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Gardening to prevent red zone 'jungle'

Published: 6:40AM Thursday June 02, 2011 Source: ONE News

Christchurch's deputy major has defended gardening operations within the red zone saying that they don't want a "jungle" to develop.

Concerns were raised after City Care workers in vests and hard-hats were seen tending to a small plot of land on the corner of High and Tuam streets, an area which remains off limits to business owners.

Deputy mayor Ngaire Button told TV ONE's Close Up that the gardening is part of a wider maintenance programme.

 "The red zone won't always be cordoned off, one day the cordon will come down and we don't want to have a jungle."

However while the gardening is apparently being done in anticipation of the cordon being lifted Button said she had no idea when that might be.

Public Relations consultant David Lynch, who is acting for a number of Red Zone business owners, says the area where the garden is being tended is unlikely to be opened to the public for at least a year and business owners are becoming more frustrated at the lack of access.

Button said that she understood that gardening appeared trivial; but that it was important for the council to "maintain our investment in the CBD".

The deputy major denied that gardening in the red zone sent the wrong message to frustrated business owners who were still unable to access their properties.

Button said that the gardeners were not subject to the same safety concerns because they were not going inside buildings.

She was adamant that the gardening would continue in spite of public perception.

"We're maintaining the public space."

Red Zone cordon reducing

Meanwhile, the cordon in the Red Zone will be reduced again on Friday.

The reduction, to come into effect from 5pm, will allow the public to access a "cluster of businesses", the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) said.

One-way access will be allowed south down Colombo Street to Kilmore Street, and turning right into one-way access running west along Kilmore Street to Victoria Street.

Cera said the area was able to be opened up as demolitions have been undertaken on Colombo Street.

A small "triangular section" will also open in the south-east of the Red Zone.

There will be one way access west along Tuam Street (access from Madras), and then a left turn into High Street will allow one-way access connecting to St Asaph Street.

To view the cordon map click here .

Rebuild meeting

Inner city Christchurch residents had an opportunity to share their ideas at a meeting on Thursday night.

Hosted by National MP Nicky Wagner the event was to address how to rebuild their neighbourhoods.