It was 2½ years ago that the last great earthquake struck Christchurch. Many lives were lost and much of the Central Business District (CBD) was destroyed. Soon thereafter, red-zoned properties were closed off to the public in the CBD and elsewhere. Even if government aid was forthcoming and the Christchurch City Council charged with rebuilding damaged buildings, roads and utility pipelines, it was to be expected that recovery would be slow. To this day, empty lots cleared of damaged buildings still stand, chain link fences surround sections of the CBD and streets blocked off to traffic. Iconic Christchurch Cathedral, a shell of its former self still standing, may eventually have to be torn down.
Still, some new buildings have replaced older, damaged ones. There is building activity everywhere it seems, a prosperous time for workers in the construction trades who will see employment for years to come. For a more thorough and thoughtful treatment of Christchurch’s post-quake recovery, I highly recommend Leeann Apps’ blog.
I took a little time to wander through the CBD yesterday and recorded in images what I saw. I also revisited Project Re:Start’s Cashel mall, as good an example of revitalization as anything in the city. Though the residents of Christchurch and surrounding areas suffered great losses, it’s heartening to see their spirit and optimism overcome adversity.