One wonderful event I attended as Mayor was the 100th anniversary of Scott’s last meal in Christchurch. It was held in the same room at Warners Hotel that his had been a century before. The menu was the same (I’d never had jugged hare before, nor since) and the speakers list was also duplicated. Many organisations had a vested interest in Scott’s journey and Christchurch went to town to say farewell to him that evening.
Even Sir Ed Hillary was present at the 100th anniversary and told several wonderful stories to entertain those gathered. My speech focused on the fact that this City is famous across the world for being the support base for Antarctic adventures and research.
At one stage during my Mayoralty there was the possibility that Tasmania might make a bid for the Americans to have their base there instead of Christchurch. The then CEO of Antarctic NZ, Lou Sanson and I flew to Tasmania and lobbied the then Antarctic Minister Lara Giddens and they dropped their bid.
So, it was with this long-time commitment to Antarctica that made me horrified when I read the Press on Saturday. There was a story that Scott Base was to be rebuilt in Timaru. How the hell did this happen? This is unforgivable.
This city has lost a seriously important project. The role of the CEO’s of CCC, CCHL (which owns the Port company) and the economic development agency, ChristchurchNZ, was to ensure this city won this contract. And they didn’t. This is appalling.
Good on Timaru City Council. They put money on the table and gave an assurance that land would be available for the build. At least the project has stayed in Te Wai Pounamu.
This is a big black mark against the Council, CCHL and ChristchurchNZ. You all failed dismally.