Bob Jones: Turn Chch CBD into a lake
Outspoken property investor Sir Bob Jones says Christchurch should replace its former central business district with "a massive lake".
Writing in this week's The Listener, Jones urges the city to build on its "garden city" reputation and abandon thoughts of resurrecting a high-rise CBD.
Under its central-city proposal, Christchurch would replace its destroyed building stock - described by Gerry Brownlee as "old dungers" - with "new dungers".
"Here's the answer," writes Jones.
The Government should use its powers to seize all the central-city sites and "create a massive irregular-shaped lake" on the destroyed CBD land.
He suggested each former CBD site owner be allocated a lakeside site, its size reflecting the former rating value.
"Along the lake edge could be sandy beaches, with rafts anchored offshore to swim to,'' he says.
"Elsewhere, perhaps, could be deeper coves with fixed diving boards and waterslides."
Jones also suggested introducing trout and white swans to the lake, with a rebuilt modern cathedral as its centrepiece.
He said the world's best cities, such as Vancouver, Sydney and Hong Kong, were all sited around lakes or harbours and it was not unheard of to create one retrospectively.
Canberra, which had a population identical to Christchurch's, built its lake 40 years after the city was built, said Jones.
Under this plan Christchurch would need "an army of gardeners, not builders" to transform it into an "admired and desirable garden city".