TV3: Old map shows Christchurch CBD's covered waterways


By: Jeff Hamilton

Video can be viewed at

A Christchurch landscape architect's issued a warning not to rebuild over old waterways and riverbanks she discovered in a map drawn up in 1850.

Di Lucas has linked serious earthquake damage to parts of the city built over old waterways and says authorities should dig them up and leave them as memorials. 

It is 161 years old, but Ms Lucas’s central Christchurch map of streets and waterways is also deadly accurate.

The so-called ‘black map’ shows gravel covering the site of an old stream and the house that used to be there was wrecked in the February earthquake.

“The route of it's very clear in the 1850 map & the house has now been demolished, site levelled and gravelled, you wouldn't know anything,” says Ms Lucas.

But the landscape architect thinks it's vital people know about these old waterways.

The Pyne Gould Company building, where 18 people died, was built in an area where several streams once flowed into the Avon River.

Other buildings and roads which suffered bad damage were built on old riverbeds and fresh water banks known as levees.

“The levees are still here, the natural banks, and they've ruptured in the quake and we think buildings should be set back from those.”

Ms Lucas took this message on the land ripping apart to the Christchurch City Council, who have old waterways maps in its archives. The Council is hearing submissions on how to rebuild the inner city.

“We think that the rips need to be recognised in the pattern of building,” says Ms Lucas.

She thinks the old waterways could be opened up, planted with natives, and left as a memorials.

Inner-city resident Mark McEntyre like the idea.

“This is where our home is and we have a lot of history here, this is about rebuilding a community.”  

Ms Lucas’s submission is one of 450 being heard by the Council on the future of the inner city. A new plan needs to be presented to Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee by the end of December.

Posted on 06/10/2011 by Lucas Associates |