Historic buildings dismantled then rebuilt
Last updated 11:37 09/03/2011
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says some of the city's historic buildings may have to be "de-constructed" and rebuilt later as the clean-up after the quake gathers pace.
Parker said this morning that many of the historic buildings damaged by the February 22 quake may need to be taken to pieces, with those materials put aside, made stronger, and then put back together.
Meanwhile the Earthquake Commission was this afternoon expected to make a major announcement about the claim process for those with damaged homes.
The news came after Civil Defence head John Hamilton said more central city business owners would be allowed back into their premises on Monday to retrieve items. However, in many cases they would need the help of specialist search and rescue workers.
Hamilton said some owners would have to tell the rescue staff where to find belongings and they would retrieve them as buildings in the cordoned-off central business district were too dangerous for anybody except professionals.
He told Breakfast on TVNZ that he was keen to see commerce resume as quickly as possible in the city, and business owners who could get into their buildings safely would be given around half an hour to collect items such as computer equipment and other essential materials.
"They will be told what state their building is in and then will be provided an escort to the premises and given a reasonably short period of time in which to collect their critical items.
"In the worst case, when the building is basically unable to be entered except by the professional urban search and rescue people and engineers, the business owner has basically got to be able to say the hard drive I need is on the desk at the top left ... and [the specialists] will go in and get it and the business owner can't go into that building.
"Then it works up from there to buildings which the business owner himself will be able to go into and have a little bit more time to retrieve items."
He said engineers were also starting to inspect homes in the cordoned area, and it was hoped that many in the northern zone could be cleared for people to return from tomorrow.
Other zones were proving more difficult, especially around the Victoria St area.
He also hoped to have more details today on temporary housing for people left homeless.
Tents were available if needed, but they would be used only as an absolute last resort.
"I'd far rather have people in hard accommodation so that they have far better living conditions and can get things back up and running."
The death toll from the quake stands at 166, but is expected to rise above 200.