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Victoria Square to reopen

Media Release – 15 November 2012

Victoria Square to reopen

The Christchurch CBD red zone will be reduced tomorrow to allow public access to Victoria Square for the first time since the February 2011 earthquake.

Changes to the red zone cordon by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) will enable pedestrians to walk to the revitalised public space between 7am and 9pm daily. No vehicle access will be allowed.

Two pedestrian pathways to the square will be made available - one via the Armagh Street bridge (east of the intersection with Durham Street), and the other via Kilmore Street, past the Town Hall. More accessways are likely to be opened up by the end of this month.

``I know this is a place people have been missing, and I hope they will take this opportunity to return with their families and friends and enjoy a picnic and a stroll on the grass,’’ says CERA chief executive Roger Sutton.

``We are constantly assessing the opportunities to reduce the cordon, but public safety is paramount. People can be confident when they visit Victoria Square that it is being safely managed. Fencing around the site will ensure work can continue without disruption in the red zone.’’

Christchurch City Council (CCC) staff and contractors have worked hard to restore the square after it was extensively damaged by the earthquakes.

``We recognise the importance of reopening areas like this where our community has a strong sense of identity and place,’’ said CCC general manager City Environment Group, Jane Parfitt.

``While returning to Victoria Square may be tempered by a sense of loss we can all take heart at the collective determination to reopen and revive the central city.” Work done on the square has been mostly on the eastern side. Pavers have been re-laid, asphalt patched and replaced, small retaining walls repaired, new turf laid and irrigation lines repaired and replaced.

Work has not taken place in the area surrounding the amphitheatre as decisions are still pending on the Town Hall and other projects.

As part of the Statues and Memorial project, assessment is continuing on the Cook and Queen Victoria statues and the Pou. The Floral Clock is also undergoing a programme of assessment.

The square is expected to be open from mid-morning tomorrow. The access hours of 7am to 9pm are expected to remain in place until February. The limited hours are in place for security reasons relating to the red zone.

Access may be affected at times next year by work carried out on the new Avon River Precinct.


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