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Christchurch the engine room of NZ as rebuild steps up

Christchurch the engine room of NZ as rebuild steps up, UC lecturer says

February 22, 2013

An increasingly vibrant Christchurch has become the engine room of New Zealand as the recovery and rebuild steps up, University of Canterbury (UC) natural hazards expert Dr Tom Wilson said today

``We are in a situation now of a lot more certainty. We have not had a damaging earthquake for 14 months. We have not had to revert back to response mode for a long time and there’s a feeling of pioneering about Christchurch. There is a positive feeling in the mood and atmosphere as we begin to be a large driver of the economy.

``As things have settled, we have had much more certainty for the recovery cycle to manifest. We have had more key decisions about the CBD moving forward. Building in resilience to our plans has been the key.

``From a geo-tech land use and planning perspective we now know in the suburbs what areas we are re-inhabiting and what areas will be retired. This is so important to everyone. This is the first big year of the rebuild after mostly nothing but demolition for the last two years so we have a great forward - looking perspective.’’

Dr Wilson said from a scientific perspective there was a huge amount of learning from the earthquakes, what happened and how it affected people. Christchurch is a laboratory of learning as Christchurch recovers.

There was substantial interest worldwide in not only how Christchurch recovered but also lessons to be learned and passed on to other cities.

``At UC we are providing research for many places overseas especially California and Japan. I know UC researchers Associate Professor John Vargo and Dr Erica Seville have put out a study report on Sydney’s water and how they could cope in a major event.

``It’s a fantastic time to look at the lessons of Christchurch. Wellington earthquake planners are looking very closely at Christchurch, to use lessons to increase Wellington's performance.

``I think there is an increasing focus and awareness of the consequences, rather than just when a Wellington earthquake might occur and how big it might be.

``For Christchurch there is a growing optimism, as certainty is returning and progress is more and more evident,’’ Dr Wilson said.


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