Queues as cordon partially lifted
NZPA March 6, 2011, 9:41 am
Dozens of residents and business owners are queueing this morning to get inside parts of Christchurch's central business district cordon.
A line of more than 50 cars stretched along the Moorhouse Avenue access point as people waited to get the first public access inside the cordon.
The cordon was opened at 8am to affected residents and business owners to retrieve personal items from their homes and retrieve cars stranded inside.
The CBD cordon is being lifted in stages, starting with the least affected areas.
Resident Stu McMaster who has been staying with friends was excited to get back to his home but nervous about what condition the house would be in.
"I'm not spending the night, just want to get some valuables," he told NZPA.
He was unsure if he was able to stay at the house or whether he would necessarily go back there.
Amongst the frustrated was Graeme Reid, who arrived early and was stopped from entering the zone.
"I have a business in town and I'm beyond belief that seven mutes was to early to get in.
"I was early by seven or eight minutes. That's ridiculous." Mr Reid, who owns a consulting business, told NZPA.
"It is the stress and frustration that everyone is feeling.
"It's quite safe to go into many places, bit it's this ...political correctness.
"We are still going to be doing this in a year's time!"
Adventure travel company owner Chris Mercer thought she would find a lot glass and books on the floor at her business.
"We are just keen to get cleaned up and get back to business."
Mechanic Rick Crosbie said he was "scared" but "relieved" he would be able to see his business.
"I don't know what's going to happen until I get in there and see what the building is like.
"I'm worried about getting customers' cars."
Resident and apartment block owner Anne Marshall had been back to her home since the quake, but was still nervous.
"We already saw the place all smashed up, but it's still not a nice feeling going back.
"It's heartbreaking. It's our home; it's our business; it's everything."
The city has been divided into four green zones where restricted access will be allowed, and a red zone closed to the public.
Zones one and two to the east and west of the city centre have been open to residents, business owners and property owners with photo identification and proof of address from 8am. The general public may collect cars parked in these zones from 2pm.
Access to zones three and four to the north, and the central red zone where recovery efforts continue, remain restricted.
The council is looking into how vehicles will be removed from these zones, with a plan expected Tuesday.