On 22 February 2011 a large earthquake and aftershocks caused significant damage in Christchurch and tragically took the lives of 185 people and left thousands injured. The city centre and eastern suburbs of Christchurch sustained the most damage, and five years on the city is still rebuilding.
In November 2014 I took photos over Cathedral Square from our room on the 11th floor of the Novotel Hotel. Two years on, I took photos of the same areas to show how the rebuild is progressing.
The Camelot Hotel (above) was demolished in June 2015, ground work has started on the new Christchurch central library (below) which will take its place. The library is expected to open early 2018.
The yellow crane in the background of the Camelot Hotel in 2014 was working on the site of what are now new office buildings on Cambridge Terrace, including the seven storey building housing Deloitte at number 151 (opened April 2015).
November 2014 – ChristChurch Cathedral on Cathedral Square ….
In November 2016 the damaged Anglican ChristChurch Cathedral looks the same as it did two years ago, it’s still only pigeons who have access. The old Christchurch Post Office turned i-SITE is still boarded up and closed. On 28 November the i-SITE opened in the Arts Centre on Worcester Boulevard, after operating for a few years in the Botanic Gardens.
The building in progress in the 2014 photo is the BNZ Centre at 120 Hereford Street, opposite ibis hotel. Businesses operating from the ground floor on the Hereford Street side include Scorpio Books, Robert Harris Cafe, Wendys, Burger Fuel and Eleven Mart. The building also opens onto Cashel Street, shops on that side were set to open this month.
2014 – Car parks and street art ….
There are still plenty of car parks and street art two years on, but the white building with the crown like top has gone and a new building is on its way up.
The day we left Christchurch the headline on the front page of The Press was ‘Wasteland sites are ‘dragging down’ city’. Walking around the city centre it was a shame to still see new developments bordered by derelict buildings, and it’s hard not to wonder why, and ask ‘what’s taking so long?’ However there may be insurance disputes, absentee owners, and those dealing with losses more important than buildings.
An example of the new and the derelict – Vespa Bar opened on High Street in November 2013, in August 2014 it was joined by the Stranges Lane development. There is a boarded up and tagged Work & Income office next door to Vespa Bar, and a brick building that’s lost a wall. It will be interesting to see how many years it will be before something is done with those two buildings.
Entry to Stranges Lane and Vespa Bar …….
Still, new buildings are going up and some manage to combine the old and the new, the rebuild continues.