4 Feb 2015

Victoria Square revamp delayed

3:13 pm on 4 February 2015

Plans for a revamp of Christchurch's Victoria Square have been delayed after a public backlash questioned why it was needed.

An aerial view of Christchurch shows post-earthquake demolition in progress (November 2012).

An aerial view of Christchurch shows post-earthquake demolition in progress (November 2012). Photo: PHOTO NZ

Work on the square was set to begin about now as part of the Avon River Precinct upgrade, which would provide better access to the river and more space for markets.

The square escaped the earthquakes largely untouched.

Opposition to the $7 million project came from some city councillors and a Facebook page called Hands off Victoria Square, which got more than 1,500 likes.

Christchurch Civil Trust chairman Neil Roberts was worried the city would lose its identity if plans to revamp Victoria Square went ahead.

Mr Roberts said the project was unneccessary.

"I don't believe we should be totally changing everything just for the sake of changing it. It's just not necessary. We can spend the money elsewhere," he said.

Christchurch Central Development Unit director Warwick Isaacs said it had become clear the people of Christchurch wanted a say on what happened to the square.

The public would be able to provide feedback and suggestions on the proposed design from next month.

Marathon to return to city

Meanwhile, four years after the Christchurch earthquakes, the route of its annual marathon is set to return to within the four avenues of the central city this year.

Race director Chris Cox said the time had come for the marathon to return to the city centre.

For the first time ever, the event would be based in Cathedral Square, with the event village, start and finish line all based in the central city hub.

Mr Cox said it would be safe, scenic, flat and fast but, most importantly, it was iconically Christchurch and showcased the city's landmarks.

Organisers have knocked on the door of every business and resident on the course, as well as sending them information documenting how the event might affect them.

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