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Christchurch's gondola re-opens

Monday 25 Mar 2013 11:13 a.m.

A cable car nears the top station this morning (Photo: Hamish Clark)

A cable car nears the top station this morning (Photo: Hamish Clark)

Residents and tourists alike showed up today to have a ride in one of Christchurch's most sorely missed attractions – the gondola.

Closed after the February 2011 earthquake, the iconic gondola re-opened today after more than two years of remediation work.

While the buildings only sustained minimal structural damage in the February quake, the shake set off a sprinkler in the top station, causing heavy water damage.

The entire building had to be revamped and strengthened.

Managing director Michael Esposito said last month 60,000 litres of water flooded through the two floors.

“The main damage was water damage, so it was in the café that the sprinkler head burst and that saturated [the station] from floor-to-floor,” he said.

“We couldn’t get up there for about a week afterwards, and when we finally got up it was basically a foot of sludge on each level.”

There is also a whole new set of cable cars and a new café.

The gondola carries tourists for around a kilometre up the Port Hills, providing a scenic view of Christchurch.

The nearby Bridle Path track, which runs under the gondola, is expected to remain closed for another two months while the council removes dangerous rocks.

The top station itself has been protected from rock fall by specifically designed fences, which catch rocks before they can cause any damage.

Big crowds are expected for the official opening on April 19.

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