Christchurch bus interchange opens

1430718037742Christchurch City opened its new Bus Interchange Monday 25th at 8am. The old bus exchange was severely damage during the earthquake of 2011

University students, school pupils and tradesmen were among the dozens of people catching a bus for the first time at Christchurch’s new bus interchange.

A technical glitch delayed its official opening, but buses started running out of the new $53 million facility this week.

The Lichfield St facility was set to open last week but a software issue meant authorities doubted its reliability.

The interchange will be the first Government-led rebuild anchor projegct to be completed when the second stage, which includes retail areas, a covered bike-lock area and access to the remainder of the bus bays, is finished in about two and a half months.

bus-interchange-ground-floor-planTradesmen worked on completion of the second stage area on the Tuam St side as Cantabrians hopped on and off buses to mark the opening of the first stage of the project. Half of the 16 bus bays are now in use.

Christchurch resident Natasha Hawkins was catching the 28 line to Lyttelton.

She said the facility was “nice and flash”.

University of Canterbury student Claudia Dowling was waiting for the 18 line to university.

She would be using the interchange every week day, and said it would make a big difference to be able to wait inside.

“It’s so cold outside in the morning.”

Canterbury earthquake recovery minister Gerry Brownlee said the facility’s opening was “a great moment for Christchurch” and reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to the rebuild.

“The Interchange is stylish and user-friendly, with airport-style passenger lounges that will ensure people can wait for their buses in comfort and protected from the elements. It has also been designed with a real emphasis on safety and sustainability.”

“Having an attractive facility like this is crucial if we want to attract more people to public transport.”

“The Bus Interchange is something the people of Christchurch can use every day and experience how far we have come.”

The opening of the bus interchange meant inner city bus routes would change.  Buses were now designated to use Manchester St with routes changing across the central city.

While all CBD bus routes were affected, those with the biggest changes were the Blue Line, the 17, 28 and 29. Customers using these routes were advised to check route maps.

Environment Canterbury chief executive Bill Bayfield said at the opening it was fantastic to see people enjoying the facility.

“It’s freezing cold outside and now we’re standing in a warm area.

“Our customers have been amazing over the past three years, using the temporary central station and just getting on with it.”

Christchurch Transport Operation Centre spokeswoman Tresca Forester urged drivers in the area to be wary of increased foot traffic on Lichfield and Colombo streets.

Source:

  • Stacy Squires
  • The Press

Wall of remembrance for Christchurch

getimage (3)A 150-metre-long marble wall etched with victims’ names is the centerpiece of the official Christchurch earthquake memorial.

But the tribute will not be ready for the fifth anniversary of the quake in February 2016 as initially planned.

Slovenian architect Grega Vezjak’s memorial design – The Memorial Wall – was picked from six shortlisted entries.

It will include a marble wall on the Oxford Tce side of the Avon River, near the Durham St intersection, with a row of trees and a riverside promenade. Cherry trees to honour the Japanese victims were initially suggested but no decision on the species has been made.

A bridge at the end of the promenade will cross to the north bank of the river where a smaller space will provide a contemplative place for families who lost loved ones in the quakes.

The memorial was initially due to be ready by February 2016. It is now scheduled to be finished in 2017 although the contemplative space will be finished by the earlier date.

It will be built using up to $10 million from the Government and $1m from the mayoral relief fund.

Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) memorial development director Rob Kerr said the winning design was the most complex to build, hence the delay.

‘‘Doing it too quickly means that we lose the value of the [grieving] process.’’

Vezjak said it was ‘‘a great responsibility and honour’’ to design the memorial.

‘‘When I started the competition, I didn’t really know about Christchurch except what was in the news. I did a lot of research at home.

Source:

  • Cecile Meier
  • The Press

Anchor projects cause anxiety!

1431085048320Canterbury sports enthusiasts and businesses are “hugely disappointed” and frustrated two of Christchurch’s major anchor projects will be delayed.

The Government on Friday said completion of the metro sports facility would be delayed to early 2020 and the convention centre to late 2018.

Concern is also growing for Cathedral Square’s renovation with ASB Bank pulling out of plans for a new regional headquarters there.

Indoor sports players, swimmers and other athletes have all been waiting keenly for the metro sports facility to open but will now have to wait three more years.

The centre was initially supposed to be finished by March 2017.

Mainland Netball chief executive Bridget Hearn said the news was “hugely disappointing” for indoor sport in Canterbury.

Five years was an “incredibly long wait” and lack of indoor space in the city was problematic.

“I know we have to be patient, and we are very excited about the metro sports facility, but we have had to turn away junior teams for lack of space.”

Rugby had transitional facilities, she said, but indoor and womens sports had been left in the lurch.

Canterbury Sport chief executive Julyan Falloon said there was “real frustration” at the delay.

Aquatic and indoor sports had been “hugely compromised” since the earthquakes, he said, and organisations would find it hard to plan ahead for infrastructure across the city.

School Sport Canterbury regional sports director Bill Grogan said the delay meant students would miss out on tournament opportunities.

“Canterbury students have to keep travelling for national tournaments as we can’t host any at the moment.”

The tourism and business community was also counting on an opening date for the convention centre in late 2017.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said progress on the centre was “disappointingly slow” and caused uncertainty among business owners and investors.

“People need to plan ahead. We keep getting these delays and this causes uncertainty about when it will actually happen.”

Christchurch and Canterbury Convention Centre Bureau (CCCCB) manager Caroline Blanchfield said the delay was “disappointing” but she hoped the centre would be open in time for a large health conference booked in November 2018.

The Asia-Oceania Conference of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine would bring 800 delegates and an estimated $2.1 million to the city.

She said a “back-up plan” was in place in case the centre was not finished in time.

With the convention centre delays, the halving of the size of the performing arts precinct, and no sign of an answer on the future of Christ Church Cathedral, fears were rising that Cathedral Square was becoming toxic for development.

ASB bank announced in December 2013 it would be the anchor tenant for a four-storey office block to be developed at 9 Cathedral Square, on the site of the previous ANZ building.

However, ASB spokesman Christian May said the bank broke off negotiations with Central City Estates, the family investor group that owns the site, in December 2014.

May said ASB was now talking to developers of other “high profile CBD sites” and still expected to reopen somewhere by late 2016.

Ernest Duval, of the City Owners Rebuild Entity (Core), was unsure who would be booking conventions while the square’s future remained so uncertain.

“The pressing issue is to break the impasse on the cathedral and address some of these buildings like [the half-demolished BNZ House], [and] try and move things forward, because we’re missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of development,” he said.

Christchurch Central Development Unit director Baden Ewart said the Crown’s commitment to the vision of the blueprint had not changed.

Time frames had been reviewed and the public would be updated on them “as often as we can”.

Source:

  • The Press

Christchurch from the air

1430422109708Aerial footage of Christchurch’s central city has been turned into an interactive panorama of the post-earthquake recovery.

Helicam Pro manager Jared Waddams captured the view of Christchurch’s rebuilding CBD in early April and spent three weeks “stitching” the images together to create a website “like a high-definition Google Earth”.

Helicam Pro manager Jared Waddams says drone technology is the way of the future.

Waddams believed drones would eventually become part of everyday life and he completed the Airscapes project to show people what could be done with the technology now.

He received permission to close the airways above central Christchurch for about 15 minutes and take his drone 300 metres above the ground. The normal height allowance for a drone user was only 120m, he said.

The Airscapes website, which went live on Thursday, gives a 360 degree panorama of the Christchurch CBD.

The view is a combination of 37 high resolution images which were taken from a single point.

“You can spend  time just touring the whole city; it’s quite enchanting actually, quite mesmerising,” Waddams said.

He planned to update the images as the city’s post-earthquake rebuild continued.

“We’ve just got such a unique city scape at the moment.”

Go here to view, http://www.airscapes.co.nz/christchurch/

Source:

  • The Press
  • Photo: Andy Currie

Five-storey block for health precinct

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The building will have up to five storeys in a campus environment.

Countrywide, headed by Richard Diver, is already revamping the old Deloitte House next door for the Canterbury District Health Board and has added 10 new office buildings to Victoria St.

Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) acting director Don Miskell said the latest health precinct deal showed investor confidence remained strong in the city.

‘‘Our aim is to establish a firstclass precinct that brings together health-related activity, including education.’’

The precinct will span four blocks between St Asaph and Montreal streets, Hagley Ave and Oxford Tce and Montreal St.

Diver said the building would have health-related tenants on its four office floors, with shops and hospitality outlets at ground level.

‘‘It will be a beautiful building, it will look spectacular. We are talking to tenants now, from both the public and private sectors.’’

The company was doing design work now and hoped to start building later this year, Diver said. The building’s exact size depends on how any tenants are signed.

Source:

  • Liz McDonald
  • The Press

New central library unveiled

getimageChristchurch’s new central library will be a beacon that draws people into Cathedral Square and will light up at night like a lantern, one of its designers says…

For more follow the link below;

http://www.christchurchrebuild.co.nz/?p=1903

$140 million precinct for Christchurch

getimage (5)Plans for a glossy $140 million development in the City Mall have been unveiled.

The precinct will include shops, offices, cafes, bars and car parking around a network of laneways and air bridges.

Christchurch’s wealthiest man, central city landlord Philip Carter, is behind the plan. Construction starts soon and the precinct will occupy new and heritage buildings on over a hectare of land between Cashel, Colombo, Lichfield and High streets. It is due to open in October next year.

Carter promised the development would be ‘‘the cornerstone of a vibrant and world-class retail precinct that will be a drawcard for locals and visitors alike’’.

The hospitality area would be open from daytime to evenings and feature a distinctive glass bubble facade.

‘‘It will give the central city a new heart and pump life back into the retail precinct as a whole,’’ he said.

Tenants have not yet been announced but are likely to include fashion and food and beverage outlets.

Carter said tenant interest had been ‘‘very strong’’.

A leading possibility is British global fashion retailer Topshop, as Carter has taken a shareholding in the company’s New Zealand arm.

Office floors will be at either end of the precinct, with hospitality in the middle.

An existing air bridge will link it to Ballantynes to the west and it will also link to The Crossing car park, which Carter has bought from the Christchurch City Council.

Carter has bought 80 per cent of the site since the earthquakes, expanding his smaller holding that was on the Cashel-Colombo corner under the original Crossing name.

He joins other landlords including Tim Glasson, Nick Hunt and Antony Gough in launching his development under special Christchurch Central Development Unit rules for the city’s retail core. Owners must put together masterplanned developments with pedestrian links.

Carter said this requirement had made planning harder but he was very pleased with the result.

‘‘We’ve spent a lot of time making sure there was plenty of sun and light and shelter. Getting the car parking was key to making it work,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s all going to start happening around here now – this area is really changing quickly.’’

Source:

  • Liz McDonald
  • The Press
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