We’ve just returned from a trip south, spending a night in Christchurch on the way home. The city was so different from my last visit, a couple of weeks before the February earthquake. We left the car close to the apartment we lived in, in Park Terrace. That building seem to have survived quite well and was inhabited.
Latest news: my friend Terry has just sent me a link to a video taken along the route of the bus tours, with a very good commentary by Warwick Isaacs, Demolition MAnager for CERA (Chch Earthquake Recovery Authority). Long, but well worth watching.
A closer look showed that the front steps and walls had dropped a bit.
The building next door, DorsetTowers, had not done so well. It was empty, on a slight lean and had been “red-stickered” so I guess it will be demolished.
Round the corner, Victoria Street had some very sad sights. Beautiful Knox Church, with a congregation still showing plenty of spirit.
The Victoria Street clock survived amazingly well, with the clock face still showing the time of the earthquake and its top piece at a jaunty angle:
A little further down Victoria Street opposite the casino was Ace Wasabi, our favourite Japanese restaurant. Alas, no more.
The Canterbury Provincial Chambers is being taken down with great care, block by block. It is to be rebuilt.
Across the street is a row of much more modern buildings which apparently are all scheduled for demolition. There are so many empty sections around the city centre right now, it’s hard to believe that another 700 buildings are still to come down.
We drove round to Madras Street, where we could get reasonably close to the site of the former CTV building. My wife worked in the top floor of this building during the four years we spent in Christchurch. There’s just bare land now, but the flowers, notes and other mementos speak of the love and grief for the many who were killed here.
There was a brighter side to the day, however . A few days earlier the new Cashel Mall had been opened, made from shipping containers. It was bright and cheerful.
I managed to catch a typical Christchurch scene: a Christ’s College boy who’d found something nice to look at.