Bold plan for a new Christchurch

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 18:03 30/07/2012
CERA

VISION: A flyover of the hopes for a new-look Christchurch has been created.

Avon River Precinct
AVON RIVER PRECINCT: This will be bordered by green space, cycleways, and pavement cafes.
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City Blueprint

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Christchurch's new city centre will be compact and low rise, with all key facilities and precincts corralled between the Avon River and a new green 'frame'.

The 100-day blueprint released by the Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) outlines a bold plan to significantly shrink the size of the CBD by designating two strips of land - one in the east of the city and one in the south - as open spaces.

These spaces, along with the Avon River, which will be widened in stretches and developed into a riverside park, will serve to frame the new CBD, ensuring that all development is concentrated within a tight geographic area.

Building heights in the city will be kept at a maximum of 28 metres, although exceptions may be made in some areas around the planned convention centre to accommodate hotel developments.

The convention centre will occupy a prime site next to Victoria Square and will be big enough to allow the city to host three events simultaneously.  It will stretch the entire block between Gloucester and Armagh streets and incorporate two new hotels.

A Maori cultural centre will be built by Ngai Tahu in Victoria Square and will act as a welcoming point for visitors to the city.

The blueprint retains Cathedral Square as the civic heart of the city but its appearance will be changed, with more grassed areas and trees added.

A public library will be built on its edges and the road through the Square closed to through traffic.

The old brewery site in St Asaph St will have a state-of-the-art metro sports facility. It will include a competition-size swimming pool, leisure pools and eight indoor courts.

A replacement stadium for the earthquake-damaged AMI Stadium in Phillipstown will be built on the old Turners & Growers site, on the edge of the CBD's new eastern frame. It will be a covered stadium with natural turf and seating for 35,000 people.

A new music centre and auditoriums for the performing arts will ensure the city's cultural needs are catered for.

The City Mall will remain as the retail hub of the CBD, with buildings in this part of the city designed to incorporate shops on the ground floor and office space above.

The courts and Christchurch's emergency services will be grouped together in a new precinct between Lichfield, Tuam, Durham and Colombo streets. This campus-style precinct will be home to between 1300 and 1400 workers.

Other precincts bringing together businesses and services in the health and innovation industries are included in the blueprint.

A new bus exchange, in Lichfield St, will provide parking for 12 buses and will act as the hub for the city's public transport network.

In many parts of the new CBD, roads will be slowed or closed to through traffic, but there will be a new network of walkways and cycleways.

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To ensure the city has high aesthetic appeal, a new design panel made up of representatives from the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and Ngai Tahu will consider every building consent application.

An earthquake memorial will feature in new CBD but the location and design of it have still to be decided.

Some 840 properties within the existing CBD are potentially affected by the projects outlined in the blueprint.

Earthquake recovery minister Gerry Brownlee said the blueprint was the start of a hugely exciting future for "our city".

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker hailed the plan as bold and visionary.

''This is an exciting time for our city. We have a plan and a vision to make Christchurch strong, vibrant and liveable. The responsibility now rests with the designers, architects and property owners to embrace the challenge of creating a city that reflects the aspirations set out in the plan,'' Parker said.

- The Press

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