A lake for Christchurch?

May 9th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Outspoken property investor Sir says should replace its former central business district with “a massive lake”.

Writing in this week’s The Listener, Jones urges the city to build on its “garden city” reputation and abandon thoughts of resurrecting a high-rise CBD.

Under its central-city proposal, Christchurch would replace its destroyed building stock – described by Gerry Brownlee as “old dungers” – with “new dungers”.

“Here’s the answer,” writes Jones.

The Government should use its powers to seize all the central-city sites and “create a massive irregular-shaped lake” on the destroyed CBD land.

He suggested each former CBD site owner be allocated a lakeside site, its size reflecting the former rating value.

“Along the lake edge could be sandy beaches, with rafts anchored offshore to swim to,” he says.

“Elsewhere, perhaps, could be deeper coves with fixed diving boards and waterslides.”

Jones also suggested introducing trout and white swans to the lake, with a rebuilt modern cathedral as its centrepiece.

He said the world’s best cities, such as Vancouver, Sydney and Hong Kong, were all sited around lakes or harbours and it was not unheard of to create one retrospectively.

You know, that’s possibly the best idea I’ve heard for the Christchurch CBD. It may not be practical but it is visionary.

I also liked Sir Bob’s vision for Wellington to make Lampton Quay into a vehicle free mall.

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81 Responses to “A lake for Christchurch?”

  1. chiz (1,145 comments) says:

    We already have a lake in Hagley Park.

    Personally I think we should rent the CBD out to people making post-apocalyptic movies.

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  2. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    Sounds too creative for our small minds to take in.

    If Hagley Park was unaffected by the earthquakes, why not shift the CBD there and make the present CBD into a memorial park and recreation area with a lake etc.

    It was dying anyway so this is the chance to build the kind of city centre needed for the modern world.

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  3. Ryan Sproull (7,205 comments) says:

    Fucking love the lake idea.

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  4. Daigotsu (459 comments) says:

    If the lake is going to be the size of the CBD there won’t be enough room around the edge of it to give an equal amount of land to everybody who had land in the CBD.

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  5. paul henry (49 comments) says:

    Lake Twenty-two?

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  6. paul henry (49 comments) says:

    Lake Quake

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  7. Mobile Michael (452 comments) says:

    Forgot to say that great harbour city Wellington!

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  8. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    I don’t think all the ducks will be compatible with sandy beaches and agree it would need to be a lot smaller than the old CBD to be viable but it’s an interesting idea. Not much chance of CERA managing something like that, though.

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  9. pacnum (6 comments) says:

    BeaB – Hagley Park was munted after the quakes … however I love the idea of a proper large lake in the middle of our great city. Won”t happen though !!

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  10. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    It’s not a bad idea… Most of the eastern side of that town used to be swamps, and the water table is pretty close to the surface even at the CBD. Would be one of the easier places to build an artificial lake.

    There’s always something a bit pants about an artificial, ornamental lake though. No matter how wide, long or pretty it is, once you know it’s only a metre deep and it was dug out in 3 weeks by Mitch Ugh Contracting (2010) Ltd with their big D-12 Terex scraper, any magic it might have had is mostly lost…

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  11. Brian Harmer (687 comments) says:

    Lampton ==> Lambton

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  12. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t the foreshore of such a lake be the property of Ngai Tahu?

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  13. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    mikenmild – it certainly would be if they paid for the whole project!

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  14. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    As a Christchurch resident I have no problem with the concept beyond it’s shear financial, and I suspect physical, impossibility.

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  15. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Yeah, see, it’s the lake that makes the middle of Canberra the vibrant and lively city centre that it is. Oh, how we all wish we could live in Canberra…

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  16. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    I’m going to need a row boat to get to work.

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  17. Nichlemn (63 comments) says:

    Sandy beaches? A harbour? Wouldn’t it be novel for Christchurch to have either of those…?

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  18. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    They could always put, you know, a city there. With buildings that are built to the modern building code, that won’t fall down and kill people next time.
    It would also be a good chance to make the city more car-friendly, since that’s why it was dying to start with.

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  19. beautox (422 comments) says:

    Yeah, Bob Jones for PM!!

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  20. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    Yet more proof that there is no direct correlation between intelligence and business success.

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  21. Zapper (1,021 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac
    May 9th, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    The quake was a “strike-slip event with oblique motion”—mostly horizontal movement with some vertical movement[30]—with reverse thrust (i.e. vertical movement upwards).[3] The vertical acceleration was far greater than the horizontal acceleration.[30] The intensity felt in Christchurch was MM VIII.[31] The peak ground acceleration (PGA) in central Christchurch exceeded 1.8g (i.e. 1.8 times the acceleration of gravity),[32] with the highest recording 2.2g, at Heathcote Valley Primary School,[3] a shaking intensity equivalent to MM X+.[33] This is the highest PGA ever recorded in New Zealand; the highest reading during the September 2010 event was 1.26g, recorded near Darfield.[32] The PGA is also one of the greatest ever ground accelerations recorded in the world,[34] and was unusually high for a 6.3 quake.[17] and the highest in a vertical direction.[35] The central business district (CBD) experienced PGAs in the range of 0.574 and 0.802 g.[36] In contrast, the 7.0 Mw 2010 Haiti earthquake had an estimated PGA of 0.5g.
    The acceleration occurred mainly in a vertical direction,[30] with eyewitness accounts of people being tossed into the air.[34] The upwards (positive acceleration) was greater than the downwards, which had a maximum recording of 0.9g; the maximum recorded horizontal acceleration was 1.7g[35] The force of the quake was “statistically unlikely” to occur more than once in 1000 years, according to one seismic engineer, with a PGA greater than many modern buildings were designed to withstand.[37] New Zealand building codes require a building with a 50-year design life to withstand predicted loads of a 500-year event; initial reports by GNS Science suggest ground motion “considerably exceeded even 2500-year design motions”,[38] beyond maximum considered events (MCE).[39] By comparison, the 2010 quake—in which damage was predominantly to pre-1970s buildings—exerted 65% of the design loading on buildings.[37] The acceleration experienced in February 2011 would “totally flatten” most world cities, causing massive loss of life; in Christchurch, New Zealand’s stringent building codes limited the disaster.[16] However, the most severe shaking lasted only 12 seconds, which perhaps prevented more extensive damage.[39]

    Speaking with some architects I know and looking at the basic facts above, I think the buildings did remarkably well. 1 life lost is too many but it really could have been far worse.

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  22. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    Just wait 100 years or so and it will be a tidal lagoon.

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  23. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Luc – or a glacier moraine, depending on the then current alarmist fashion.

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  24. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    The quake was a “strike-slip event with oblique motion”—mostly horizontal movement with some vertical movement[30]—with reverse thrust (i.e. vertical movement upwards).[3] The vertical acceleration was far greater than the horizontal acceleration.

    If we had a repeat of this, wouldn’t a lake generate a mini-tsunami? :)

    I like the idea, but let’s not forget that a large strip of land along the residential strip along the Avon river is red zoned, so the city is already losing a large portion of land to what will probably become (sub)urban wetland parks.

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  25. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    The hard part would be naming it.

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  26. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    “Yet more proof that there is no direct correlation between intelligence and business success.”

    hahaha its just not fair is it m@tt? youre so smart and yet earn a modest income lmao

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  27. Steve (North Shore) (4,564 comments) says:

    Bob Jones is taking the piss, and it’s not the first time.
    Remember the chain smoking mice?

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  28. KH (695 comments) says:

    A difficult man Sir Bob.
    But it’s always worth thinking about what he says.

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  29. Viking2 (11,488 comments) says:

    This is the second time Jones has said this.
    And he is right.
    Why?
    Well because city centre’s are a dying place. One only has to look at Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, and many other cities to know that they are becoming ghost towns. And the rate payers are being forced to stump up to support them. We don’t need large chunks of high rise in our rural cities. Big cities perhaps but we don’t evn have one.

    Business is no longer of a kind that needs large highrise buildings, being mostly smaller than ever in terms of staffing and more able to be run from many more places. We don’t need highrise for making stuff because we actually make bugger all anymore, so that leaves just hotels, lawyers and accountants and coffee shops as most other retail is either going online or to the malls which won’t go to the city centre.

    So Jones is more right than most of you think.

    Oh and I forgot the ever increasing Govt. Dept.’s. We need to downsize and decentralise what is left of them Smartly.

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  30. thedavincimode (6,800 comments) says:

    Lake on top of an earthquake zone!!!

    Wot about the tsunami risk? Silly idea.

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  31. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I don’t think you can generate a tsunami on a lake.

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  32. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    V2

    I wonder if anyone has actually sat down & thought about who is going to occupy all the flash new buildings in a rebuilt Christchurch CBD. Any business still going will have well adapted to operating in another location & will probably be reluctant to pay astronomical rents for expensive floor space in new buildings built to extreme seismic specifications.

    At least the proposed lake would be cheaper & look better than rows of untenanted high rises.

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  33. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    Why not make a big fucking lake and build floating houses, business, footpaths etc, like they have in Dutch land, then when the next quake strikes the buildings will not break up or shift on their foundations, they simply float. Of course you can’t go to high but it sure would be different.

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  34. Griff (7,804 comments) says:

    Viking2
    You are right
    Add big office blocks with hundred of cubical monkeys are a thing of the past
    Haven’t these retards heard of the INTERNET
    Even some of us old fogies get it
    young execs with crackberries or apple products live on line
    Those that are of the connected generation
    Will communicate electronically even when you are in the same room
    Building city think 2040 not 1980
    Same problem with len and his train set living in the past not the future

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  35. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Just put the whole city centre up for tender and let the new owners build whatever they want.

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  36. Griff (7,804 comments) says:

    New Mike says “let the market decide”

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  37. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    Griff

    The man’s a capitalist at heart!

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  38. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I just don’t really care what happens to Christchurch, but letting some committee decide will just leave us with years of moaning. Sell it all to Kim Dotcom to build some huge trashy palace, for all I care.

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  39. Griff (7,804 comments) says:

    I think the depth and breadth of argument on here has persuaded him as to the only true path
    Next thing PG will fall of the fence :grin:

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  40. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Of course Dotcom could have his own F1 racetrack as well. I’m sure they’d like that in Christchurch. Way classier than that dreary Cathedral Square.

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  41. somewhatthoughtful (466 comments) says:

    You guys are so easily trolled

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  42. Mobile Michael (452 comments) says:

    No such thing as a lake tsunami, there is an earthquake phenomen called a seiche. Will also effect Wellington Harbour, it was observed occuring after the 1855 Wairarapa earthquake up to three days later.

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  43. Griff (7,804 comments) says:

    Now you really are talking sense mike
    do you know how big f1 is world wide
    Lots of loverly rich people to fleece
    But I would be surprised if Kim stays in NewZealand after the way our stupid leaders have treated him
    Have a look at the logo for mclaran
    We have a little recognized but quite significant history in motor racing

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  44. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    Mobile Michael

    I remember reading something about that. The Captain of some RN ship wrote that the effect was similar to king tides at three hour intervals….probably like coffee sloshing in a cup.

    Sort of buggers the idea of Christchurch CBD becoming the surfing Mecca of the Southern hemisphere.

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  45. mavxp (483 comments) says:

    Creating an artificial lake in the CBD is an idea, but not a very practical one:

    1) Earthworks are very very expensive. Where are you going to truck all the contaminated soil? This isn’t greenfield we are talking about. Who is going to pay for it? The taxpayer?

    2) Whose decision is it? Sounds like something only possible in a totalitarian regime (preferably one with lots of oil money).

    3) A lake with weak ground at the periphery = large ground failures (slips) in the next earthquake (similar to observed along the Avon, Kaiapoi River, and Courtenay Drive in the recent quakes). Unless you also spend a truckload improving the soils around the banks of the lake, you are *creating* a significant seismic hazard.

    Scaling this back to a riverside park along the Avon isn’t a bad idea, but again there is the issue of paying for it.

    4) There is a lot of investment in infrastructure already in the CBD; services such as power, gas, telecoms/ fibre optic cables, water, sewer, roads, etc. Abandoning that while we expand the city in other directions seems silly.

    A smaller CBD is likely, and one with modern buildings that are significantly more quake safe. The new city will be the safest in New Zealand with respect to earthquakes going forward.

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  46. Griff (7,804 comments) says:

    The impact of the earthquakes has had a significant effect on the building codes also on the cost of building though out new Zealand
    Even in areas were there is little likelihood of significant quakes
    The over the top regulations are pointless and add unnecessary cost and complexity

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  47. Viking2 (11,488 comments) says:

    Griff (1,940) Says:
    May 9th, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Viking2
    You are right
    Add big office blocks with hundred of cubical monkeys are a thing of the past
    Haven’t these retards heard of the INTERNET
    Even some of us old fogies get it
    young execs with crackberries or apple products live on line
    Those that are of the connected generation
    Will communicate electronically even when you are in the same room

    Already have freinds who run their business that way. Making more money than 97% of Kiwi’s.

    And I send messages to the wife’s facebook rather than have discussion. Just easier.

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  48. Viking2 (11,488 comments) says:

    4) There is a lot of investment in infrastructure already in the CBD; services such as power, gas, telecoms/ fibre optic cables, water, sewer, roads, etc. Abandoning that while we expand the city in other directions seems silly.

    Most of it old and stuffed anyway.

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  49. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    Griff

    I think you might find that the driver of the new building codes is the difficulty of finding anyone prepared to accept the risk of insuring structures in NZ. The Christchurch quakes really spooked the overseas reassurers.

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  50. Steve (North Shore) (4,564 comments) says:

    How many buildings does Bob Jones own in Christchurch? and how many does he want to buy or build?

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  51. Griff (7,804 comments) says:

    That also came up in a recent discussion with a building inspector
    We are called the shaky isles for a reason
    we have also been paying a significant levy for a long time
    Where has that gone siphoned of to the general account?
    Edgecome was the last significant shake and there was little between that and Napier
    Up here in the north we are far more likely to get a volcano then a decent shake

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  52. Nostalgia-NZ (5,220 comments) says:

    Go jump in the lake Bob.

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  53. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    Griff

    If you are referring to the EQC levy, the fund only provides limited cover & then only to residential buildings. My business & personal insurance is done through a broker & he reckons that any commercial building not up to code is really difficult to get cover for at any price.

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  54. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    My business & personal insurance is done through a broker & he reckons that any commercial building not up to code is really difficult to get cover for at any price.

    Interesting – from what I’ve heard about the moves afoot to get some kind of BS “earthquake-star” rating system for commercial buildings introduced here, it sounds like the insurance industry has never EVER bothered to educate itself about earthquakes, or earthquake design in buildings**; and consequently the premiums they have been charging to cover these buildings in seismic areas like New Zealand have been more or less plucked out of the air…

    **E.g. subtle modern things like ductile design, where a building stays together and doesn’t collapse, so it protects the lives of the occupants, but after the quake stops it is on a slight lean and so badly damaged that it is an insurance write-off.. this appears to have come as a bolt out of the blue to Chch insurers…

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  55. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Let a charter city be built there,…free of the repressive and retarded regulations that cripple the rest of the country….

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  56. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    They should build a lovely little lakey thing, so all the lovely little lamby and peopley things can go for a lovely little swimmy thing and all you dumbarse little taxpayery things can fork out a little more of the easily spent but hard to earn little reddy papery things with the photo of that wisey old physicy thing on them!

    Bob should have been a Dairy Farmer.

    He is pulling all your tits at once! :)

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  57. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    RRM

    Insurance is not a subject I pretend to have useful knowledge about but from what I was told the real pressure is coming from the overseas reassurers. They are jittery & very cautious of taking on any new risk anywhere in NZ.

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  58. MT_Tinman (3,204 comments) says:

    Senility is a hell of a thing!

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  59. big bruv (13,929 comments) says:

    Once again Sir Bob is dead right.

    Although, it would make more sense just to turn the entire bloody place into a lake.

    And before you comment Tinny….think of the fishing!

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  60. Griff (7,804 comments) says:

    Some may have heard this before*
    We should not have such a regulated environment for building in new Zealand
    The regulators were responsible for the leaky home debacle
    why not let insurance and resale value dictate the standard of building work
    the pain would be no more than the cost of the leaky home cluster fuck
    And would enable a range of building techniques to be evaluated by the insurance and resale markets
    far more flexible than bureaucracy and lets face it there are plenty of pre building code housing still standing and habitable after many decades

    *when will the Phoenix of act arise

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  61. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Or we could get some proper plans for really solid houses from Egypt?

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  62. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Griff, absolutely right. The market would have solved the leaky homes problem fast and cheaply if the courts hadn’t dumped the responsibility and cost on the councils. Utter madness. The Govt should just have changed the law to make it explicit that the councils are only responsible for health and safety as they were historically.

    Now we have a massive mad bureaucracy with huge delays and costs and all set for the next disaster to be dumped onto ratepayers.

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  63. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    mikeinmild…

    “I don’t think you can generate a tsunami on a lake.”

    You’ve not seen my brother-in-law’s ex wife jump into a swimming pool…

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  64. Steve (North Shore) (4,564 comments) says:

    The troll is Bob Jones :)
    Wonder what he is really up to?

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  65. Griff (7,804 comments) says:

    Are you going wacky on us john boy
    The sheep thing Meh its pretty lonely out there in the back the paddocks
    And if its sheep country its more roomy and more hilly than the those tit pullers like
    Shes a long way back to the missus if the idea comes
    but living in a pyramid
    thats nutbar greeny altie bullshit

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  66. noskire (842 comments) says:

    Forget the lake, build a a Disney Land-type theme park, anchored by hotels, restaurants and a convention centre.

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  67. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Won’t they need a bigger casino too, to afford a convention centre?

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  68. noskire (842 comments) says:

    Probably just need two more casinos – easy.

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  69. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    We’d better get John Banks on to it….I understand he’s now fully up to speed with the way Casinos fund their patrons & convention centres.

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  70. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    Griff –

    The indemnity insurance industry has been advising engineers and architects not to sign the new “memorandum of restricted building work” from the DBH because they don’t like the wording of the declaration at the end of it and they have no stomach for the potential consequences.

    Given that, somehow I can’t see the property insurers wanting to do their own independent detailed assessments of every new product and system that comes on the market, and I can’t see builders and developers wanting to wait around while that happens either.

    The regulatory system isn’t perfect, but it is better than at least SOME of the possible alternatives, that is why it has evolved the way it has; it wasn’t suddenly imposed on us complete fully formed in all its infernal treachery by the Devil Incarnate himself ;-)

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  71. Inky_the_Red (760 comments) says:

    Lake, excellent idea. Now Bob and Gerry go jump in it

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  72. Griff (7,804 comments) says:

    I entered the building industry in 2002
    It did not take a vast knowledge to realize that building a house with no eves would be at risk of leaking
    eves give a degree of protection to window heads that by their very nature are difficult to protect
    We do not live in a Mediterranean climate and the traditional designing of kiwi houses has evolved for a reason
    if you have ever been involved in the renovation of old houses you are also aware of the value in boric treated timber
    insurance companies are market driven if we force them to set their insurance rates by risk
    Ie state sponsored scientific evaluation of differing risk published with no other input
    we have a market driven system with minimal cost to government that is quick to acknowledge increases in information and changes in the market cheaper than the massive compliance cost and regulatory frame work that bureaucracy entails
    And also far more flexible as to the regional variance’s and differing cultural needs in housing

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  73. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    But, does the planet have enough water for a new lake….this is cool….

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2141321/Waterworld-Ball-dust-like–water-Earth-fit-860-mile-wide-bubble.html

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  74. swan (665 comments) says:

    This is a fairly silly idea. One of the most damaging aspects of the earthquakes (to property) was liquefaction induced lateral spreading. The red zoning of properties is mainly due to lateral spreading. Lateral spreading requires a “free face” to occur. Most of the lateral spreading occurred along the Avon as the river banks are such a free face. So, digging a lake will create a lateral spreading risk around it’s perimeter.

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  75. Inky_the_Red (760 comments) says:

    On reflection, after what happened to Canterbury other large non alpine lake (Ellesmere) I think any lake will soon stink of pollution. So I’ve gone off the lake idea. Bob and Gerry can go and jump into Lake Ellesmere (and should be joined by the last 5 ministers of conservation)

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  76. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    Mikenmild

    If Ngai tahu owned the lake then who would own the water ?

    Like Taupo – the maori own the lakebed but not the water, but they want “MONEY” for storing the water.

    Effing Stupid.

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  77. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    RRM: ” it wasn’t suddenly imposed on us complete fully formed in all its infernal treachery by the Devil Incarnate himself”

    No, it has grown inexorably as the self-serving Wellington bureaucracy extended its powers and controls.

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  78. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    Coincidentally, this is what has also been proposed for Te Kuiti. Turn the town into a huge lake.

    As I said, there’s nothing original in politics

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  79. KevinH (1,229 comments) says:

    The Anglican Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews has already suggested a similar idea that incorporated a water feature and that was to install an artificial beach on the site of the soon to be demolished Christchurch Cathedral. The idea was not well received by the citizens of Christchurch:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/6509697/Lifes-no-beach-in-Cathedral-Square

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  80. xy (187 comments) says:

    It’s just fantasy – half of the christchurch CBD is still standing, and demolishing perfectly good buildings makes no sense at all.

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  81. radarpete (1 comment) says:

    It’s an awesome idea. Thinking outside of the box. Let’s not be the boring conservative city we are known for.

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