Memorial needed now, says CTV widower

OLIVIA CARVILLE
Last updated 08:11 04/12/2013
CTV site
Richard Cosgrove
DEFACED: A sign at the site of the CTV collapse has been damaged by taggers.
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Dr Maysoon Abbas
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VICTIM: Dr Maysoon Abbas, wife of Maan Alkaisi, died in the CTV collapse.

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An earthquake widower is calling for the city council to tidy up the abandoned CTV site and install a temporary memorial to allow families to pay tribute to their loved ones with dignity.

Maan Alkaisi, who lost his wife in the CTV building, is putting forward a deputation to the Christchurch City Council earthquake recovery committee tomorrow, asking for a memorial to be installed at the CTV site to explain "exactly what happened here".

The CTV building killed 115 people when it collapsed on February 22, 2011.

It was the site with the single largest death toll in the earthquake and the building's remains have since been demolished and cleared.

Alkaisi said the site looked like just another empty lot, bordered by wire fencing, and it bore no message explaining the horrors that occurred there.

"That building was the biggest tragedy that has ever happened in New Zealand and I would like to see something that reflects that," Alkaisi said.

"We have to show respect and honour to the people we lost there."

The official earthquake memorial is expected to be unveiled in 2016. Alkaisi said the CTV site should be set up as a temporary memorial for families to pay tribute on the third anniversary of the quake.

"People are coming from overseas just for that occasion and we need a place where people can reflect and remember."

He suggested planting flowers and installing proper fencing that could bear signs to explain the tragedy.

"We need things like that so people are aware of the importance of that site until there is a permanent solution as to what exactly they are going to do with it," he said.

Families who lost loved ones in the collapse did not want to see another building erected on the CTV site "as if nothing happened there".

Council urban design and regeneration unit manager Carolyn Ingles said the Crown was the new owner of the CTV site and the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) would consider its short and longer term future.

"Until those decisions are made, council will continue to work alongside Cera to take care of the property in recognition of the significance this site holds to many families and those wishing to pay their respects," she said.

A Cera spokesman said the CCDU would talk with families of CTV victims about future plans for the site.

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- The Press

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