Bishop wants a beach in Cathedral Square
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
Christchurch's Cathedral Square could be transformed into an artificial beach with large movie screens.
Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews said the proposal could help make the earthquake-damaged Square "welcoming and engaging" again.
She spoke about the idea during the visit of the Australian governor-general to Christchurch.
"One conversation that's just beginning is to do a Re:Start here [in the Square] and having a giant movie screen, [and] artificial beach and trying to bring people into a place that has actually caused fear to make it welcoming and engaging again," Matthews said.
The project would be similar to City Mall's Re:Start shopping area, she said.
"People [are] saying, 'What would happen if this became a place of creativity and not a ruin?'" Matthews said, adding any work in the Square would depend on the demolition of buildings and the future of the Christ Church Cathedral.
The cathedral had suffered further damage in the past two weeks and could be weakened by central-city demolition work, she said.
"Parts that are now leaning were upright and relatively whole [two weeks ago]," Matthews said.
"I would not go where I was less than two weeks ago and we've only had a [magnitude] 4.3 [quake]. We all know there's a chance of a [magnitude] 5, so it's pretty depressing actually."
Last night, Matthews' spokesman, Philip Baldwin, said he understood the idea had been mooted by owners of buildings on the Square.
The Press was unable to reach Matthews for further comment.
Re:Start manager Paul Lonsdale was not aware of the plans but said he backed any idea that brought more life into the central city.
"It will interesting to see how a sandy environment goes in the Square because it is a bit of a wind tunnel," he said. "From a support perspective, we'd be right behind it.."
Gap Filler has proposed an artificial beach in the central city before, but co-founder and project co-ordinator Coralie Winn said the group was not involved in the Cathedral Square plan.
"It's the first I've heard of it," she said.
"We certainly hope to do a beach project at some point. The reason we haven't is because it requires a lot of support, namely sand, and the proper infrastructure around it to retain the sand."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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