Cantabrians turned out in force, and endured long queues, to get a glimpse of the new Justice & Emergency Services Precinct in central Christchurch.
The Ministry of Justice estimates that about 14,000 people toured the facility on Sunday, with the queue to enter stretching up and down both sides of Lichfield St.
“It was important that we opened the doors to Cantabrians to give them the opportunity to see spaces in our new facility that will otherwise be restricted areas once the Precinct becomes operational”, the ministry’s Chief Executive Andrew Bridgman says.
“For most of our visitors it was the first – and last - time they will be in a courtroom or a cell.”
The Police Dog Unit proved popular with those waiting in line to check out the cells. Visitors were also keen to look through the Precinct’s District Courtrooms and learn about how the court and justice system works before continuing the tour route through to the Emergency Operations Centre.
Agencies will begin moving into the Precinct from next month ahead of the first public services being provided from mid-October. The Precinct was officially opened by the Prime Minister Bill English last week.
The precinct is the largest multi-agency co-location project in New Zealand, and paves the way for future co-location projects in other areas.
The project brings together all justice and emergency services into one purpose-built, leading edge precinct. MinterEllisonRuddWatts advised the Ministry of Justice on the $300 million anchor project.
"We were able to offer valuable advice and strategic input into this flagship project, sharing our experience from other projects of this scale and complexity," says Construction Partner Mark Crosbie.
An estimated 2000 people will work in or use the 42,000m2 precinct daily.