4 Jun 2015

'No' to revamp of Christchurch's Victoria Square

7:53 pm on 4 June 2015

Christchurch residents have delivered a strong message to the city's earthquake recovery authority - they don't want a $7 million revamp of the historical Victoria Square.

Victoria Square in 2009 (file photo).

Victoria Square in 2009 (file photo). Photo: Wikicommons

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) announced it would carry out public engagement after its plans to redesign the square sparked a backlash from residents, heritage advocates and city councillors.

The plan included moving historical statues, removing trees and altering the layout of the central city landmark.

The Associate Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister, Nicky Wagner, said the public feedback showed that people wanted the square's green space, curved paths and historical elements preserved.

She said some people wanted more recognition of Maori culture and improved amenities but said the overall message was clear.

"I'm delighted at how many people took the time to have their say on this important civic asset," she said.

A second round of public comment will soon start, with the final design expected to be released in September.

In April, hundreds of residents attended a public meeting to raise their concerns about CERA's plan.

At the time, CERA development director of anchor projects Rob Kerr said the plan had clearly aroused strong feelings.

The public engagement would help narrow down what change, if any, people wanted, he said.

Former deputy mayor of Christchurch Carole Evans was sceptical about how genuine the engagement would be, but hoped that if enough people spoke their mind, the Government would listen.

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