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Devastated central district to be a quarter former size

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Aug. 11, 2011) – The redeveloped heart of Christchurch is likely to be a quarter of its pre-quake size under a draft plan adopted by the city council.

In opening the council meeting, mayor Bob Parker promised to rebuild a beautiful city in honour of the 181 people who died in the February earthquake.

A series of powerful quakes since September has permanently scarred the CBD of New Zealand's second largest city.

About half of the buildings have either been demolished or were damaged beyond repair.

The council received 100,000 ideas from residents about how to rebuild Christchurch.

The draft plan envisages a city hub built around the Avon River, with a light rail network, a central library, aquatic centre and a new national earthquake institute.

The redevelopment would rely on private funds, with the council contributing $1.5 billion over 10 years.

Residents will have one month to comment on the plan after it is released in full next week.

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