar's bid to resume trading at its Arts Centre site.

All Arts Centre tenancies, except one, were terminated after the February earthquake, which badly damaged the historic complex.

Seven tenants have launched a legal challenge to the evictions.

Former tenant and Dux de Lux owner Richard Sinke is not part of the legal action.

He has pledged to foot the $390,000 quake repair bill so he can reopen his bar.

Burns called on the Arts Centre to stop playing "hardball" with tenants and allow a "genuinely important symbol for our city" to be reborn.

Sinke's campaign against a proposed music centre on the Arts Centre site last year had created tensions with his landlord, Burns said.

"The Dux is probably the best-known bar in Christchurch. It's an institution.

"The Arts Centre are playing a pretty hardball game on this.

"You cannot help but think that the campaign he led against the music centre building is not doing him any favours here, and there needs to be a shift of attitudes.

"Reopening the Dux de Lux would be a significant step that would show our city was coming back to life and we are in business."

A Press poll had attracted 700 votes by last night, with 75 per cent favouring the reopening of the Dux de Lux bar at the Arts Centre.

Sinke said he would pursue legal action if the trustees did not respond to his plans.

"I want to get some dialogue going. But if that doesn't work, then I will have to pursue legal avenues.

"This must be putting pressure on them to reconsider their original stance," he said.

Annies Wine Bar owner Annie Edmond, a tenant in the legal action, said the management had been hasty in cancelling her lease.

"We feel that, legally, we do have an ongoing lease and we are challenging their actions," she said.

"This has been disappointing and frustrating," Edmond said.

"We don't want a fight, we just want to be assured that we can keep operating at the Arts Centre."

A Facebook group, Let's make the Arts Centre restore to us our Dux De Lux, had attracted 181 fans by yesterday afternoon, while the Save Our Dux Facebook group had more than 2500 members.

Arts Centre trust board chairman Deane Simmonds could not be contacted.

The Press