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Christchurch City Council Media Release 13 September 1999

Casino Extension Approved

A second City Council committee has given the thumbs up to the Christchurch Casino erecting an extension over Peterborough Street.

The extension would house a restaurant and a function centre and be joined to a three-storey car parking building.

Entry to the casino would still be by the front door on Victoria Street and not be from the car park.

The Strategy and Resources Committee was told today that the new facilities would create 30 new full-time jobs initially and 50 later. In addition there would be employment for construction workers.

The matter has still to go to the full council. The Environmental Committee approved the building but last week the City Services Committee opposed it.

The Mayor, Garry Moore, said that a few weeks ago an international expert related ways to revive the city centre. "This might mean we will need to rewrite the city plan, but we must embrace new ways to revive the city," Mr Moore said.

The casino could build a nasty box on its car-parking site but instead had designed a building with innovation, he said.

Architect Barry Dacombe of Warren and Mahoney produced a modified plan in response to the City Services Committee suggestion that a building of less bulk be produced.

Several Councillors welcomed this while the Council’s senior urban planner, Janet Reeves, suggested the function centre might be incorporated in the car park building.

The Casino’s manager, Arthur Pitcher, said the "function areas were struggling for space at present" and it also had a problem with parking. The over-the-road building would allow the Casino to present cabaret shows and be able to mount other functions, such as those to raise money for charity.

Cr Alister James said to approve the extension would run counter to council’s draft policy on over-buildings and if approved would set a precedent. He was supported by Cr Denis O’Rourke who said the design was visually awful and as dull as any other tunnel. It would have serious effects on the streetscape, he said.

"There is clear commercial benefit for the casino here and nothing for residents," Cr O’Rourke.

Cr Carole Anderton was critical of knockers who attacked "anything that is an innovative idea."

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