No restart for 'dream' restaurant

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 05:00 25/10/2011
Ginny Kaur'
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/FAIRFAX NZ
NIGHTMARE: Ginny Kaur's City Mall restaurant Last Train To India was badly damaged in the Boxing Day aftershock and then demolished after the February quake.
Last Train to India
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON
DESTRUCTION: An inside view of Ginny Kaur's Last Train to India restaurant after the Boxing Day aftershock.

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A former City Mall restaurant owner can only watch as the area gets back in business.

Ginny Kaur opened her "dream" restaurant, Last Train to India, in 2008 in Christchurch's City Mall after moving to New Zealand to give her children a better life.

She had imported the furniture and crockery from India, including the bar and cutlery, and even the front doors.

The family business was brought to its knees on Boxing Day last year when the wall of a neighbouring building tumbled through its roof. Last Train to India normally opened seven days a week and only closed for lunch on Sundays.

The magnitude-4.9 aftershock that hit at 10.30am on Sunday, December 26, would have killed people had the restaurant been open, Kaur said.

Bricks and debris fell through the roof, smashing the bar and five tables, and left a gaping hole in the ceiling.

The restaurant was only a few weeks off reopening when its fate was sealed on February 22.

It has been eight months since her dream was destroyed and Kaur said the reopening of City Mall would be bittersweet.

"It was my dream and it's gone. The earthquake changed everything; it is a very sad, tough time for us," she said.

"Life is still in limbo but I'll go down and have a look when the mall reopens."

Through the Restart the Heart initiative, City Mall, which lost about half of its buildings, is due to reopen on Saturday.

More than 60 shipping containers are being installed into vacant lots to provide a central-city retail hub for Cup and Show Week.

Although Kaur had no opportunity to salvage anything from her business, she was allowed into the red zone to say a "final goodbye" before it was demolished.

She barely recognised the devastated City Mall that she used to work in every day.

"It was completely different in there. The whole mall was just destroyed," she said.

The single mother refuses to abandon Christchurch and is holding on to the hope that she will find a new building to relocate and rebuild her dream.

"I am exploring the options and looking for places but it's not that easy and I haven't found anywhere suitable so far.

"I have never thought of leaving the city; it has given me so much and I still love it, but hopefully I'll find some place soon so we can restart our lives."

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- The Press

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