Return of eateries, music lifts Lyttelton

21:10, Jan 12 2012
RECHARGING: Workers enjoy fish and chips bought from Lyttelton Seafoods' portacom on Norwich Quay.

Nearly 11 months after the earthquake on February 22 wrecked the town's historic precinct, signs of recovery are evident.

Demolition sites have been decorated with flowers, a petanque court and community space has replaced a century-old landmark, and businesses have fought to reopen any way they can, be it from shipping containers, portacabins or the owner's home.

The Port Hole bar opened in a container on the site of the former Volcano bar, Tommy Chang's cafe from owner Dave Watchorn's home, and Freemans restaurant reopened last month for the first time since the quake.

The bakery and takeaway last year moved into prime waterfront real estate in portacabins, and Gap Filler and Greening the Rubble projects beautified demolition sites.

Wendy Everingham, of Project Lyttelton, said the return of bars, cafes, restaurants and live music had lifted community spirits.

A weekly newsletter promoting local events had begun circulating and the mood was "positive again", she said.

"We're still battered and bruised, but not quite to the extent of the eastern suburbs [of Christchurch].

"When you lose stuff, you want things to happen so [people] club together and create things.

"The earthquake has strengthened [the community] even more."

Everingham said the damage to Lyttelton still caused shock, especially for returning visitors.

It was still hoped some of the remaining heritage buildings could be saved, he said.

With the anniversary of the quake less than six weeks away, an event to mark the occasion had not crossed her mind.

"I haven't really thought about it at all and I haven't talked with anyone who's thinking about it.

"To me, it's going backwards," she said.


The Press