New Brighton rebirth lies in recreational dollar

MIKE YARDLEY
Last updated 05:00 09/12/2012
brighton
PLAN: An artist's impression of the New Brighton rebuild plan.

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No matter where you live in Christchurch, every proud resident yearns for New Brighton's second coming.

Aside from the pier, the library, Peter Donnelly's sand art wizardry and the underrated New Brighton Art Gallery - the mall is a bombsite to rival Benghazi.

The novelty of the Saturday shopping monopoly is long gone, but our dewy-eyed sentiments for New Brighton linger, although anyone who thinks beachside appointment shopping will be part of his or her future needs a cold drink.

The city council's draft master plan for New Brighton has wisely proposed consolidating the retail footprint, turning much of it over for residential living.

Much of the master plan is pretty utilitarian, with little fizz factor. However, developing an entertainment hub on Marine Parade is a promising step in the right direction. A renewed Brighton should target the recreational dollar - not the retail dollar.

Community board members David East and Tim Sintes deserve high praise for advocating transforming the supermarket site into a new aquatic facility, complete with a wave pool and hydroslides.

I'd love to see salt-water hot pools as part of the mix. And how about an indoor amusement arcade, in deference to the cheesy seaside treats of its British namesake? If a new aquarium is going to grace the city, wouldn't it be nice to construct it at the seaside - not Cathedral Square?

Landmarks

The Anglican and Catholic dioceses have been charting two very different trajectories for the future of their cathedrals.

The most likely outcome for the Catholic Basilica is that it is retained as a ruin. The management team is proposing saving, bracing and preserving the north and west walls as a permanent memorial, crowned with the dome repaired and returned to its lofty heights.

This is a stirring proposal, which could eclipse Macau's Ruins of St Paul's, in the eyes of tourists.

As to Christ Church Cathedral, so deeply embedded in the world's eyes as our city letterhead, it's been 10 months since the Church Property Trust rushed into deconstruction mode and severed public opinion.

This week we learn that the trust will reconsider all options again. I hope a compromise emerges next year, where maximum retention gets the green light. I hope this is incorporated into the cathedral's new west wall, facing out onto the Square.

Saying sorry

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My most searing post-quake recollection is seeing a silt-cloaked patrol car with the words "I love the police" etched into the dust.

Our first responders continue to ride high in the public admiration stakes and rightfully so.

But not even our emergency heroes are beyond reproach.

This week's profoundly sincere apology from the Fire Service's operations director, Paul McGill, vindicates the tireless search for answers and understanding from Alec Cvetanov.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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