Call for twisted bridge to become memorial

Twisted Medway footbridge to be removed

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 10:39 29/01/2013
Medway bridge
DEAN KOZANIC/Fairfax NZ

MEDWAY BRIDGE: The footbridge, damaged in the earthquakes, will be temporarily stored at the Ferrymead Heritage Park.

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People are campaigning to have the twisted Medway footbridge turned into an earthquake memorial.

The bridge, which was warped beyond repair in the Feburary 2011 quake, will be removed on February 12 after a community farewell.

The Christchurch City Council has instructed the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Recovery Team (Scirt) to remove the bridge because it is a "health and safety concern".

But some would like to see the bridge turned into an earthquake memorial.

One reader said they would like to see the "symbol of the earthquake's destruction" turned into an "amazing symbol of the earthquake".

They suggested putting the structure in Hagley Park or the central city.

A council spokeswoman said the bridge would be temporarily stored at the Ferrymead Heritage Park while "awaiting a future council decision on its use as a memorial".

Former Avonside Dr resident Islay McLeod said she did not have "an emotional attachment" to the bridge, but supported the idea of keeping it.

"It's good they're storing it at Ferrymead because one day - and many of them from now - it may fit back in that area."

She said it could serve as "more of a reminder than memorial".

However, McLeod thought some people would be glad to see it gone.

"I suspect that some residents will celebrate its removal because it was an unwanted earthquake tourist attraction and a constant reminder of the disastrous conditions locals were living in," she said. 

Once the footbridge is removed there will be no temporary bridge or structure put in its place.

Scirt investigated a replacement but that was considered expensive and was not supported by the council.

The decision on a permanent replacement will be made when use of the red-zone land is clear.

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- The Press

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