A man who lost his wife when the Canterbury Television
building collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake is adding
his voice to calls for the unkempt site to be tidied.
Canterbury University associate professor Dr Maan Alkaisi,
whose wife, Dr Maysoon Abbas, a family doctor, was among 115
people killed in the tragedy, wants the city council to
establish a temporary memorial on the site.
Medical practice The Clinic, where Dr Abbas worked, lost 13
staff in the disaster after moving into the CTV building just
two weeks before the earthquake.
Tomorrow, Dr Alkaisi will ask the city council to tidy up the
Madras St site ahead of the third anniversary of the
He is also seeking details of any plans the city council has
for a permanent memorial.
Dr Alkaisi will make a deputation to the city council's
earthquake recovery committee with public relations
consultant David Lynch.
"We'd like the site tidied up," Dr Alkaisi told The Star.
"We'd like to see it taken care of, especially with the third
Dr Alkaisi's plea to the city council comes just a month
after the CTV site was slammed as an "embarrassment" by a
couple who hosted a student who perished in the building.
Mr Lynch said something needed to be done about the "barren
wasteland" that the site had become.
"We simply can't allow that site to remain the way it is. It
looks abandoned," he said.
"We're there to ask the council to do something so that come
February 22 when families come for the anniversary they will
have something dignified where they can remember."
Linda Burrowes and Steven Tubb urged authorities to clean up
the site before families visit for the third anniversary.
"Please just do something with it. It is such an
embarrassment - literally a slab of concrete and some wilting
flowers," Ms Burrowes said.
Ms Burrowes was hosting Japanese student Emi Murakami, who
died with 114 others in the building collapse.
She suggested "some beautiful green lawn with a seat".
"In Japan they are so very respectful of the dead. They would
treat this as a sacred spot and it looks like a heap of
rubble in the middle of the city - it is an embarrassment."
Dr Alkaisi said people need to know what happened at the
"They cannot just build another building there and forget
Dr Alkaisi said he was unaware of any city council plans for
the surrounding area and he wanted to know what councillors
had in mind.
"We will be asking the council what their plans are," he
Dr Alkaisi said he had talked to family members of other CTV
victims to gauge their views, but he conceded that with the
many different nationalities and cultures involved "you will
never have everyone agree with exactly the same idea.
"Because there's not much time (before the third anniversary)
we want to make it in a state that is respectful and we will
also talk about a long-term plan.
"We want to send a message to the building industry to have
human safety in mind when building a new Christchurch. We
don't want to see this happen again."
A Royal Commission of Inquiry into the CTV building collapse
found the building's design was deficient and should not have
In July the Crown bought the site for its Eastern Frame
central park residential greenspace area in the city rebuild,
but the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has assured
victims' families it will remain a public space where people
can reflect and remember.
While the Crown has purchased the property, the city council
is responsible for maintaining the site.
- By Cullen Smith of The Star