26 May 2017

Is this the year for Cathedral Square?

From Christchurch Dilemmas, 4:48 pm on 26 May 2017

Is James Lunday, a self-described poacher turned gamekeeper, the man to deliver Christchurch's dreams for this much-loved public space?

Lunday has a 20-year connection with the Square, having lived and worked in the Regent Theatre’s dome which collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake.

Now, as general manager of regeneration planning for Regenerate Christchurch, Lunday has been tasked with “enlivening” Cathedral Square, “getting it back to better than it was before”.

Younger generations will be surprised to see archive footage of the Square as a busy, transport hub, surrounded by cinemas, theatres, cafes and bars.

With a nod to its historical roots, Lunday wants to attract inner-city dwellers, and develop the Square into a bustling, vibrant, public space for the late 21st and 22nd century. There’s talk of gondolas as public transport, opening up the streams under the Square, and creating a bigger and better Chancery Lane.

Christchurch Dilemmas asks what can we learn from the mistakes of the past? Can anything be done while the Square’s iconic centrepiece, Christchurch’s Anglican Cathedral, remains in ruins? And did you know the statue of John Robert Godley now has a flat-top head?

Can we fix the square?