New plan unveiled for huge central Christchurch regeneration project

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NZN

Strolling through luscious gardens, having a glass of wine, heading to a convention or dancing at a concert could soon all take place right in the heart of Christchurch.

The ideas aims to breathe new life to an area which has spent six years in limbo.
Source: 1 NEWS

The joint city council and Crown rebuild authority Regenerate Christchurch released a draft concept on Monday of their vision for Cathedral Square.

There's high hopes the designs will get residents excited again about life in the city heart, six years after the earthquakes.

The concept, which is open to the public for consultation, focuses on five key moves to bring life back into the central hub of Christchurch, and to stimulate investment and showcase the best of the city.

This includes re-shaping the square to create three interconnected areas, including the new library plaza which can host gatherings of up to 5000 people, the Cathedral gardens which will be a green refuge in the city centre and the post office square which will host everything from festivals to exhibitions with a capacity of 10,000 people.

The concept will also be able to adapt when a decision is made on the future of the Christchurch Cathedral in October.

Regenerate Christchurch CEO Ivan Iafeta says that people identify the cathedral as an important part of Christchurch, and they've reflected that in the draft, allowing the plans to be adaptable.

The concept also discusses re-framing the square with structures to stimulate the arts, with the Performing Arts Precinct, Town Hall, the Convention Centre and the new central library all within the focus area.

Regenerate Christchurch General Manager of Strategy and Regeneration Planning Jim Lunday says connectivity of the city heart will be improved with the option of public transport brought back in, such as trams, light rail and even aerial gondolas.

Meanwhile streets and lanes will be upgraded to link hubs such as Cashel Mall, Victoria Street and High and New Regent Streets.

"The ecosystem is also important to be incorporated and water and native plants will be integrated with the area's streets and spaces, telling the story of the cultural heritage of the area," Mr Lunday said.

"When you go in here you won't be in Chicago, Paris or Auckland... the landscape will tell you that you're in Canterbury, in Christchurch."

Residents have three weeks to give their feedback, as Regenerate Christchurch will be looking to move forward with a plan by October.

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