Council backs CTV memorial

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 10:14 05/12/2013
The site where the CTV building once stood
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

SHOWING RESPECT: A couple take in the site where the CTV building once stood. It collapsed during the February 2011 earthquake, killing 115 people.

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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The Christchurch City Council is backing calls for a temporary memorial on the site of the CTV building, with Mayor Lianne Dalziel signalling she will raise the issue with the Earthquake Recovery Minister.

Speaking at the first meeting of the council's new earthquake recovery committee this morning, Dalziel said she was aware the site had fallen into a state of disrepair and felt it was disrespectful to the families of those who lost loved ones there.

It was vital a temporary memorial was there by the third anniversary of the quake as families from around the world would be gathering there to remember their loved ones and if they saw the site as it was now, they would feel "we dishonour the memory of those who we lost'', she said.

Councillors resolved to write to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) to formally request the establishment of a temporary memorial on the site.

The mayor said she would also raise the issue with Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

The move followed a request from Maan Alkaisi, who lost his wife Maysoon Abbas in the CTV building.

He told the councillors it was critically important to him and the other families who lost loved ones in the CTV building that a proposed memorial was in place to mark the third anniversary of the quake on February 22, 2014.

"Currently the site appears to be abandoned and it is disrespectful; it looks no different from the many of the demolished building sites. There is not even an interpretation panel to explain the significance of what occurred on that piece of land almost three years ago.

"We are not asking too much with our request for a temporary memorial, one that is sensitive to the surroundings and reflects the tragedy that happened there,'' Alkaisi said.

"We don't believe we should be left waiting until 2016 for an official earthquake memorial on a site that is still being determined.''

Alkaisi said long-term there should be a permanent memorial on the CTV site.

"We don't want to see just another building there, as if nothing has happened. We the families would like to see the site beautiful and adding value to the city much like the people who used to work there.''

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.

Public relations consultant David Lynch, who spoke who in support of Alkaisi's bid for a temporary memorial, said something needed to be urgently done about the barren wasteland the CTV site had become, with overgrown grass, wire fencing and a lack of any appropriate signage.

"It is not surprising that tourists I have spoken with believe the site has been abandoned by the city altogether,'' Lynch said.

"We are here asking for your help to establish a temporary memorial and change something that we hope you will agree is no longer acceptable.''

 

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