Christchurch is a city which cannot be kept down. After devastating earthquakes in 2011, residents and individuals from around New Zealand have pulled together to restore this shell-shocked city to its former Garden City glory - with a twist. You'll now find a cardboard cathedral, shipping container mall, quirky restaurants and fascinating art projects that have used the blank landscape to create a place that is unlike any other in the country. There are also still many old favourites available for tourists to enjoy including punting on the Avon River, the International Antarctic Centre, shopping, craft beer sipping and public garden wandering.
Christchurch has been a popular port on the itineraries of many cruise lines in the past, but the earthquake put a halt to these visits and forced ships to head to the nearby port of Akaroa instead. Although Akaroa does offer transfers to Christchurch city, it is a much lengthier process than the 20 minute trip from Lyttelton to the CBD and often not worth the hassle.
New port plan to be available for public comment
New Zealand's Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister, Gerry Brownlee, will be inviting public comment on a draft recovery plan for the port area at Lyttelton from this weekend. All feedback must be placed by 5pm on Monday the 31st August, and will contribute to the decision made at the end of October as to whether the port should be re-opened.
Mr Brownlee commented, â€œThe port is playing an essential role in the economic recovery of greater Christchurch and this recovery plan will provide certainty on how its repair and rebuild can be achieved.â€
â€œThe draft Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan has been developed to provide for the repair, rebuild and reconfiguration of Lyttelton Port, while taking into account matters such as the impact on the local community and users of the port, and any implications for transport and potential effects on the coastal marine area.â€
This isn't the first feedback requested for the preliminary plan, but it is the last opportunity for the public to contribute their thoughts and feelings before a concrete decision is made. In this final round of official written comment, Mr Brownlee, the Environment Canterbury Regional Council and the Lyttelton Port Company can receive last-minute input from Canterbury residents.
Future for cruise ships to Christchurch
So, the question playing on most of our minds is whether or not lines will ever return to Christchurch? There aren't yet any final decisions, but the draft port recovery plan does touch on a cruise ship berth - indicating to us that there is a good chance.
The plan describes the requirement for a new wharf to allow for cruise ship visits, and states that the Lyttelton Port Company have finished assessing the inclusion of this. It also outlines the potential development of a berth near Cashin Quay in the Inner Harbour and a berth at Naval Point, with only the latter requiring government consent.
Chapter 10 details the need for a new cruise ship berth under port repair and renovations. The final decision of whether to build the berth is to be made by the Lyttelton Port Company.
As it would be such a major development with intricate bureaucratic processes to adhere to, a definite answer is difficult to confirm. However, the plan seems to be very much in open to and even in favour of returning cruise ships to Christchurch. This is exciting news for both cruise lovers and the economy of Christchurch and the larger Canterbury area. There is no specific date set for these developments, but we are feeling positive about the restoration of a busy port in the Garden City.