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The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has told the city council that it doesn’t want brothels near its Canberra-style layout of civic amenities.
The demand also raises wider questions about the length and extent of central government control over Christchurch’s city planning.
CERA chief executive Roger Sutton is already on record with his suggestion that an intact Calendar Girls building standing in the way of the Central City Development Unit’s blueprint would be less likely to remain than other commercial buildings in the Lichfield St area.
The brothel debate is an unintended consequence of city council urban planners seeking to control red light districts.
The 2011 earthquakes breathed new life into a council committee charged to consider brothel signage.
Over the past couple of years it has been holding meetings and commissioning staff reports and community feedback on brothel signage and location.
There have not been any complaints. But some councillors were concerned that with 12 out of 13 central city brothels knocked out in the earthquakes there might be a public nuisance problem if they tried to set up again.
So council staff and the committee members composed maps of the city where brothels would be allowed to go, with a view to incorporating them into the city plan.
The result has outraged communities such as Lyttelton, where the main street has been deemed a commercial area suitable for brothels, even though there is no record of them there.