Arch decision dismays RSA

MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Last updated 05:00 10/09/2011
Christchurch RSA president Russell Barron is disappointed the city council will not make temporary repairs to the Bridge of Remembrance.
KIRK HARGREAVES
NO SUPPORT: Christchurch RSA president Russell Barron is disappointed the city council will not make temporary repairs to the Bridge of Remembrance.

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The Christchurch Returned and Services' Association (RSA) is adamant the Bridge of Remembrance must not share the fate of Lyttelton's Timeball Station.

President Russell Barron said the Christchurch City Council had insulted the memory of all those who died for their country by deciding not to support the "fragile" archway of the bridge, opened in 1924, pending permanent repair.

The RSA had been told a steel structure would be erected to provide temporary protection. However, it learned this week that would not go ahead, Barron said.

"We thought the steel structure was an excellent idea because it would secure the bridge and allow it to be open for pedestrians when the City Mall opens [planned for the end of October].

"The decision effectively means the bridge will not be open for Show Week, but worse still, if we get another big shake in three to four months time we could lose the whole thing.

"This is exactly what happened to the Timeball.

"We had the February earthquake, then five months of discussions and June 13 comes along and knackers that one.

"We have an opportunity and responsibility to ensure that bridge is made safe and secure.

"All our history is gone and the council is saying we are not going to protect it."

The city council's general manager city environment, Jane Parfitt, said the council was working through a concept and design process for a permanent solution to repair the Bridge of Remembrance, including the arch.

The likely cost to repair the arch alone was more than $2 million, she said.

"We are very aware of the adverse impact on the heritage fabric of the Bridge of Remembrance that may result from any temporary reinforcing work placed on the arch.

"Given that the cost of steel bracing for this temporary solution is not insignificant – it is likely to be over $430,000 – we feel it would be counterproductive to the permanent solution to put a temporary solution in place," she said.

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- The Press

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