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PwC opens office in Christchurch CBD

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/11/2016

A file photo of a relief worker walks past the earthquake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand. © Mark Baker/AP Images A file photo of a relief worker walks past the earthquake-damaged ChristChurch Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand. Financial services firm PwC is set to open its new Christchurch office on Monday as it moves its staff back into the city centre for the first time since 2011's earthquake.

Taking three years to complete, the multi-rise building sits on the bank of the Avon River.

Its opening comes after a 6.3 magnitude quake struck central Christchurch in February 2011, killing 185 people and causing billions of dollars of damage.

In the wake of the disaster, PwC moved its nearly 100 staff out of the city centre.

The firm's Christchurch managing partner Craig Armitage said not only was it exciting to return to the central business district after almost six years away, but the office block exceeded safety standards.

"Throughout this process, an important requirement for us was the safety and peace of mind of our Cantabrian staff," he said.

The PwC build comes as insurers have now forked out $19 billion to businesses and residents affected by the series of earthquakes and aftershocks in the Canterbury region from 2010 to 2011.

Projects planned for the city centre include a rebuild of the town hall, a new sport and recreation complex that would be the second biggest in Australasia and a new residential district called East Frame.

Among project already completed, the Christchurch Art Gallery has re-opened, while parts of a new cafe strip along the Avon River have also been completed.

However, the future the city's historic Anglican cathedral remains up in the air with ongoing debate about whether it should be restored or demolished.

Fairfax reported on Friday its sources saying Bishop Victoria Matthews had been considering plans for the cathedral's future ahead of the unveiling of a government-tasked working group's recommendations by November 28.

WorkSafe and the Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter are also set to visit construction sites across the city from Monday to raise awareness about the dangers of fatigue and drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

The campaign runs for two weeks.

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