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Today the Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group officially took possession of their new home back in the city centre. It is not a forever-home but will be their place of residence until the new Justice and Emergency Services Precinct is up and running under the Central Christchurch Recovery Plan.
“We’re excited to once again have a facility in the city centre, that will provide us with a suitable regional Emergency Coordination Centre and Emergency Management office,” says Chair of the Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Joint Committee, Timaru Mayor Janie Annear.
“This building is going to provide us with an excellent home until we’re able to take our place amongst the likes of the Police, Fire and St John when the new precinct is up and running.
“Having this facility will allow all those who have responsibility for managing emergencies to do it in an effective way. It means representatives from all emergency services able to work together from the one place.”
Previously The Bunker, located at Environment Canterbury’s Kilmore Street offices, was used in this role. While it suffered only minor damage in the February earthquake, concerns over the safety of surrounding buildings means it is not safe to enter. Those buildings will be deconstructed eventually but the future plans for the site are not clear at this stage.
Environment Canterbury Chair of Commissioners Dame Margaret Bazley says it will be sometime before the new precinct arrangement is ready but in the meantime it was necessary to provide a suitable facility.
“We are responsible for providing the Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group with appropriate facilities where they can effectively respond to emergencies. After the earthquakes up until now they have been working from a temporary office in Papanui.
“I believe these new facilities will go a long way toward ensuring a collaborative response to any emergency – not just earthquakes but flood or snow events, drought, rural fires or tsunamis.”
The new Canterbury Civil Defence Emergency Management Group offices are situated in the rear car park of the old Environment Canterbury Kilmore Street site and can be accessed from Chester Street West.