Families worry over fate of Christchurch CTV earthquake rubble

By Gabrielle Stuart

But Maan Alkaisi, whose wife Maysoon Abbas was killed in the CTV building, said many of the families would like to see some of the rubble kept as part of a memorial. Photo / Christchurch Star
But Maan Alkaisi, whose wife Maysoon Abbas was killed in the CTV building, said many of the families would like to see some of the rubble kept as part of a memorial. Photo / Christchurch Star

More anguish lies ahead for families of the 115 people killed in the collapse of the CTV building - this time over what is done with the rubble.

Police told theStar yesterday the rubble from the building would be destroyed after the investigation into its collapse in the 2011 earthquake is completed this year.

The rubble has been stored at the Burwood Resource Recovery Park for use as evidence in the police investigation, which will decide if criminal charges should be laid over the collapse.

But Maan Alkaisi, whose wife Maysoon Abbas was killed in the building, said many of the families would like to see some of the rubble kept as part of a memorial.

He said it was particularly important in the case of the CTV building, as the bodies of some of the 115 people killed were never found because of the fire in the rubble.

"They have become a part of that site, so if anything happens they have to take this into consideration, and treat it with respect and dignity," he said.

He said families had not been consulted about what should be done, and that needed to happen before a decision was made.

City council and Government officials have discussed recycling building materials that can be salvaged, but the final decision about what to do will be made by police.

A police spokeswoman said the remains would be destroyed when the investigative work was complete, but that would most likely be some time away.

"We will doubtless liaise with the families at the appropriate time on this, as we have at all steps during the ongoing investigation," she said.

Police have spent more than 12,500 hours on the two-year investigation. On Monday, experts returned to the site to do more testing on the foundations.

Luisa Nora, whose daughter, Erica, died at the site, said she would like the rubble to be preserved.

She wanted to see it become part of a memorial, not thrown away.

But another family member of a victim, who did not want to be named, said he was happy with the current memorials, and would rather not see another one built.

Because of the different cultures and backgrounds of the families, Alkaisi expected it would be difficult to come to a consensus.

He believed the volume of material from the CTV building might also be a challenge.

"That is why it should only happen after consultation, discussions and meetings to understand the things that are very important and the things where we can compromise," he said.

- Christchurch Star

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