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Friday, March 4, 2011

Winds threaten Lyttelton station

Winds threaten Lyttelton station

Last updated 19:48 02/03/2011

Strong winds were tonight threatening to topple Lyttelton's historic Timeball Station.

Lyttelton fire chief Mark Buckley said one property has been evacuated and part of Reserve Terrace has been cordoned off.

Engineers are currently inspecting the site, but no action will be taken to demolish the building at this stage.
"It's a wait-and-see scenario," he said.

The Timeball Station is one of the few of its kind left in the world. It was used from 1876 to 1934 to signal the time to ships in Lyttelton Harbour, using a ball dropped from the mast on its stone tower.

High winds caused problems throughout central and eastern Christchurch today, with search and rescue teams unable to work in winds beyond 90kmh and fears the winds would create dust storms using the thousands of tonnes of silt piled on the side of roads.


Family members who lost loved ones in the Christchurch earthquake toured the city's devastated CBD today.

Around 150 New Zealand residents and 250 foreign visitors viewed the quake-affected sites, which included the burnt-out Canterbury TV building and the flattened Pyne Gould Corporation building.

Superintendent Dave Cliff said the tour was an "opportunity for families to see the mammoth task that the USAR teams have had over past week''.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker described the tour as "emotional".

Police confirmed the death toll following last Tuesday's devastating 6.3 magnitude quake had risen by one to 160. 

Fire service spokesman Russell Wood said today's high winds had impeded some aerial operations.

However, teams did climb above the tenth floor of the Hotel Grand Chancellor and the search was almost complete.

All buildings in the "collapse area " around the building had been searched.

The large support structure for the ChristChurch Cathedral is being secured and teams may be able to begin searching rubble tonight.

Parker said residents in 60 houses in Sumner were evacuated at 10.30am this morning due to rockfall. Heavy wind had reduced today's search and rescue operations.

Meanwhile, the families of victims will be given a $10,000 cash grant from the New Zealand Red Cross.

The charity organisation has also announced emergency hardship grants of $1000 for families and $500 for single people.

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