14 Jun 2018

Chch pavilion proposal detracts from cathedral - Civic Trust

11:49 am on 14 June 2018

The head of the Christchurch Civic Trust says he's alarmed at a proposal to build a large pavilion across Cathedral Square.

Plans for Cathedral Square

Plans for Cathedral Square Photo: Regenerate Christchurch

Trust acting chair Ross Gray said the latest plan was an improvement on earlier versions, but he was alarmed at the inclusion of a pavilion structure taking up much of the open space.

The plan for the square was released yesterday, and proposes creating distinct areas within the square with some intended for open-air events and other areas becoming family friendly landscaped gardens.

The design includes an option for three interconnected lattice-style pavilions, which resemble upturned baskets.

Mr Gray said the plan showed that from the street view the structure was large and imposing, and would distract and detract from the view of the Anglican Cathedral.

Christchurch Heritage Trust chair Anna Crighton said the pavilion was fanciful and questioned how it would be paid for.

At the moment the council and the government have a cost-sharing agreement for up to $9 million.

Regenerate Christchurch said the full plan at the moment would cost $60m to $80m, and how that would be funded was yet to be determined.

Ms Crighton said her biggest concerns was the portioning off of the area into different spaces which she said took away from Cathedral Square's role as a civic space.

"It's the only civic square we've got, and they have cluttered it up, and to me they have turned it into Victoria Square mark two."

No caption.

Photo: Regenerate Christchurch

After the earthquakes Cathedral Square went from a busy area surrounded by shops, bars, and offices to an area surrounded by derelict buildings and empty lots.

That is starting to change with a handful of bars and hotels opening, along with the new central library about to open in the next six months.

Central City Business Association chair and leasing agent Brendan Chase said it was critical that the project was carefully staged and timed to ensure that they did not have areas cordoned off and diggers moving in just as the businesses start to open their doors.

The OGB bar was the first to return to the square post earthquake, and owner Nick Inkster said he always knew they would have to deal with disruptions at some stage in the future when the Anglican Cathedral was finally dealt with.

He said he was relieved the early suggestion to close off traffic completely around the square has been dropped.

"Banning traffic wasn't going to be the idea.

"Because at night it gets quite dark and the headlights on cars adds activity. I'm pleased they've kept that shared use, because if they'd just blocked it off to traffic it would have been a disaster."

Regenerate Christchurch chief executive Ivan Iafeta said his organisation has presented a vision for the regeneration of Cathedral Square, but now it will work with the Christchurch City Council on a plan to determine what bits will go ahead, and how it will be funded.

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