Chris Lynch: Are security bollards necessary in Christchurch?

Author
Chris Lynch,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 Jan 2021, 10:33AM

Chris Lynch: Are security bollards necessary in Christchurch?

Author
Chris Lynch,
Publish Date
Fri, 22 Jan 2021, 10:33AM

Security bollards will be installed near Christchurch's busiest bar and restaurant areas, but are they necessary?

The Christchurch City Council signalled its intention to install the bollards in September last year and is now seeking public feedback on the bollards and plan to turn City Mall into a shared zone.

The authority said bollards will be installed to limit access to a high use public area on Oxford Terrace and will be placed on the south side of the Hereford St intersection in mid- 2021.

Three of the bollards will be retractable to allow authorised vehicles to enter. The number of bollards is yet to be finalised.

When the plan was revealed in May last year, a council source said preventing terror attacks had been part of discussions around the benefits of having bollards.

In a council report it said: "police consider the current afternoon entry time from 4pm to 11pm a safety issue as many people gather on the Terrace at this time".

When I was in Sydney a few years back for the Vivid, the world's largest lights festival, bollards were everywhere.

I was staying in the central city and walking from my hotel to some of the exhibitions was a bizarre experience, seeing major roads and smaller pedestrian roads blocked off by anti-terror bollards, massive industrial graders, and huge freight trucks.

One commenter on my Facebook said: "we've had them here in Melbourne after a sick individual used a car as a weapon and killed several people, definitely better safe than sorry".

Christchurch developer Antony Gough, who is behind the Oxford Terrace precinct development, welcomed the move, after advocating for bollards for a couple of years.

"There are the occasional nutters in town," he told me in September.

"I think it's a great idea because what goes on late at night sometimes leaves us shuddering."

If Christchurch wants to be seen as a global city, then I guess it has to match the security of international destinations.

But what about the cost?

According to one source at the council, the bollards could cost up to $700,000. That could be a small price to pay to keep our citizens safe.