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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eastgate eager to get services back for east suburbs

Personal note: We don't go here often, but it is our closest mall, about a 10-12-minute drive.

Eastgate eager to get services back for east suburbs

Shopping centre could resume business in weeks

Last updated 12:39 09/03/2011
Above: Demolition started at Eastgate shopping mall carpark yesterday.
The concrete carparking structure was damaged in the February earthquake.

Parts of the Eastgate shopping centre in Linwood are to reopen within a month.

John Crone, general manager of the National Property Trust which owns the mall, said some shops could open again soon.

"We should have the perimeter, including Countdown and The Warehouse, open in the next three or four weeks. Maybe sooner."

The shops were built as standalone structures and their steel frames moved with the tremor on February 22, resulting in only minor damage.

The bottom storey of Farmers could also open soon, and three-quarters of the mall should be operating again in six to eight weeks, Crone said.

Damage visible from Buckleys Rd was superficial, and was mostly concrete panels taken down as a precaution after the quake.

The two-storey carpark backing on the mall has been red-stickered.

Demolition work began on Monday, and was expected to take a week.

"The rigid concrete pillars couldn't absorb the movement," Crone said.

"I have no doubt it wouldn't have withstood another quake."

The upstairs of Farmers would take the longest to reopen, and Crone said the food court was also a low priority.

"We're still uncertain on clean-water supplies."

Fourteen or 15 shops which backed on to the carpark would be demolished.

It was important to get parts of Eastgate open to help residents with little or no services near them, Crone said.

"This area services quite a big catchment. Eastern suburbs don't have a lot of services, so we're trying to get as many up and running as we can."

Meanwhile, the Palms Shopping Centre will be closed for up to six weeks for repairs.

The Shirley shopping centre will be reopened in phases. There is currently no access to any of the facilities at the shopping centre, including to the ATMs, car parking and the Reading Cinema.

The shopping centre is owned by AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC). Senior centre manager Jennifer Andrews said work was under way.

"Our thoughts remain with everyone working to get back on their feet. We are undertaking a remedial project that will see The Palms restored and better than before - just like our city," she said.

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