My Favourite Window

March 8, 2015

Coming Down ... And Going Up

It's been a long time coming - the Rangiora renewal. 

Maybe because the town didn't suffer too obviously from the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes, it hit us all harder when so much was shut down later. We had been lulled into a false sense of security during the golden age of favour when Christchurch shoppers retreated from the city's shopping malls and broken streets to the apparent safety of a small, friendly, and not too distant town.

But over the last six months or so the town has had an air of progress. Quite a lot of the progress has looked like this...

Farmers Department Store

John Knox Presbyterian Church

Mainpower (originally North Canterbury Electric Power Board)

Robbie's (originally the Junction Hotel)

Farmers' site

Junction Hotel façade from behind

The old hotel's preserved historic frontage stands like a stage set from a Wild West movie, awaiting a new development to give it substance. Further along High Street new developments are well under way! 

Some of the changes aren't directly Earthquake related. The Westpac Bank building has been demolished to make way for a long overdue road re-alignment...

And on the edge of town the new Ashley Bridge is another long awaited project that is close to completion. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Saturday 21st February ahead of the bridge being opened to traffic. 

That happened without fanfare, but with much excitement for local drivers, on Friday evening, 6th March. I couldn't help thinking that there might be a competitive streak in the bridge-building team, determined to beat the Town Hall refurbishment team to opening...

 ... on Saturday 7th March. My girls and I feel strongly the place of the Rangiora Town Hall in our identity. Although the 90 year old building has been refurbished and extended to provide better performing arts facilities, it is also a listed Heritage building and many tangible features remain to keep us connected to the memories we all have woven into the building's fabric.

A good crowd attended the opening ceremony, explored the spaces - old and new - and many of us made sure we were among the first to enjoy the much-anticipated boutique cinemas.

One of the new/old spaces was this round room under the cupola which has long been inaccessible to the public. Now it is an airy elegant space to look out from onto the future of Rangiora.


Steve said...

Ah Harris Fencing (as we call it here)... I never know whether to view its appearance as a positive or a negative... sometimes it harbingers progress, other times abandonment...!

Cro Magnon said...

I hope they're not preserving the façade of the Mainpower building; all the others yes, good idea!

Anonymous said...

Things are certainly on the up and up. We also enjoyed a night out at the movies.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Steve: How about bleak. Like Amanda's house that 'Harris' fencing - has grown to mean lack of progress! I think we just call it security fencing.

Cro Magnon: Before it got a nineties bland make-over it was a greywacke grey piece of 1960s Brutalism. Brutalism didn't stand the earthquakes well here or in the City.

Gill: Doesn't it feel good to have that cultural heart back in Rangiora :-)

libby said...

That last photo of you is really lovely....