The Tower That Wasn’t – 1986

In 1986, Christchurch was split in opinion. The division started from within the ranks of the C.C.C. down to the general public. It was all over the controversial talk of the erection of a tower – 167 metres tall, forty three storeys in all. It would be the South Island’s tallest structure – with a viewing platform and revolving restaurant. The South West corner of Victoria Square was the chosen site.

The Tourist Towers Limited was instantly hit with rejections of all types but they battled on for their project into early 1988. Jamie Tulloch, the head architect of the Tourist Towers, had opposition from every angle. Local business personalities stated that a public reserve could not be used for private gain, whereas historians stated that it would wreck the historic “Englishness” of Christchurch.

Predicted to bring 750,000 visitors into the city, with a $23 million dollar boost to local economy, the project was still regarded as ‘a joke’ as Christchurch’s high artesian water table would easily be unable to support such a structure. The very construction and maintenance would just ‘…soak up money…’ it was said.

Concerns over the tower’s ‘…out of scale…’, ‘…psychological impact…’ and even ‘…the shadow it would cast…’ were all brought to light in a 136 page document of why the project would not be going ahead. There were very few that were disappointed.

*Image courtesy of The Press – http://www.stuff.co.nz*

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