My Favourite Window

June 28, 2012

Down Town Up

Rangiora has developed a forlorn feeling over the past six months. This rabbit left in the toy shop window, symbolised the sense of stoicism that the High Street retailers have had to muster to weather the rolling closure of their shops and the disruption of through traffic due to post-earthquake safety concerns.

The Town Hall 
was closed in December, and 
although stage productions have
found other venues, we have no local cinema for the time being.
A Council decision to 
strengthen and refurbish the
building has been contentious,
but I am certainly pleased that the grand old lady is going to continue to be part of our cultural fabric, not to mention retaining her landmark position in the High Street. I know that after 50 years of belonging here, the loss of the Town Hall would have finally loosened bonds that bereavement and the Earthquakes
had begun to unravel.

Stoicism has been tempered with humour, generosity and co-operation.

As other closures followed the Town Hall, 

businesses reached out to one another, helping to remove stock and equipment, and offering space in undamaged offices and shops.

Paradoxically, I enjoy the narrow walkway, which has been established between the road and the defensive container wall: there is always courtesy and a smile from whoever I squeeze past beside that great steel blockade.

I also enjoy walking past the old library building. It is a positive
work in progress; the strengthening of an early brick building, which is another part of Rangiora's cultural fabric. The bricks have been removed and will be replaced over a concrete inner wall.

Another positive initiative has been the construction of a pop-up shopping precinct by the Waimakariri District Council in front of the
Council Chambers.

Today in bright sunshine, warm enough to bask in,

It was time to open the new precinct
(whatever the state of the old one).

The Mayor explained that there was no catchy name for the new shops; tenancies are likely to come and go, but the main thing is to keep the retail heart beating in the town centre.

The Prime Minister, John Key, formally opened the precinct,

And it was back to business.

I checked on the rabbit and am pleased to see that she has been reunited with her friends in the toyshop's new premises.

For the Mayor's more detailed journal of Rangiora happenings - including the stocking of the toyshop - visit David Ayers' Weblog


Cro Magnon said...

My late mother always said that 'everything happens for the best'. I'm not sure she was 100% right, but so often disaster can provoke wonderful re-growth.

Those buildings don't look too bad!

John Gray said...

its lovely to see things being positive and growing again.... although bittersweet feelings abound!

Susan Heather said...

It is always sad to see empty shop buildings whatever the cause.

Great that the new precinct is open.

Steve said...

There is something uplifting and unbreakable about those traffic cones... they'll stand up no matter what.

libby said...

Carrying on with hope and patience makes me think humans are ok sometimes.......

Jeneane said...

Cro Magnon: There has definitely been a strong sense of that around here lately! The buildings do look good don't they. At first I was disappointed that it wouldn't be a funky container mall like ReStart, but now that it is finished it sits really well with Rangiora's rural focus. There's a hint of hay barns and sheep pens in the materials and the fit-out is functional and inviting.

John Gray: Life is like that all through though isn't it :-)

Susan Heather: You are not tempted to come south for a spot of winter shopping?

Steve: It's all an illusion. They are vulnerable to all sorts of attrocities according to a newspaper report the other day: drowning, theft, decorating cars and buildings, being decorated! Not to mention being plain run over. They are costing the contractors a fortune to replace apparently but they are certainly part of Canterbury's post-Earthquake identity.

libby: It is that hope and patience that helps me not to sell up and come to live in England! This is a good part of the World to live in.

The Sagittarian said...

I haven't been out that way for awhile, now working in Woolston so I am guessing that unless Scowly and I go adventuring I won't see Rangiora until it is more restored!

Jeneane said...

Hello Saj, haven't heard from you for awhile. Hope things are progressing for you, though I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't. Is Woolston a change of premises or a new job I wonder.

The Sagittarian said...

Just a change of premises - the 'Belfast" shakes don't bother us too much but the ones this side are nasty! Still, might as well get used to them eh.