Update from Roger Sutton, Chief Executive: 16 April 2012

Posted 16 Apr 2012 by GovtCera Popular
Posted in CERA/Govt

Release Date: 16 April 2012

Mr Roger Sutton. At CERA we get asked a lot about what’s going on behind the CBD red zone cordon fence.

The CBD is a busy place and – despite all the work that has been completed – still very dangerous. CERA has the roles of working with all interested parties involved with the rebuild inside the CBD, and for managing access to the CBD in line with the relevant health and safety and other legislation.

The area is undergoing a remarkable amount of change. Despite all the work that has been done – and sometimes because of it – the dangers change frequently; not least because of on-going, but decreasing, seismic activity. Although 717 CBD buildings have been demolished, some buildings remain extremely hazardous.

This means CERA can’t just let people in to wander around and have a look independently. It is also why safety briefings, safety gear, awareness of safe routes and an escort by those knowledgeable about current risk areas are mandatory for those who have business in the CBD.

CERA is keen however to ensure that as often and safely as possible, Christchurch residents and others can see what is going on in this part of the city. This was the reason for last year’s CBD red zone bus visits, the Cathedral walkway along Colombo Street, and the reopening the Cathedral walkway earlier this year, prior to the demolition of the BNZ building on the corner of Hereford and Colombo Street getting under way.

Another example of this is that CERA recently released a tender document for commercial bus visits through the CBD (tenders closed Friday 13 April). CERA has been clear the tender will not be awarded on basis of price. Our main priority is to find a contractor who will operate a successful business, but one that will not interfere with the rebuild of the CBD – CERA’s main concern is ensuring the rebuild stays on track.

We have previously indicated that we anticipated reducing the CBD cordon to a bare minimum by this time. We have been steadily reducing the cordon and will continue to do so. However, some cordons remain necessary where buildings or infrastructure are still under repair or are being demolished.

CERA is in constant negotiation with building owners, business owners and those responsible for infrastructure about which cordons can be reduced or removed.

If all parties can agree the cordon can be reduced, then CERA will do so. But where there is disagreement, cordon reductions are more difficult. In some cases tenants want to get their businesses up and running but the building owner would prefer to have a cordon in place so they can fix other parts of the building without having to manage health and safety issues associated with the work being done in a public place.

A good example of how CERA is working in with businesses, with all parties agreeing, is the re-opening of Alice In Videoland on Tuam Street. While Alices is fully operational, the cafe being developed in the same building has remained inside the cordon, and will be for some months until ready to open. In the past few weeks, CERA has had at least six businesses approach it looking for a similar system. Staying inside the cordon works best for many people.

For more information including a video inside the cordon see: http://cera.govt.nz/cbd-red-zone/public-visits and http://cera.govt.nz/cbd-red-zone-access-programme

For latest cordon map see: http://cera.govt.nz/cbd-red-zone/red-zone-cordon-map

Roger Sutton
Chief Executive
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority

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