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Christchurch marathon organisers: Delay police station implosion

Christchurch marathon organisers want the demolition of the old central city police station delayed amid fears it is a safety hazard to the race.

They say they have been blind-sided by an announcement the demo job will go ahead later this month and are angry they were not consulted in advance.

Christchurch Airport Marathon has sought the help of the Christchurch City Council to postpone the May 30 demolition of the old police station, which may take place the morning of the race – May 31 – if it rains. They want the demolition to take place the following weekend.

The marathon route passes by the demolition site on the corner of Hereford St and Cambridge Terrace.

Race director Chris Cox said he had asked for the demolition to be moved until the following weekend.

“If they push ahead with the plan, I’m very, very worried.”

“This event is showcasing Christchurch and the rebuild of Christchurch. It would be a tragedy if the implosion goes ahead [as scheduled].”

Cox said one of the main concerns was debris from the demolition could end up on the marathon course, which could be dangerous for runners and spectators.

“You’re very, very close to a construction zone,” he said.

“We need guarantees that the proximity to the construction zone will not pose a hazard to runners and spectators.”

Cox said he was only made aware of the planned demolition date through the media.

A spokeswoman for the demolition project said it was aware of marathon organisers’ concerns.

“The team will be working with the Christchurch City Council and Marathon organisers to ensure there is no disruption to the Christchurch Marathon.”

The police station will be detonated by demolition company Ceres NZ.

The detonation is set for 8am on May 30. Safety fences will be put up about 5am to keep people away from the site. Traffic on Montreal and Durham streets will also be diverted for about an hour before and after the implosion.

At 50 metres, the central police station is one of the tallest buildings in Christchurch. The 13-storey building opened in 1973.

This year’s Christchurch Airport Marathon will begin and end in Cathedral Square for the first time since the 2011 earthquake. About 6,000 runners will take part, coming from New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.

By Ben Mack for The Press