Jun 8, 2008

Old Railway Station Revitalisation?

8 June, 2008.

Science Alive is the science learning centre based in the 1957 Railway Station building on Moorhouse Avenue.

The centre has outgrown the building and is seeking new and innovative premises on a large block of land in the city. If they can't find a suitable city site then they intend moving the centre to a suburb.

The directors of Science Alive have been overseas looking at similar developments, and are apparently planning something special to expand the promotion of Science as a vital part of life. They propose to be developing the project within a year or so.

Could the Railway Station be heading for a new lease of life as a rail hub for the city, surrounded by dense apartment living, entertainment and commercial activity? Could this be the big one in the redevelopment of the south of the city centre?

The $240 million reported in The Press newspaper is probably only going to get a line up and running, which might have eight to twelve stations. The cost of having a good system would be at least four times that. There still hasn't been much mention of light rail, which would probably cost a further few hundred million to set up.

The old station had one main platform running through from east to west and had dock platforms at either end for use by suburban trains and other services. The railway line now runs along a corridor as two tracks 30-50 metres to the south of the old station and is now hemmed in by ugly developments on either side.

Word on the street indicates that there's a lot going on behind the scenes, with most enthusiasm coming from the Christchurch City Council and the Selwyn and Waimakariri District Councils, but with scepticism mixed with intrigue coming from Environment Canterbury. The opinion of the group of councils probably counts most.

We shall just have to wait and see...

1913 Postcard

Update: 19 June 2008

Science Alive is looking to establish a state-of-the-art science centre with the University of Canterbury as a partner.

Science Alive chief executive Neville Petrie and the university's pro-vice- chancellor of science, Professor Ian Shaw, have confirmed plans to build a new centre on the university's campus.

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