OUR CITY EMERGES

How do you measure the progress made in the past year of rebuilding and regenerating Christchurch?

Maybe by the numbers?

A whopping 29,000 plants and 600,000 pavers make up the City Promenade that now lines the Avon River. No less than 97,000 man-hours went into repairing, widening and reprioritising Manchester Street for buses. Around 15,000 cubic metres of concrete and 1450 tonnes of steel are taking shape as Te Pae, the city’s new convention centre.

Maybe another measure of progress is considering the spaces we can once again use?

In February the former site of the CTV building was reopened as a green space for peaceful reflection, as desired by the affected families.

Victoria Square emerged from a 13-month restoration in March and the determination to retain its iconic character has recently been recognised with a Civic Trust award. The Bowker Fountain is back to its fully illuminated former glory, the paths levelled and widened to make the area safer, more accessible and ready for the likes of Carols by Candlelight to return.

For Ōtākaro Limited it’s a body of work designed to bring people back into the city and with each month has come more reasons to do so.

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Three quarters of the South Frame Anchor Project between Tuam and St Asaph streets is now complete. This series of laneways with garden beds full of native plants also includes four new gathering spaces for public events, and in the case of Kahikatea Common, the central city’s first butterfly enclosure.

The butterflies aren’t the only oneswith a new home though. The first 20 of 900 planned homes in the One Central development along Manchester Street are now finished and for sale, complete with views over the new Rauora Park and Latimer Square. Construction of a further 152 homes is also underway.

One Central is already bookended by the winner of New Zealand’s favourite public spot in the 2018 Beautiful Awards, the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, and the area is set to get a further boost with restoration specialists Box 112 planning a redevelopment of the former Municipal Electricity Department building across the road.

Like Manchester Street, Ōtākaro also completed an upgrade of Durham Street this year. This CBD thoroughfare now incorporates not only eye-catching greenery but also rain gardens that help treat the water hitting the road before it flows into the Avon River. The adjoining shared path is also proving a hit not just with people walking and cycling but with Lime scooter riders as well.

No matter your mode of transport, a must-see destination in the city is the new EntX cinema complex, opposite the Bus Interchange. It’s literally a shining example of how Crown land is being divested by Ōtākaro in a way that not only makes commercial sense but also delivers a great facility for the people of Christchurch.

So, this summer grab a friend, some coffees and your yard stick and go measure the progress being made in the central city for yourself.

In DetailJoshua Brosnahan