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City Mall option unveiled

1 August 2006

Garden rooms; extending the tram route through the mall; introducing one-way traffic to the north end of High Street; retail management; activated corners; opening up smaller streets and alleyways; a movement corridor on west Cashel Street; and improved connections to lower High Street, the Square and the Avon River, are all part of the new plan for the City Mall.

The preferred option for the redevelopment of the City Mall were presented to the Christchurch City Council today.  “Central City Revitalisation is vital for Christchurch and this project is the flagship of this revitalisation”, said Mayor Garry Moore. “I am excited to see plans reach this stage and believe the proposal will go a long way to achieving our goals. The next stage is consultation, likely to run over September, this is the public’s chance to get involved.”

“With the aim of increasing long-term public and retail activity within the precinct, the proposal includes a plan to coordinate retailers on marketing, business hours, the mix of shops and improving security,” said David West, international retail consultant from Australia and part of the Isthmus team.

Garth Falconer of locally-based urban design company the Isthmus Group, carrying out the City Mall project for the Council, says the proposals are the best way to ensure the aspirations of as many different interest groups as possible are met.

“In looking at the City Mall we have taken into account many different factors, including access, parking, artworks, foot traffic, heritage issues, safety, sustainability, architecture and the connections this precinct has with the rest of the Central City.

“Most of the people we have consulted agree there is no single quick fix solution to the many linked issues facing the Central City and the City Mall. We need a multi-faceted approach with plenty of flexibility. The proposals aim to ensure the redeveloped City Mall will resume its place as one of the key hubs of Central City Christchurch and again become a great pubic space for all,” Mr Falconer said.

Project lead and Senior City Planner Maurice Roers said, “in our initial consultation, we’ve sought feedback from a wide range of stakeholders and the response has been clear:  this is a vital part of our City that we care passionately about.  Our challenge, and what we believe this plan accomplishes, is to develop a response that incorporates varying viewpoints while still achieving our desires and aspirations for this space.”

Garth Falconer added, “City Mall is one of Christchurch’s most important public spaces, but is suffering from low levels of activity, which limits its viability and attractiveness. The City Mall caters to a wide variety of different people and groups, including shoppers, inner city residents, students, retailers, workers, visitors and tourists. In redeveloping the City Mall, we have sought to meet the needs, motivations and wishes of as many of these people as we can to make sure the precinct is as active as possible day and night and therefore again becomes a great place for all.”

Formal public consultation on the proposals is likely to take place in September. This will include a number of public meetings and the use of retail premises in the City Mall for shoppers, city centre workers and others to study the proposals and provide feedback.  Based on the response from public consultation, detailed plans will be developed with construction expected to start in June 2007.

Click here for the plan and some artist impressions.

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