Thanks are due to the public - From your mayor
One of the most exciting things to me about putting together the final key phase of this very public, and passionate, project has been to see and hear the energy and ideas that have come from the public.
Some of the ideas are superb and a significant number of them have been taken up and woven into the plans for the fifth and final stage of the Square re-development.
Once the doors were opened for the public to have its say, in a way that guaranteed the opinions would be heard, the volume and quality of the public response has been amazing.
The whole process has turned into a great example of how we need to be prepared to break down the traditional gulf between the public and the Council if we want to get the best results.
While it is fashionable to be cynical about politics the reality is that local-body democracy is becoming much more of an active two-way street than it used to be in the past.
Itís an incredibly important development because when the public take part in public projects with the intensity and generosity that has marked the development of the last leg of the Square, we get a result that everyone can feel a sense of ownership in.
Thanks to the combination of public support and finding people with the skills to translate the ideas into action we are going to end up with a very prominent public space that once again is a people place.
This was perhaps the most direct message the public has been giving me during my weekly stint of sitting in the Square listening to residents.
Over and over again I heard the message that most of all people wanted Cathedral Square to become an area where they felt people came first.
Importantly, thanks to the public contribution, and the work of the team putting together the final plan, I think we are also going to end up with a Square that reflects the fact it is the hub of Christchurch and Canterbury. Thatís why there will be a lot more greenery and water to be seen in the finished version of the Square.
There are still some finishing touches to be worked out but now we have a firm vision of where we are heading and why.
One of the most difficult aspects of local government is the art of anticipating, hearing and responding correctly to what the public wants. Itís an ability that for any armchair critic looks as though it should be easy but in reality is anything but simple.
It gets a lot easier when the public takes up the invitation to take part as enthusiastically as they have with Cathedral Square.
Once again, thanks for your participation, energy and for what amounts to a massive show of how passionately Christchurch cares for its city centre.