Anti-terror bollards are being installed along one of Christchurch's busiest bar and restaurant areas.
Eighteen months after the worst terror attack on New Zealand soil, where 51 people were shot dead at two city mosques, the local authority has moved to protect drinkers and diners along Oxford Tce, on the banks of the Avon River.
Canterbury police raised concerns about the "potential risk" that vehicles driving through the area pose to "the groups of people who congregate at night outside the bars on Oxford Terrace".
Christchurch City Council said the primary purpose of the $550,000 project was to control permitted access to Oxford Tce, south of Hereford St, and City Mall.
"Since the creation of the southbound shared zone on Oxford Tce, issues have arisen with vehicles entering the mall outside of the permitted times, driving in the wrong direction and parking illegally," the council said.
A city council source told the Star this year terrorist attacks had been part of the discussions over the benefits of installing the bollards.
The source also said the terrorist attack in the French city of Nice in 2016 had been factored in.
In that attack, a truck ploughed into a large crowd watching a fireworks display as part of Bastille Day celebrations, killing 86 people.
Christchurch developer Antony Gough, who is behind the Oxford Terrace precinct development, welcomed the move, after advocating for bollards for a couple of years.
Around midnight at the weekends, there can be thousands of people along Oxford Terrace.
"There are the occasional nutters in town," he told Canterbury Mornings with Chris Lynch.
"I think it's a great idea … What goes on late at night sometimes leaves us shuddering."
Former police anti-terrorist squad leader Mike Kyne, who led the team that found and mortally wounded Aramoana gunman David Gray, supported putting bollards in.
The March 15 mosque attacks showed Christchurch is not immune to terror attacks.
"If the police have identified that area as being an area of interest where you could have a lot of damage done by a person in a car, a truck or whatever then, yeah, it's a good idea because there are more and more people starting to gather in that area with the new restaurants," he said.
"We're an international city and as a consequence there's a pragmatic realisation that we can be subject to those sorts of things and we can be subject to copycats."
Installation of the automated bollards will involve removal of a small section of the tram track base, delaying the work's start until May next year to "suit the operational requirements of the tram".
The retractable bollards will automatically allow access for approved vehicles.
Emergency services organisations and the council's transport unit would be able to operate the bollards.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 29, was sentenced at the High Court in Christchurch last month to life in prison without parole after admitting he was the mass murderer behind the March 15, 2019 mosque shootings.
Over his four-day sentencing hearing at the city's Justice Precinct, just 100m from Oxford Tce, authorities installed temporary security barricades around the courthouse.
They were removed after the Australian killer was sent back to Auckland where he is serving his life sentence.
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